Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Seaweed Study

From 1996-1998, PTMSC conducted a citizen science study in collaboration with local biologist, Dixie Llewellin, at Kinzie Beach in Fort Worden and at nearby North Beach County Park to learn about impacts associated with recreational seaweed harvesting. As with all our citizen science projects, a secondary focus was to involve volunteers in learning more about the marine environment through data collection, observation and recording. As a 3-year project, volunteers had the chance to really get to know the beaches they were sampling, from the tallest bull kelps down to the hiding, camouflaged animals.
So what do you think the volunteers remembered most about the study - the results? Nope.
"After two seasons, I began to understand the seamless web linking snail and seaweed, chitin and crow, squid and scoter. My mind’s eye is sharper. The health of the seaweed and the lives dependent on it connect to the larger environment and me."
"The seaweed study provided an antidote to the six o'clock news. A sense of connectedness."
"As an observer, I was surprised to learn how much over-harvesting was taking place at North Beach. I realized the need to place limits on harvest of this important resource."
"It was at once the most fun and profound project I have ever joined."
The results were, of course, important for the volunteers conducting the project, but it's clear that a citizen science project of this sort has tremendous value in building stewards and advocates for the marine environment.
The study was also very popular because volunteers were able to spend hours on the beach.

This is one of 30 reasons to give $30 to celebrate 30 years. Or increase your impact and give more. All funds support the Future Fund to keep the PTMSC going strong. Donate online or call (360) 385-5582, ext. 104, or send a check to 532 Battery Way, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

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