Julia K. Parrish, Executive Director
Julia started her academic career as a starving artist, only dimly aware of organismal biology and natural history. However, as art is more difficult than science (!), Julia found herself (while still an undergrad) immersed in marine biology as a visiting student at the Duke University Marine Lab. Since then, it's been science, and particularly animal behavior and field biology, all the way. After coming to the University of Washington in 1990, Julia discovered conservation in the way that most field biologists do, by watching the organisms and habitats she had been working on, and in, disappear and degrade as a consequence of human activities. At the same time, Julia met many people who were watching local resources and ecosystems change, and wondering what to do about it. These experiences led her to create a program for citizens with a strong component of marine conservation, a foundation of basic science, and a healthy dose of enthusiastic teaching and outreach—the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team—of which she is Executive Director. Her current research focuses on physical, biological, and anthropogenic factors affecting coastal seabird population health in the North Pacific, including a long-term study of the Common Murres of Tatoosh Island. In addition to her research, Julia serves as the Associate Director of the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, and as the Director of the Program on the Environment.
Jane Dolliver, Program Coordinator
Jane joined COASST in 2002 as an undergraduate intern. Starting with data entry, supply inventory, answering the COASST email, and fielding questions and comments from our participants, Jane quickly became the cheerful “voice” of COASST that everyone recognizes. Since then, Jane has assumed the job of data verification—making sure that each and every bird listed on a data sheet is, in fact, what it’s been identified as, a daunting task with over 4,000 entries annually across the program. Of course, this also puts her is the best position to put together the Breaking News, Quiz, and COASST People sections of COASST Reports, as well as take a leading role in putting together our newsletter COASSTLine. Well on her way to becoming an itinerant biologist, Jane has traveled to Chile to tag Pink-Footed Shearwaters, has spent countless hours on Tatoosh Island watching Common Murre parents bring fish—one at a time—to their chicks, and holds the record for number of continuous hours using our fiber-optic camera with head-mounted video display to spy on Rhinoceros Auklet chicks in the Protection Island burrows. As if this was not enough, Jane is also locally renowned in the Parrish lab—and in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences—for her baking prowess, and strives to make sure chocolate brownies are never in short supply.
Heidi Pedersen, Volunteer Coordinator
Heidi joined COASST as a Volunteer Coordinator for the North Coast and Strait of Juan de Fuca Washington beaches in August of 2012. However, her first experience with COASST was as a volunteer in 2002 trained by Mary Sue Brancato and Barbara Blackie. (Yes, I remember the Polaroid cameras.) Before coming to the Olympic Peninsula, Heidi studied Biology at the University of California, Davis where she participated in a Tropical Biology and Ecology semester in Costa Rica and found her passion for being outdoors, observing nature. For another 10 years Heidi worked in Alaska, California, and Washington for a variety of organizations as a field technician collecting information mostly about birds and their habitats. Heidi currently works as a contractor for the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary with citizen science projects such as COASST and education and outreach. When not working, Heidi enjoys spending time with family and friends, ideally in the outdoors. She has grandiose ideas of learning a variety of musical instruments and being a semi-professional baker and soup maker.
Charlie Wright, Data Verifier
Charlie joined COASST as a Seabird Data Verifier in fall 2010. Birding has been Charlie’s passion from a very young age. He started leading local field trips for Rainier Audubon Society at the age of 11 and has never tired of sharing knowledge and learning along the way. Charlie happily spends most of his time with COASST going over each and every datasheet, crosschecking the data with photos sent in by our fantastic volunteers and deciding whether, indeed, that was a swollen heel or a white speculum. A student of bird identification, for years Charlie has enjoyed riding the juggernaut of citizen science, and he is an avid user of eBird.org. Charlie has also done field work conducting point counts and nest searching for Black-throated Blue Warblers at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. In summer 2010 he worked with a recently discovered taxon of Red Crossbill endemic to the South Hills and Albion Mountains of Idaho. Charlie's interest in birds has taken him on expeditions throughout Mexico and to South America, and he has experience identifying seabirds off the coasts of Washington, California, Peru, Mexico, and New England. He is a member of the Washington Bird Records Committee. In those fleeting moments when he finds himself not out in nature or doing bird-related work, Charlie enjoys watching baseball and eating recreationally.
COASST Student Interns
Left to right: Stephanie, Teresa, Stacey, Brianne, Kara, Monisha, and Alyssa.
Brianne Ankenman - Brianne has a degree in Biology from Pacific Lutheran University with interests in ecology, evolution, ornithology, and conservation. She first caught wind of COASST when Julia Parrish visited her university in the spring of 2012. Brianne was incredibly taken aback and inspired by the research with sea birds, because it melds all of her interests into one (very large) project! As Brianne listened to Julia, she knew COASST was something she needed to be involved in. Brianne’s first spoken word was “bird.” The birds in her backyard have fascinated her since she could speak and she truly found a passion for them in college, while studying Comparative Ecology in Ecuador. She enjoys birding and learning to illustrate birds in her spare time. As a Western Washington native, Brianne is infatuated with nature and physical activity. She LOVES hiking, camping, running, tennis, volleyball, and hopes to SCUBA soon. She loves to travel, play board games, read by a fire, and she is a classically trained pianist. If there is a special treat that you enjoy, Brianne loves to bake and partake in the consumption. Brianne intends to apply to graduate school to pursue a career in conservation biology through research and encourage the proliferation of citizen science programs like COASST. Brianne joined COASST to learn about citizen science research and to seek a new opportunity to be involved in biology.
Alyssa Boettger - Alyssa is currently a senior at University of Washington, Tacoma studying environmental science and GIS. She is a former Borders Books and Music employee who now works in a science lab. Coincidently (or not), she loves to read. Anything nature related is right up her alley which spurs her ever developing passion for birds. Alyssa love to listen to live music, find fun volunteer opportunities, and go on adventures. During school, her free time usually involves an exciting night of homework with a side of wasabi peas or chai lattes. She joined COASST to learn more about birds and citizen science projects.
Stacey Feeken - Stacey grew up in Vancouver, WA as an only child. Her family and she have always loved fishing, boating, snorkeling, and beachcombing, really anything that has to do with water. Stacey has always been a person who enjoys the outdoors. After graduating high school, she went to college in hopes of a degree in environmental studies. She started at Clark Community College and is finishing at UW with a degree in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, with a minor in marine biology.
Adrienne Hampton - Adrienne is originally from Alexandria, VA where she grew up along the Potomac River and enjoyed the excitement of exploring Washington, DC. Currently, she is a junior at the University of Washington majoring in Environmental Studies and completing a minor in Marine Biology. In her free time, Adrienne plays woman’s lacrosse for the University of Washington and sings in the gospel choir. She enjoys long walks on the beach and visiting her hometown on breaks, especially to see her family, friends, and labradore Andy.
Monisha Ray - Monisha is a senior majoring in biology and minoring in marine biology! She wants to do wildfire rehab or ecology research when she graduates. Monisha also loves rock climbing.
Teresa Schaut - Teresa has lived in and loved the Pacific Northwest her entire life. She is studying marine science and cellular and developmental biology at the University of Washington. When she isn't in a lab or a library she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, cooking, listening to NPR, and drinking tea.
Shannon Serier - Shannon is a senior majoring in Environmental Science. She became involved with COASST through a service learning experience in one of her classes. She really enjoyed the program and wanted to become more involved. Shannon’s main interests in biological science are conservation, waste reduction, and community out reach. From COASST, she hopes to learn more about marine conservation and how data collection is involved in the conservation process.
Kaitlin Sot - Kaitlin is a University of Washing graduate in the school of Aquatic and Fishery Science. She has spent most of her time working in bars and restaurants, so she is very excited to be interning at COASST now. Kaitlin is also looking forward to an upcoming internship where she will be working at a seal research and rehabilitation center in the Netherlands. She can’t wait to finally get some hands-on experience working with mammals in my field of study!
Chelsea Star - Chelsea is a junior majoring in Biology with a minor in environmental science and resource management. She has a strong interest in wildlife conservation, rehabilitation, and education outreach. After graduation, Chelsea plans to return to her home state of California and find opportunities to work with wildlife while possibly attending graduate school. In her spare time, Chelsea likes to make jewelry, dabble in graphic design, concept art, and she also paints images that are influenced by chemistry, biology, and astronomy. Crows and raptors happen to be her favorite subject.
Stephanie Valdez - Stephanie is a senior at the university of Washington, pursuing a degree in Biology. She enjoys going scuba driving and playing all kinds of sports. After she graduate, she wants to go to graduate school and get a PhD in Conservational or Ecology Biology. She has a big dream to one day go to Africa and work with elephants.
Kara Van Slyck - Kara is a junior at UW majoring in environmental studies and minoring in marine biology. She works at the Seattle Aquarium feeding the Giant Pacific Octopus, but her favorite responsibility there is trainings with the Harbor Seals. In her free time, Kara enjoys running (loves going around Greenlake Park), baking, and Sudoku in the mornings with breakfast.