Several Skagit and Whatcom County organizations are collaborating to host free volunteer citizen science training in April and May that will be taught by expert marine biologists and educators. We will teach you to identify and count beach and intertidal plants and animals found on our local beaches. You will learn what plants and animals live high up on the beach and those that live low, and are usually covered by water. This training leads to a great volunteer option for anyone who loves the beach and wants to know more about the life found there. A special emphasis in the training is put on identifying and counting the organisms as part of a citizen science initiative. In addition, the survey work performs a vital function to monitor for invasive species, and detect changes in the make-up of species as conditions of these sites change over time with restoration projects, or changes from natural and human influences.
After training, you will be considered a vetted citizen scientist volunteer eligible to collect data in low-tide intertidal surveys with these many groups. In Skagit County, we will collect baseline data at the Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserves, and pre-restoration data for Northwest Straits Foundation and Skagit Marine Resources Committee at Bowman Bay, Shannon Point, and NW March's Point. Surveys are sponsored by the Whatcom & Skagit County Marine Resources Committees, the Cherry Point and Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committees, the Coastal Volunteer Partnership at Padilla Bay, and the Northwest Straits Foundation. Training will be conducted by RE Sources' North Sound Baykeeper program, with assistance from volunteer experts and our partners listed above.
We ask anyone who is new to this work to attend both the classroom & field training sessions to be considered eligible to help with the surveys. We strongly encourage all veteran monitors to attend both sessions as changes have been made to the sampling protocol since last year. Minors over age 14 are welcome to participate so long as a guardian is present. Training is free to all!
Training Dates for Skagit County:
Classroom Session- Sunday April 19, 9am-3pm at the Fidalgo Bay Resort, 4701 Fidalgo Bay Rd, Anacortes.
Field training Sunday May 17, 9 am-12 PM at Sunset Beach, Washington Park, Anacortes
Survey Dates for Skagit County:
Fidalgo Bay: May 18, May 20, July 31 and August 1
Bowman Bay: June 17
Shannon Point: July 1
Northwest March's Point: July 29
We hope that all volunteers will help with at least 1 survey. Sign-ups will happen during training.