By Rick Cooper
(from left to right) Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson, 2017 Sea Grant legislative scholar Annie Montgomery, and Amanda Gladics, an Oregon Sea Grant Extension specialist, chat during Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)
COOS BAY, Ore. – Registration has opened for Oregon Sea Grant’s annual State of the Coast conference, which will be held Oct. 27 in Coos Bay.
Billed as Oregon’s coastal conference for everyone, the event aims to bring together the public, scientists, fishermen, resource managers, artists, teachers, students and conservationists. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn, network and talk about the current status and future of Oregon’s marine environment.
The keynote speaker will be science writer Sam Kean, who authored The New York Times bestseller “The Disappearing Spoon” and three other popular science books. His work has been featured on several public radio shows, including “Science Friday” and “Fresh Air.”
Elizabeth Lee, a graduate student at Oregon State University, talks about her research on Dungeness crab genetics, during Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)
Kean’s talk is titled “A Sense of Wellbeing or Danger: How the brain perceives and creates a coastal scene.” He will unpackage how the brain works, using examples from the natural world to demonstrate how our senses work together and how memory is processed in the brain.
Under this year’s theme, “The Coast Through Your Senses,” presenters will address a variety of topics, including:
- oil and gas off Oregon’s coast
- what it’s like spending time aboard a vessel on the sea
- how fishing families in Charleston, Ore., help each other
- coastal dunes: past, present and future
- the Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Council, which provides recommendations on how to respond to these issues
- research on crabs and climate
- the decline of eelgrass, a plant in coastal waters and estuaries
- campaigns to ban plastic straws and bags
- an overview of Oregon’s seaweeds
- former Gov. Tom McCall’s famous Beach Bill speech, reenacted by Marion Rossi Jr., the associate dean of Oregon State University’s College of Liberal Arts
- an effort to build a wave energy test facility off the coast of Newport, Ore.
- communicating science to lay audiences
- must-have coastal photos for science stories
(from left to right) Amy Isler Gibson, an art student at Oregon State University; OSU art instructor Michael Boonstra; and OSU employee Charles Robinson listen to OSU art student Hunter Keller talk about her art during Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)
Presenters will include state Sen. Arnie Roblan; wildlife photographer Jaymi Heimbuch, and Doug Helton, an emergency response supervisor with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Additionally, students from OSU and other universities in Oregon will talk about their coastal research. Coastal-themed artwork created by university students will also be displayed during the conference.
Registration in advance is recommended as space is limited. Cost is $40 for the public and $25 for students. It includes snacks, lunch and a reception. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes with a reception that starts at 3:50 p.m. For more information and to register, visit www.stateofthecoast.com.
The event will take place at the Hales Center for the Performing Arts (Empire Hall) on the campus of Southwestern Oregon Community College at 1988 Newmark Ave.