In the late 1990s, Julia Parrish started the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team or COASST. Julia says: "We train people to go out to their local beach and survey it. They are looking for birds that have literally washed in on the last tide. COASST offers people a chance to learn more about the birds. And that I think is the essence of citizen science." Learn more about Julia Parrish's work and how you might get involved. Cornell offers many projects. There's more at Wikipedia.org.
The COASST Program
Interview by Todd Peterson
This is BirdNote.
[Sounds of ocean waves +calls of Glaucous-winged Gulls throughout]
In the late 1990s, Julia Parrish of the University of Washington started the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team or COASST.
Track 178 :15 In COASST, we train people to go out to their local beach and survey it ... They are looking for birds that have literally washed in on the last tide.
[Sound of waves]
You might think to yourself, well how many people actually would want to spend time going out and looking for bird carcasses? It’s got to be kinda messy and a little bit smelly.
Track 178 2:03 …I thought maybe we’d get 10, 15 maybe 20 people. We have almost 700 people in the COASST program now, and they collect data for us every month. … I think people do that because they are attached to where they live. … So COASST offers people a chance to learn more about the birds, about the natural history -- why they’re there, when they’re there, whether that’s something we should be concerned about or not. … Information, both local and regional, empowers people to want to know more and want to do more.
And that I think is the essence of citizen science… I think that last century was the century of academic science. I think this century is the century of citizen science.
If you’ve been wanting to volunteer as a citizen-scientist, we can help you get started, at our website, birdnote.org. Today’s show brought to you by The Lufkin Family Foundation. [waves]
Sounds of birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Glaucous-winged Gulls (3350) recorded by A.A. Allen.
Ambient by Kessler Productions.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org January 2012 Narrator: Mary McCann