We caught up with Megan Hoff, who has volunteered with the Cape Perpetua Collaborative’s Tidepool Ambassador Program, sea star surveys and the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve Ambassador Program. She has great energy and her passion for the natural environment is palpable.
1. What inspires you to volunteer? What is your why for volunteering?
My overwhelming feeling of indebtedness to the natural world and my desire to preserve and protect the ocean inspires me to volunteer with the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve Collaborative! I owe so much of my joy, passion, and mental health to nature- it feels good to give back in whatever small way that I can, whether that be through sea star surveys, marine reserve outreach and education, or tidepool interpretation.
2. What is something you have learned while volunteering that has helped you in your life?
I have learned that it was a monumental and collaborative achievement to designate and establish Oregon’s five marine reserves- I do not take the enormity of that effort for granted and I am so appreciative that marine reserves, marine protected areas, and the like are here not only for my enjoyment, but also for the well-being of society, the economy, and the marine ecosystem.
4. When you aren’t volunteering, what do you like to do?
I love to kayak! I also volunteer for the Plover Patrol and monitor Western Snowy Plovers at two Newport-area beaches. I also volunteer as the Beach Cleanup Coordinator for the Newport Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation 😊
5. Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while volunteering?
I have met some of the brightest, kindest, and most giving people while volunteering! It feels so good to be around other folks that feel just as strongly about ocean conservation as I do; it motivates me to continue trying my best to raise awareness about the importance of our marine reserves.
6. What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
I am not from Oregon! I am from a small town called Sleepy Hollow, which is a northwest suburb of Chicago.
7. What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering? What values and/or lessons would you pass along to someone?
Come on and enjoy the fun! I always leave a volunteer event with a big smile on my face from laughing with others and sharing our wonder and awe of the Oregon coast. I think that place-based learning is the best tool to foster community appreciation and resiliency. The intertidal and subtidal zones are precious places and you won’t regret those early, serene mornings when you’re out there admiring and counting sea stars.
8. Anything else you would like to share?
Big shoutout to the amazing staff (Tara, Jamie, Liz) at the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve Collaborative! I feel valued as a volunteer and I can’t wait to be back doing tidepool interpretation next year!