Officially working a month in Newport! Just like my workmates in Alaska, DC, and California, and Colorado it seems unbelievable. Every week is full of different tasks but I’m loving the diversity in the work. One minute I am out in the field looking for shorebirds, the next I’m doing interpretation work on Peregrines falcons, planning for International Migratory Day, helping and leading nature programs on shorebirds and tide pool ecology! In this month I have learned a great deal of knowledge on all topics I didn’t have a lot of experience with before this internship.
I feel grateful to be apart of such an amazing project when I see children enthused about nature because of something they just learned through the programs I am a part of. Last Monday, with the Sister Shorebird School Program, the students were getting very excited for their upcoming field trip where they hope to see all the shorebirds they have been learning about. The kids learned how to use binoculars, how to use a guidebook, and how to observe more closely to the small details that make each shorebird unique. This program is offered in a few different cities around Lincoln County and does a good job reaching out to a multicultural audience. In the Newport Intermediate School, there is a great number of Hispanic/Latino descendant students and I feel grateful to bring this program to them which hopefully inspires them to want to explore the natural areas that are close to their school and home. On the field trip, I will lead the group of Spanish speaker students through the different activity stations which I am very excited to do.
Working with kids has also been rewarding at Yaquina Head, last Friday 100 students drove two hours to engage in the tide pool program. Me and the three other apprentices had each our own group of fifth graders who we facilitated the program to and it was a success. The students learned how to monitor for species richness for the first time and they went home not only having succeeded being scientists for the day but also wishing to come back to the site with their family!
These are only two example of the kind of outreach I have been doing and on/off-site environmental education that gives me a lot of reward. But also seeing the shorebird migration starting to pick up, gets me very excited! One of the sites I am surveying is having a slow but steady sloped of shorebird sightings. My favorite part of my day is when I go my surveys sites and I track a new species I hadn’t seen there before.
The next coming week I will be focusing on a new research project, the common murres, a type of seabird that nests in the islands out of the headland of Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural area. This and International Migratory Bird Day will be my main focus.