A Day in the Life of Rachel

My Summer Project

This summer I am working with the Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) in Cannon Beach, Oregon. My research consists of understanding how the granting of Marine Garden status to Haystack Rock has affected the community. To do this, I will be communicating with a few different interest groups. This includes visitors to Haystack Rock, business owners, the local government, and residents of the area. I am also doing some research into the history of Haystack Rock and how these protection measures came about. This will be used to create a model for other coastal areas to follow that want to enact similar protections.

First Few Weeks on the Job

In the last couple of weeks, I have been developing different ways that I will interact with my study’s interest groups virtually to obtain data. So far, I have written two surveys; one for visitors of Haystack Rock and another for business owners in the area. The surveys will hopefully lend some information into what people think about HRAP and where our community connections could be strengthened.

Daily Routine During COVID-19

I like to start my day by going for a run (if I can get myself up early enough!). Then I usually work for a few hours by reading up on HRAP’s history and looking for other sources of info. After that, I will usually meet with some of HRAP’s partners or continue to develop survey questions. I like to vary what I do and make sure to give myself breaks if I need them.

Do you work 8 hours straight?

I don’t usually work eight hours straight; I like to take breaks! I always feel I do my best work if I’ve had some time to relax and refresh.

Do you multi-task?

I like to listen to music while I work, but usually whatever I’m working on has my full attention.

Do you have “coffee” with colleagues/co-workers/other interns?

I attended a coffee break with the OCOIN interns Angela, Jenna, and Em last week! It was great to catch up and see how everyone was doing.

How often do you check in with your supervisor?

My supervisor and I meet every Friday to wrap up the week and discuss progress on the project. We also chat about the upcoming week and how we will prepare.

How do you stay motivated?

Definitely communicating with others! I really enjoy talking with other Sea Grant fellows, HRAP’s partners, and others in the industry. Hearing what they have to say always helps give me a big picture of the work we’re doing and why it’s important.

What is one downside to your COVID-19 work routine?

I really miss the in-person experience of being with co-workers and colleagues. Sometimes other people’s energy can help fuel my own in the work environment and it is hard without that.

What is one upside to your COVID-19 work routine?

Since my project is being done from home, I have had to be a lot more intentional about reaching out to people and networking. For someone who is just starting out in their professional career it is a lot less intimidating to network with people remotely! It has been a great start and will help me ease into in-person networking in the future.   

Thanks for reading!

My outdoor office for today

Summer Initiatives at Haystack Rock

This summer I am going to be interning with the Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) located in Cannon Beach. While I was hoping to bear witness to the 250-foot monolith that is Haystack Rock in person, alas the pandemic continues to throw curve balls. My summer project will be done remotely. While I am grateful for my safety at home, this change is certainly an adjustment. However, you know what they say–a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor!

Summer Plans

So far, my plans for this summer include conducting a cost-benefit analysis from a few different perspectives. These will include the local government, visitors, business owners, and residents. I am also doing research on the history of the protections at Haystack Rock. The histories will come from both reviewing literature and from oral histories of long-time residents of the area. I will also use this information to create a model for how to implement protection measures, like those at Haystack Rock, in other coastal areas.

I believe the outcome of my project will be useful in spreading awareness on the effects of protected areas. By adding to a growing body of research as well as creating educational materials, I will be furthering HRAP’s mission to protect the delicate marine life at Haystack Rock and educate people about it. This area attracts a large amount of tourists, especially during the summer season. Anywhere from 100-200 people visit a day! It is important that they are knowledgeable while also enjoying the beautiful sites.

I am also looking forward to strengthening the connection between HRAP and the coastal community. I will accomplish this by working closely with partner orgs, communicating with members of the government, and surveying HRAP’s visitors. It will contribute to Oregon Sea Grant’s vision of a thriving coastal community and ecosystem by strengthening the relationship between the two. Today is my fourth official day on the job, and I am just getting started. I am excited to make a meaningful contribution this summer!