COVID-19 And The Last Beached Bird Survey?

So just what are we to do with our citizen-science projects when COVID-19 derails the best-laid plans?

Last Beached Bird Survey

This March we headed back out to La Push and the Olympic National Park to conduct our monthly COASST beached bird survey. This time of the year, you never know what kind of weather you’ll encounter, but it looked like Mother Nature was going to give us a break. We had perfect weather for the survey; cool and sunny.

What we weren’t counting on was how quickly the COVID-19 virus was going to spread through the Puget Sound corridor of Washington and the impact it would ultimately have on families and businesses in our area…and the impact on the various science projects we participate with.

I might have taken a little more time to savor this special ‘wild place’ had I known it was going to be the last survey for the foreseeable future. It wasn’t until we were on the long drive home that we started hearing about the closures in our state. As the day went on the list grew longer and longer.

By the end of that week, I was furloughed and as I write this it’s uncertain when I’ll be resuming my role as Senior Database Administrator. Things are looking up as the projected peak has been slowly shifting to the left and, at least for Washington State, seems to have passed. That’s the good news, but it’s to be seen how long the ‘shelter-at-home’ will be active.

Support

Our mission is a labor of love, but it does come with overhead. If you’d like to support our efforts we’d certainly appreciate it. Currently, we’re actively participating in the following field research:

  • COASST Beached Bird Surveys
  • Wild and Scenic River Project

Thank you.

COVID-19

There doesn’t seem much need to go in all the details of this virus as there’s plenty of news being thrown at us from all directions. But what do we know about this virus and how can we as citizen-scientists help combat it?

Here’s a link to Coronavirus 101: What you need to know.

It has stopped our going out into the field as that would require us interacting with people in a support role to get to the backcountry. And here in Washington public lands are currently closed.

But that doesn’t mean we can contribute to the fight against COVID-19. Here are some sites where you can use this time at home to help solve this crisis:

 

So just what are we to do with our citizen-science projects when COVID-19 derails the best-laid plans?

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Working to provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to make a difference as they play in the outdoors.
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Working to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions.
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Provide integrated research, communication, and education to coastal communities that lead to the responsible use of the nation’s oceans.

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Follow the team’s latest news and social feeds here. You’ll also find links to articles on the latest developments regarding citizen-science and the conservation of our oceans. 

We also use this feed for updates from the field as we pursue our own science and the occasional short video clip.

And please, feel free to join in the conversation. We’d love to hear what you’re up to as well. 

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Latest Instagram

You never know what a simple hike through the woods will yield. Found this small dam in the hills behind our camp on Hood Canal. I'm guessing that at one time it was used by a hometead to hold water during the summer months.⁠ ...

Some of the lush green and waterfalls to be found on the Olympic Peninsula. ...

South shore of Dusty Lake just north of Vantage, Washington. We recently spent a night hoping for a shot of the Milky Way. That didn't happen as hoped, but we had quite the adventure nonetheless. ...

Just published our latest adventure - "A Visit to North Cove" - You can find the link in my bio up top. https://buff.ly/3KFAQB8 ...

Tongue Point on the Strait of Juan de Fuco. This was a negative tide and I’ve never seen so much of the reef exposed. ...

Never seen the tide so low here at Crescent Bay. Getting ready for this weekends #COASST bird survey. ...

⁠ Theresa doing her best to imidate the North head Lighthouse.⁠ ...

Here's an elevated view of the massive geologic formation on the south side of our Dusty Lakes camp. ...

Took us a bit to get into Dusty Lake and a one point we were being chase by a thunderstorm, but the views and scenery made up for the hardships. ...

A rare clear evening out on Washington's coast. The Olympic National Park has miles of coastline to enjoy. ...

Sunset over the Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Center. Watch this site as we'll be heading back next week for an extended stay to explore the Ancient Lakes area. ⁠ #northcentralwashington #ncw #centralwa #columbiagorgeinspiration ...

Squalls approaching Portage Head. Jason and I found ourselves hunkered down in a tent waiting for a bit of clearing in the morning before heading down the coast in our kayaks. ...

The old BNSF railroad maintenance shed. It's been torn down to make room for a golf course, but when it was standing, you could still find parts for the trains in labeled bins.⁠ ...

Sunset over the hills of the Columbia River Gorge near Vantage. We'll be heading back there next week...stay tuned. ...

Sunset over the old gravel dock near Steilacoom. This area abounds with a rich tapestry of history. ...

Uncertain Future

It’s hard to tell when we’ll be able to resume our projects. Long before the ‘shelter-at-home’ order went into effect we decided to halt our trips. There were three major factors that weighed in our decision;

  1. We were in the high-risk age bracket.
  2. Although we would be isolated while in the back-country, we would have to interact with people during supplies runs, fueling, etc. It seemed irresponsible to subjecting ourselves and others.
  3. It seemed disrespectful to the health caregivers who risked their lives and suffering such hardships while we continued doing what we loved.

Currently, it looks like our state has a projected 0-death day around May 10th. With any luck, life will start to return to normal shortly thereafter. When it does will be back out there doing what we can to contribute to science and conservation.

Stay healthy and safe everyone!

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