Free Earthquake Camp for Girls

By Central Oregon Coast National Organization for Women

There will be a whole lot of shaking going on for Lincoln County middle school age girls this July, thanks to the Central Oregon Coast NOW Foundation with funding from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund!  This FREE three day Earthquake Camp will be held at the Oregon Coast Community College North Campus in Lincoln City from Monday through Wednesday, July 18 to 20, 2016, 10 am to 3 pm.

earthquake-campThis is a chance for girls to explore the world of earthquakes, how they are created, how scientists record and study them, and how engineers work to help reduce their impact on human lives.  A number of exciting hands on activities and experiments are sure to catch the enthusiasm of those girls who attend the camp.  An important part of learning about earthquakes is understanding the hazards earthquakes present.  The girls will learn how buildings can “resonate” in an earthquake. They will also learn how liquefaction occurs, and how engineers strengthen buildings to make them more resilient to earthquake shaking.  The girls will even build their own working seismometer using basic skills in engineering and electronics!

The camp will wrap up by teaching the girls the steps to take to make sure that they and their families are safe. They will build an earthquake/tsunami preparedness “go-bag” that they will be taking home, along with the seismometer that they made.

The camp is open to all Lincoln County middle school age girls.  There are a limited number of openings, so girls should register NOW.  Applications for the camp are available at .

Girls and women are dramatically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  It is during the middle school years that girls’ participation and interest in these subjects tends to falter.  It is hoped that by giving them the opportunity to participate in a fun and engaging Earthquake Camp, led by women role models, it will peak their interest in STEM subjects.  The Camp will provide Central Oregon Coast middle school girls with the opportunity to explore the world of earthquakes using skills in engineering, geology and math.

Teaching the class will be Kay Wyatt, a widely published and award winning exploration geophysicist with over 30 years of experience in exploration seismology.  Wyatt, who has two engineering degrees, has an uncanny knack of explaining complicated subjects in an easy to understand and entertaining way. Since retiring, Ms. Wyatt has spent the last fourteen years working in earthquake and tsunami outreach on the coast of Oregon, fulfilling her lifelong dream of bringing the world of science to children. Founding Oregon Shakes in 2004, Kay installs working seismograph stations in schools and after school programs in Lincoln County.  Kids of all ages can see earthquakes from around the world arrive on their seismographs, encouraging them to learn about coastal geology as well as a taste of science, math and engineering.  Ms. Wyatt will be an exceptional role model to young girls who may someday be the scientists and engineers of the future.

For more information about Earthquake Camp, please call Jan Eisele at 503-965-9950, or email



The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women is an active partner in the Oregon Coast STEM Hub.  Its members serve on the Steering Committee as STEM Competition judges and STEM mentors, and the organization supports student experiences in STEM that target girls. In addition to the Earthquake Camp described in this article, Central Oregon Coast NOW has supported the 2015 GEMS camp (Girls in Engineering and Marine Science) and a scholarship for an all-girls team competing in the 2015 Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition.

Renewable Energy Challenge


Creative wind turbine designs

NEWPORT – Hatfield Marine Science Center will be hosting the third annual Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge on Tuesday, April 19th from 10 am to 2 pm. Over 200 3rd through 12th grade students from Warrenton, Seaside, Tillamook, Toledo and Waldport will bring their student built wind, wave, and solar energy devices to compete for top honors at this year’s competition. In addition to testing their devices in wave tanks, solar tracks and in a wind tunnel, teams will interact with a panel of engineering judges who will further rate teams on knowledge and design innovation. Students will also have the opportunity to hear about current research on potential impacts of offshore wind energy devices, and participate in HMSC’s Sustainability Quest, an educational clue-directed hunt.

This year’s Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge is made possible by support from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, Georgia-Pacific Foundation, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub. Teams with top wind energy devices will be invited to participate in the National KidWind Challenge which will take place in New Orleans at the end of May.


Engineering judges interview a student


Engineering judges interview a student

Tsunami Quest Education

On Tuesday, March 29th, more than 100 seventh graders from Newport Middle School spent the day at Hatfield Marine Science Center learning about tsunamis. The day was the first of three visits the students will make to HMSC this spring as they work to create an interpretive clue-directed “Tsunami Quest” for the public. The Tsunami Quest project is made possible with the help of many community partners and volunteers, and we were fortunate to have terrific sunshine throughout this first field trip.


Exploring tsunami inundation maps

Through outdoor explorations and hands-on labs, the students learned about earthquake and tsunami safety, and discovered what to do if a local earthquake were to occur at HMSC. Oregon Sea Grant Coastal Hazard Specialist Pat Corcoran kicked off the day in Hennings Auditorium with a lively presentation about tsunami safety, and then the students rotated through learning stations in smaller groups. Oregon State Parks staff and volunteers led students on outdoor Quests at HMSC in the morning, and in the afternoon they guided students on a walk up to the top of Safe Haven Hill. A geologist from DOGAMI led a session on using and interpreting tsunami inundation maps, and Sea Grant educators helped students model the effects of seismic activity on wet sand in a “Liquefaction Lab”. At another station, the 12 and 13 year olds worked with their math teacher to measure their speed of travel under various conditions. At the end of the day, the students were given ideas about how to turn their learning and expertise into an educational Quest.


Calculating rates of speed

The Oregon Coast Quests education program has been providing outdoor experiences for youth and families since 2007. Quests are self-guided, clue-directed hunts that get people outside learning about place, community and local issues. Participants use maps and written directions to navigate through an outdoor space, collecting clues that lead to the discovery of a hidden Quest box. As they travel, explorers learn about the natural and cultural treasures of place as their attention is drawn to details in the environment that may have otherwise been overlooked. Topics of interpretive focus range from watershed and estuarine habitats, to the commercial fishing industry and coastal settlement history. Quest clues and boxes stay in place throughout the year, and maps and directions for active Quests are distributed to the public through The Oregon Coast Quests Book. The book is published every two years, and select individual Quests are given away by site hosts or made available for free download online. Audiences impacted by Quests include not only the more than 1,000 people who go on Quests each year, but also the youth groups and other community members who create Quests for others.


Liquefaction Lab

The learning behind Tsunami Quest-building project is interdisciplinary. Students are learning about the science of earthquakes and tsunamis, exploring engineering as they participate in OSU’s Tsunami Structure Challenge, and using mathematics to calculate speed of evacuation. They are also using writing and art to convey information.

The new Tsunami Quest will begin at the front doors of the Sea Grant-operated HMSC Visitor Center, which is located in a tsunami inundation zone and attracts 150,000 visitors annually. The 7th graders will visit HMSC again on April 12th when they will start the writing process. Their finished Quest will be ready to test on younger students by the end of the school year, and then it will be made available to the public and to school groups visiting HMSC.

Following this pilot project, Oregon State Parks and other partners plan to work with students in other coastal areas to create additional site-specific Tsunami Quests. This engaging learning activity will not only inform the public about tsunami safety at Quest sites, but also support a cultural shift toward increased public awareness of tsunami risk and response at all coastal locations.

Cait Goodwin is the Coordinator of the Oregon Coast Quests program at Oregon Sea Grant.  She is also the Communications Coordinator for the Oregon Coast STEM Hub.  For more information about Quests or this project, visit, “like” the Quests Facebook page, or contact Cait at