On Saturday, October 27, 2018, SEA had its 28th Annual Meeting at the Bandon Community Center. Those who attended were treated to a fascinating presentation of research that was conducted on gray whales this summer in Port Orford by a group of Oregon State University’s Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna Lab. The leader of the team, Lisa Hildebrand, and team member Robyn Norman traveled to Bandon from Corvallis to deliver the presentation. It was EXCELLENT!!
Judging from all the questions from the audience following the close of the presentation, I concluded that listeners were highly engaged in the research. We were given a detailed description of how the research was done, what technologically sophisticated equipment was used, what kinds of information it gave the researchers, and the how the data supported their conclusions. In brief, we learned that there are several gray whales that spend time feeding in the kelp beds of Port Orford return from year to year. We got to see how the research team identified them by the markings on their bodies (and the names they gave them). And we learned that zooplankton preferences exist in whales through the analysis of fecal matter sampling. Who would have guessed that an animal that ingests many tons of food every day could be so picky??
Attendees were also given an update on the summer visitor statistics, shown photos of some of the remarkable wildlife that grace our summer shores for breeding and for resting. We also learned about the new partnerships SEA has been forming. The board is firmly committed to doing all we can to educate the public about our marine ecosystem. We will continue to learn all we can about challenges and solutions to our coastal environment, sharing them with the public in a variety of ways. At the same time we are committed to volunteering our own time to assist other organizations with their efforts.
US Fish & Wildlife Service Visitor Services Manager Dawn Harris informed us of the new refuge manager we will be getting in early November, Kate Iaquinto. We are looking forward to working with her in the coming years. Dawn also announced that USF&W will be removing the current Bandon Marsh HQ structure to build a new one. Completion expected in 2020, and it will have a private office for SEA. We are very appreciative.
SEA members have been performing quarterly beach cleanups in addition to helping SOLVE with their events. SEA is making one change to the SOLVE activity – we will be using burlap bags rather than the plastic ones we’d been using. These burlap bags are reusable as well as biodegradable so they will not present a pollution problem when they wear out and are thrown away. We are happy to be able to purchase them from Ray-Jen Coffee and pass them out to all who want to remove debris from the beaches around Bandon.
SEA plans once again to offer 4 seminars in the Winter of 2019, beginning in January. As soon as the dates and presenters are set, they will appear on the Events page.
Finally, an election was held to appoint the next year’s board of directors. You can see the names by clicking on the “Board of Directors” tab at the bottom of the home page. All of us on the board and our core volunteers are looking forward to the coming summer season. Hope to see you at our events!