Interpretation at Yaquina Head
Spring Break was indeed very popular at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, as expected. The first Saturday of break over 600 people visited the tide pools, and from then on every day by 1pm, the site had from 200-300 people visiting. This meant I got to interact a lot with the public as well(~80 visitors per day), I did interpretation work everyday for about four hours each day. The main topics were on wildlife around the tide pools, the Peregrine falcon pair who have a nest in a cliff outside the visitor center facing the parking lot, and the visitor center itself.
All the visitors awed at everything there was to see. Some families were coming three days in a row! Yaquina Head had a few Hispanic families that came in and it was exciting having a conversation with them. The families were from around Newport and were glad to have finally gotten the chance to visit the site. I really enjoyed the time I spent with the public because not only was I giving them information about what they were seeing, but I was also learning from them. Interactions with locals was different from foreigners, and kids from elders and scientists. You have have to relate to the visitor first in order to make them interested in what you have to say. As the week passed, the more comfortable I felt speaking about the seals, the critters, the seabirds, and the falcons. It also helped to watch wildlife on consecutive days and learn about their behavior and how it is changing as Spring comes forth.
Of course wildlife likes good weather just as much as people do. Outside the lighthouse, visitors were spotting about 30 gray whales a day. The Peregrine Falcons were displaying courtship behavior which was eye-grabing to everyone stepping out of their car. I set up a spotting scope looking towards the pair’s nest so that the public could get a close look at these amazing birds. Both individuals would engage in aerial displays, loud calls, and the male would bring food to the female. They were truly fascinating to watch, visitors would sit on the parking lot floor while they ate their lunch and simply watched them. Among species that one can watch forever, the Harbor seals are another one that I and the public cannot get enough of. Spotting scopes are also placed on the deck above the tide pools to get a close look. But often they are not needed because several come very close to the shore.