It is officially almost the end of my second week with Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) and I am starting to get a very good idea of their mission and how my project fits into that mission as well as Sea Grant’s vision. My primary project is creating a virtual education center. The education center will incorporate new research surrounding virtual field trips, 21st century curriculum, and NGSS science standards for a variety of age groups. This education center will help reach students all over the country that might not have access to field trips to intertidal zones. This project will accomplish a variety of goals, the main one being to modernize the current virtual field trip option, as well as just being able to reach a bigger group of people.
Another part of my work here is to assist with their summer camps, in-person field trips, and occasionally working as an interpreter on the beach. Last week I got to go on a two part field trip to the Ecola Creek Forest Reserve and Haystack Rock with a group of kids. Both of those trips gave me a close up look at what HRAP’s education looks like up close. Seeing the current educational programs gives me a much better idea of what the virtual program should look like as well as build my knowledge of conservation and native species in the area! Last week I saw clusters of squid eggs, a feeding starfish and tons of other cool things.
My primary project is directly tied to HRAP’s mission, “to protect, through education, the intertidal and bird ecology of the Marine Garden and Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge at Haystack Rock.” By creating educational programs that are more accessible to a wider range of people, more people are inclined to be interested in marine conservation and be stewards to their environment. Additionally, by incorporating the ideas and theories of 21st century learning I am able to create a virtual program that is more engaging than the traditional video lecture approach. By creating a more engaging program that appeals to kids hopefully they will want to be more involved with conservation, and grow up to be more ecologically responsible.
This also aids in Sea Grant’s mission to have thriving coastal communities, by serving as a catalyst that promotes discovery, understanding and resilience for Oregon coastal communities and ecosystems. My project aids in this goal by acting as an educational catalyst that promotes both discovery and understanding of a coastal ecosystem.