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Oct. 20th Webinar to Explore Recreation Ecology & Human Waste Concerns Along Olympic Coast

Save The Date! On October 20th from 5:30-7pm, Surfrider Foundation Washington Chapters will be hosting a webinar workshop featuring researchers from Oregon State University who will provide an overview of recreation ecology and highlight cutting edge research on water quality impacts along the Coastal Section of Olympic National Park. This event is being held in collaboration with our Outdoor Alliance Washington Coalition partners in efforts to have a greater impact in efforts to reach a wider audience of coastal outdoor recreation enthusiasts. See below for a description of the workshop.

Workshop Overview: This workshop focuses on how outdoor recreation activities may create ecological and pathogenic issues (e.g., bacterial contamination and the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria) to sensitive marine areas in Washington State and will 1) provide an overview of the scientific field of recreation ecology (the study of how outdoor recreation may lead to ecosystem disturbance); 2) use case study data specific to Olympic National Park marine areas to discuss why and how normalized practices for disposing of human waste in outdoor areas may lead to pathogenic pathways detrimental to human health; 3) and identify options for better practices should be considered by outdoor enthusiasts to prevent such issues from occurring in the future. This workshop will also create space for organizations, land managers, and attendees to work in small groups to discuss local problems concerning human waste issues in parks and protected areas, with a focus on how to mitigate such issues.

The coastal section of Olympic National Park is a popular area for hikers, wildlife viewers, and surfers and is visited by thousands annually.

Speaker information: Lara A. Jacobs is a Citizen of Muscogee (Creek) Nation and in the final year of her Forest Ecosystems and Society Ph.D. program at Oregon State University.  Her research focuses on the pathogenic and ecological impacts of outdoor recreation activities and how such impacts may pose issues for Tribal Peoples and outdoor recreationists. Lara blends Indigenous Sciences (e.g., Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Indigenous Value systems) with western scientific methods (e.g., visitor monitoring and mapping, geographic information systems, cellular and molecular biology, etc.) as a means to resolve socio-ecological issues.  Lara has worked with large groups of Indigenous scholars to publish manuscripts about how land management entities can work through co-equity-based managerial frameworks to support Tribal sovereignty and Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and has also published manuscripts that focus on COVID-19 in parks and protected areas and the need to center Indigenous Peoples’ and Tribal Nations in climate change discourse and research.  Lara is currently editing a book called Indigenous Voices: Critical Reflections on Traditional Ecological Knowledge that should be published in 2024. Lara holds a B.S. in Women Studies from Oregon State University, an M.A. in Environmental Studies from Prescott College with a concentration in Conservation Science, Environmental Education, and Sustainability, and a Certificate from the University of Toronto in GIS, Mapping, and Spatial Analysis Specialization.

Dr. Ashley D’Antonio is an Associate Professor of Nature-Based Recreation Management in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University. She is a recreation ecologist - which means her work focuses on understanding how outdoor recreation may cause disturbance to the environment. Her applied research centers on how to mitigate and manage these disturbances to help parks and protected areas meet conservation goals. Dr. D’Antonio specializes in using interdisciplinary and spatially-based approaches to understand visitor behaviors and the ecological consequences of those behaviors on natural resources. She also has expertise in visitor use management, including visitor use estimation and outdoor recreation planning. Dr. D’Antonio has worked in numerous national parks across the West including Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. as well as urban-proximate protected areas in Park City UT, Orange County, CA, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She hopes that managers and practitioners can use her research to better protect natural resources while continuing to provide quality recreation experiences to visitors in parks and other protected areas.

Watch the recording of this workshop here