It’s amazing to us that we’ve zoomed through another year! In fact, COASST is approaching our 20th year (if you count from the year of our first grant – 1998), and we’re stronger and better than ever.
Those decades have seen real changes. We started with 12 pilot volunteers in Grays Harbor, Washington, before we had a protocol or a website, before our field guide was invented, and long before our office filled with students, staff and science collaborators. Who knew that we’d last so long, grow so large (over 800 participants this year alone, and more than 3,000 trained since we started), or be able to contribute to so many fundamental issues in coastal ecosystem health and science?
Today, we are one of the most well-known citizen science programs delivering top notch science to the research and natural resource communities, and – importantly – back to the coastal communities from which all of our data come. In fact, our model of citizen science – from our trainings to our data verification to our data visualizations to our holiday card (!) – has become the gold standard.
So hats off to all of you! Without your passion for your beach, your love of the natural world, and your curiosity regarding how the coastal environment is changing (for better or worse), COASST wouldn’t exist. This holiday season, bundle up and take a walk on your beach to celebrate our collective achievement, and remember there are hundreds of people like you in dozens of coastal communities up and down the West Coast of North America doing the same thing.
Julia, Erika, Hillary, Tim, Charlie, Katie, and the COASST Interns