Earth Science students at Seaside High School process all water samples collected by the Blue Water Task Force team. Right now there are seven sites tested for enterococcus: Oswald West State Park, Tolovana Wayside, Gower Street outfall in Cannon Beach, Indian Beach, Seaside Cove, Necanicum River at 12th Street bridge and Necanicum/Neawanna estuary. Since the school itself practically sits on the banks of the Necanicum estuary, these sites are within walking distance of the school, and the students collect them themselves.

Students find a hermit crab in a tide pool.

The other sites however are further, and every year we discover at least half of the students have never been to any of them outside of Seaside. The importance of kids getting into nature cannot be overstated, and we saw an opportunity to make the water quality connection with these students and introduce them to some of our protected places and state parks. In the spring of 2018, Blue Water Task Force assisted by Surfrider Foundation Portland Chapter took 15 students to Oswald West, to show the students one of the outstanding places they help keep a watch on. We considered this inaugural trip such a success, we vowed to do it again in 2019.

On May 6 we traveled fifteen miles down the road on a yellow school bus. The weather was cool and sunny and the tide was low. After we pulled water from Short Sands Creek and the beach, we explored the tide pools together seeing a total of four ochre sea stars (Pisaster ochraceus), a group of twin-sailed salp (from the genus Thetys, they look like jelly fish), numerous young mole crabs and hermit crabs and clusters of goose-neck barnacles.

Twin sailed salp

So we say goodbye and thank you to another great year of student citizens scientists! We are still putting together our summer crew of samplers and processors, and the lab will remain in the high school over the summer.