This past Wednesday, Jhonny, Gabie and I were invited to a meeting to plan of a few Bioblitzes or an event where you got out and try to identify as many species as you can. You can decide to look for particular groups or just everything you can identify. Then you go to a website or app called iNaturalist and add all of your species. It is good if you get a picture so that it can be verified because it is sort of a community like network. You post what you think it is and people can either agree, disagree, or help you figure out what you found. And that is one reason why this site is great because you don’t have to be an expert to participate. I was really excited about this because I have only been a part of a few of these projects. The first bioblitz will be more aquatic based because it is celebrating 50 years of public beach land-use on Oregon coasts as well as using citizen science to help scientists better catalogue species.
After the meeting we went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium to get a behind the scene look. Our guide Sally was the best, she really showed us around. We meet one of their four California seals and got to see few of the big tanks from above. One of which had a really curious (Nananana) Bat Ray! I flopped up the side to check us out. We then met one of the volunteer divers and learned that people who are scuba dive certified could come to the aquarium and volunteer dive in these tanks! Sadly I am not certified (Yet!). I always meant to get one especially since the one thing on my bucket list is to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef. Sally then took us to an amazing view of one of the tanks. Holy mackerel it was beautiful. Especially because there as a school of Mackerel swimming in front of the glass. Aquariums are so serene. We finished the tour by going to visit their ambassador birds (of course!) There was a Brown Pelican and two Common Murres. Sadly I did not get any pictures of these beautiful birds but it was really cool to see a Brown Pelican up close. After the tour, we had an hour to explore the rest of the aquarium so we tried to get around to everything and I believe we did! It is a really amazing aquarium because they mostly have local species so that locals can learn about and see the animals that live in their area.
The next day, Cape Perpetua was visited by a second grade class this week and as a ranger I got to help out a little. It was an interesting day. The group walked into the Visitor Center, I was suddenly very excited. I greeted everyone and wished them a fun day of learning and directed them to the theater where they would get the brief on their day and basic safety rules. One particular little girl was really sweet she stopped in front of me smiling and then complimented my hair, saying that it was cool because she had never seen anyone else with hair like mine. I told her she made my day and that I was happy she was here to learn about the Cape and she said she was glad I was there too. The day went by crazy because the weather was sort of giving signs that it was going to start thundering so we had to figure out an alternate plan just in case the rain came down (Luckily it didn’t) and sadly they didn’t get to see the tidepools. But they had fun nonetheless. When they were heading back to the bus a few of them hugged me and they thanked us all. Hope they are inspired to come back, maybe they can catch one of my programs this summer!