Coming into the second week of this internship has made me reflect on the previous week’s work. Although it has only been a week and a few days, it feels as if I’ve been here for months; in the best way of course. This summer I am working with the Haystack Rock Awareness program and I am working on a human dimensions study to further understand the knowledge gap between research communities and the public at large. This project could facilitate a productive two-way dialogue that could help bridge the gap between science and speculation. In order to do this, I will be curating a series of surveys that target research professionals, the general public, and the staff at HRAP. Using my findings I will propose a plan that maximizes engagement and marine conservation prospects among the general public here at Cannon Beach. In addition to the surveys, I will be making the research from the community science projects, that HRAP is involved in, more accessible through a series of informational pieces.
My first week consisted of reading many research papers and beach days. While the bulk of my work has to be done in the office, there are a few days within the week that call for me to help HRAP with their interpreter beach program. This allows me to talk to people and collect points of focus for my research. On these days I can engage with the public and educate them on tide pool etiquette, marine life, and conservation. One of my favorite memories so far is from my talk with a little boy and his mom. They had been coming to the beach every day and had been interacting with the interpreters from HRAP every day. The little boy was so knowledgeable by day three and carried an incredible amount of curiosity and excitement despite being there many days prior. This interaction made me become more aware of the way that my summer program project could help with engagement and how everyone deserves to be curious and excited about marine life.
My project has a strong alignment with both Oregon Seagrant’s and Haystack Rock Awareness’s mission statement. Through my work, I hope to promote discovery via education and see this research increase marine and coastal curiosities that lead to overall ecosystem health.