The Cape Perpetua Collaborative ho the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve Ambassador Program at Smelt Sands State Park in Yachats, Oregon during the summer. Volunteers were on hand to answer questions, promote safety and tide pool etiquette as well as enhance awareness of local resources and history, bringing alive the richness of Yachats, a small coastal town adjacent to the Cape Perpetua Marine Protected Area.
Most visitors to Yachats just pass through on the busy highway. Others who stay to enjoy the sites and natural beauty are unaware of the marine ecosystem they are witnessing and unfortunately, this can put visitors at risk of injury to themselves and to marine wildlife. The Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve Ambassador program provided an avenue for environmental preservation, appreciation, while highlighting Yachats as a special area on the central coast. We wanted to encourage visitors to embrace the significance around them.
In 2021, the Cape Perpetua Collaborative trained 14 active volunteers for the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve Ambassador Program. We are so grateful to these volunteers who dedicated 152 total hours to connect with visitors in a meaningful way. They engaged with 1846 people during the weekends, July – September, 59% of which were from Oregon, 12% from Washington, 5% from California and others from a spattering of states with 13.5% collectively from Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Texas and New York.
The highlights of conversations between the volunteers and visitors included much excitement and questions around tidepooling, educators grabbing information to share with their students on the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve, Amanda Trail and First Nations History, hearing family stories, chatting with valley folks who were escaping the smoke and the canine friends appreciated the dog treats. The volunteers handed out self-guided activities such as a tidepool scavenger hunt and coloring sheet as well as stickers for visitors to take a memento home. Nine people were from other countries, including Israel, Nigeria and Switzerland.
Big THANK YOU to our volunteers and to our partners who helped make this program possible: Oregon State Parks, Overleaf Lodge, City of Yachats, View the Future, American Cetacean Society – Oregon Chapter and Portland Audubon.