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Citizen scientists sought to help study Whatcom, Skagit beaches

Volunteer “citizen scientists” conduct research on the beach at Birch Bay in 2014.
Volunteer “citizen scientists” conduct research on the beach at Birch Bay in 2014. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Families and children can be “citizen scientists” by helping local marine biologists collect field data for their research — after a little training.

RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, a local environmental organization, is sponsoring these training sessions in Whatcom and Skagit counties.

▪  6-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, at RE Sources Sustainable Living Center, 2309 Meridian St.

▪  9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 9, at Fidalgo Bay Resort in Anacortes, followed by a field session from noon to 3 p.m. at Fidalgo Bay Resort. This training session is part of the Salish Sea Stewards Program.

▪  9 a.m. to noon Sunday, April 10, at Fairhaven Library, followed by a field session from noon to 3 p.m. at Marine Park.

Attendance at one class session and one field session is required to participate in surveys of plant and animal life and beach conditions. Trained volunteers allow researchers to monitor more sites and in return the volunteers get an appreciation of the marine environment and the scientific method.

The training sessions are all ages, but children should be accompanied by an adult.

Tentative dates for beach surveys are: May 10, June 5, July 3 and July 5 at Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve in Whatcom County, and May 8, May 9, June 22, July 7, July 31, August 1 and August 2 at Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve and other sites in Skagit County. Surveys typically take four hours.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-715-2805, @bhamMitty

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