By Tiffany Woods
NEWPORT, Ore. – Fifty people who volunteer at museums, aquariums, zoos and science centers will gather in Newport Sept. 28-30 for a conference to network and learn from each other.
The attendees are members of the Pacific Northwest Docent and Volunteer Association (PNDVA). They’ll meet at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) on Sept. 28 and at the Oregon Coast Aquarium the following day.
On the first day, participants will:
- walk along the Yaquina Bay and learn about the animals and plants there
- build small, remote-controlled underwater devices
- assemble a 16-foot whale skeleton
- tour a behind-the-scenes wing of Hatfield to see how aquarists with Oregon Sea Grant care for animals there
- tour the system that transports water from the ocean to Hatfield
- listen to a talk on marine mammals by Bill Hanshumaker, a marine science educator with Oregon Sea Grant and Oregon State University
- listen to a talk by Tim Miller-Morgan, an aquatic veterinarian with Oregon Sea Grant and the OSU Extension Service
On the second day, attendees will:
- tour the Oregon Coast Aquarium
- learn about sea otters and the more than 150 native plant species growing on the aquarium’s grounds
- listen to a talk on the importance of zoos and aquariums by Kerry Carlin-Morgan, the aquarium’s director of education and volunteer services
- learn how the aquarium cares for its sharks and rehabilitates coastal wildlife
- listen to keynote speaker Shea Steingass, who studied harbor seals as a doctoral student at OSU
On Sept. 30, attendees will have the opportunity to partake in various excursions in Newport, Depoe Bay, Seal Rock and Otis.
Employees with Oregon Sea Grant, which operates the public education wing – also known at the Visitor Center – at Hatfield, will lead some of the sessions at HMSC. More than 60 people volunteer at the Visitor Center, some of whom will attend the conference.