Everything Is New

Visiting from Virginia and never having been to the West Coast before, everything is new to me. This first week has been full of excitement, from seeing the different vegetation and wildlife, to realizing different cultural norms. Just yesterday while working, I saw a Bald Eagle fly, watched curious Harbor Seals watch me, then later saw a Porcupine scuttle past me as I admired a Pacific Coast sunset. I’ve never seen any of this wildlife in the wild before, it’s wild. I’ve enjoyed hearing the haunting sounds of Cormorants and learning the birds that float nearby on the water are named the Pigeon Guillemot, it’s so fun to say!

My Sea Grant Summer Scholar position is to work with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on the Shellfish and Estuarine Assessment of Coastal Oregon (SEACOR) team. This means almost everyday I am on the water in Coos Bay taking samples of various clams, crabs, and shrimp. Once all the data is compiled the population levels and health of the species will be assessed so inform decision making on resource management. I wear a bulky dry suit that makes me feel like an astronaut, and when filled with air makes for a wonderful and fun floatation device to swim above Eelgrass when it’s too hard to walk through. I’ve learned a lot about the different local shellfish, and other slippery worms and sea slugs we find. Some of my work days begin at 5am which allows me to witness the busy marina of fishermen sailing off too.

I love not knowing what I will do each day, I spend a lot of time walking and discovering new beautiful places along the coast. Each day brings a new experience, and new people. Everyone I’ve met has been so kind, and happy to talk with me about our lives on a deeper level than just the surface. I am happy with my work and social life here, I’m loving Oregon.


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About Alexa Maione

Alexa is a Junior at Virginia Tech pursuing a B.S. in Water Resources, Policy & Management. Alexa is President of the American Water Resources Association Student Chapter at Virginia Tech, and she was recently awarded a SWURF grant to introduce an aquaponics system in the elementary school setting. She is a 2018 Sea Grant Summer Scholar working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Shellfish and Estuarine Assessment of Coastal Oregon (SEACOR) in Coos Bay, Oregon. This program monitors bay clam populations and conducts estuary habitat studies. Alexa is interested in working towards community engagement and education.

2 thoughts on “Everything Is New

  1. I like that your impressions are both from a natural and cultural perspective. Enjoy the fun of fieldwork and exploring a new location – both the people and the places!

  2. Wow, I have never seen a porcupine in the wild – very cool! I am glad you are able to embrace not knowing what you will be doing each day. It certainly is a useful disposition to have when you are sampling in the Pacific ocean!

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