Categories
Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

OMSI After Dark: Surf & Sand (7/27/22)

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Stop by our table at OMSI After Dark and learn about sea otters!

Join us on Wednesday, July 27th from 6-10pm to explore the science of surf, sand, and sunsets, all in one place. Deep dive into all things ocean to understand the fun and mystery that makes up the deep blue.

CURRENT COVID RULES
At this time, entry to OMSI After Dark requires ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
— Proof of COVID vaccination (2 shots by Moderna/Pfizer or 1 shot by J&J)
OR
— Proof of a negative PCR or antigen COVID test taken in the prior 72 hours. Tests must be medically administered. At-home tests are not accepted.

Masks are optional for guests although we still highly encourage you to wear a mask and recommend you wear an N95 or KN95. We are limiting capacity to 1,200 guests.21+ Only | ID’s are required for entry.

Questions? events@omsi.edu

Categories
Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Art on the Beach – Lincoln City, OR (7/17/22)

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We’ve partnered with the Cascade Head Biosphere Collaborative for their 2nd Annual Art on the Beach!

To celebrate one of the world’s rare biospheric reserves, scientists, artists, and the public will gather on the Oregon beach to talk, learn, and create images in the sand.

The Cascade Head Biosphere Collaborative (CHBC) has announced its second annual “Art on the Beach” weekend, a three-day event running July 16-18. This celebration brings together community science and artistic expression to raise awareness regarding the interdependence of humans on the oceans, as well as the impacts of climate change on coastal communities and the environment. With the help of partners Chinook Winds Casino Resort, The Elakha Alliance, community volunteers, and visiting guest artist Josie Iselin, this year’s events highlight kelp forests, sea otters and the crucial role they play in marine ecosystems.

This year, attendees and volunteers can look forward to a wider range of activities to participate in, from sea-star monitoring to sand-art raking a 100-yard long Bull Kelp and Sea Otter design. “Sand is the perfect canvas for everyone to be able to enjoy large scale art that illuminates the beauty and function of the ocean and how its amazing creatures are related to each of our lives,” said Duncan Berry, CHBC co-director and co-founder.

Sea star monitoring will occur during the extreme low tide at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 16, at the tidepools at the far north end of Lincoln City’s Roads End beach. Scientists and volunteers will measure how quickly Ochre Sea Stars are rebounding after a wasting disease swept through their ranks. Look for the informational tables to learn more and how you can help with the CHBC “Wrack Line,” another community science research project.

The first sand-raking event will take place on Sunday, July 17, from 9:30 a.m. to noon on the beach in front of the Chinook Winds Casino Resort (entrance to Art on the Beach is free). CHBC is proud to partner with Josie Iselin, a renowned San Francisco-based artist and seaweed expert, as well as the Elakha Alliance, which is a non-profit working to reintroduce sea otters back to their native waters in order to create a more robust and resilient marine ecosystem. “Art is an excellent medium to instill a sense of appreciation for the natural world around us. We’re thrilled to help promote ocean conservation through this creative project with the Cascade Head Biosphere Collaborative,” said Chanel Hason, director of outreach and community relations for the Elakha Alliance. 

Later that day, the collaborative will offer a “Forests of the Sea” seaweed printing and educational workshop at the Lincoln City Cultural Center from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. It will feature cyanotype/solar printing and will be offering gyotaku technique of printing seaweeds and the creatures that inhabit the near shore. The cost of this gyotaku and solar print workshop is $60.

On Sunday evening, the CHBC and its partners at Oregon State University’s Marine Studies Initiative and the Elakha Alliance will be hosting an “Art and Science” presentation from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Lincoln City Cultural Center. This will be an immersion into the amazing undersea world of the kelp forests and the effort of re-introducing sea otters that are so key to their long term health. This event is free and open to the public.

Lastly, on Monday, July 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the artists and rakers will return to the beach in front of the casino to depict giant Ochre sea stars marching down the beach.

Categories
Blog Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Elakha Alliance Seeks an Executive Director

We are pleased to announce that the Elakha Alliance is searching for our first Executive Director. This position will play a key role to furthering the efforts of the Elakha Alliance’s mission of reintroducing sea otters back to Oregon.

Download the job description & application here, or see full description below. Review of applications will begin May 15th, 2022.


Job Announcement
April 15, 2022
Full-Time Executive Director, Elakha Alliance

About the Elakha Alliance
The Elakha Alliance is an Oregon-based nonprofit that includes conservationists, academics, lawyers, tribal members, and scientists. The Elakha Alliance’s mission is to restore a healthy population of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) to the Oregon coast, and to thereby make Oregon’s marine and coastal ecosystem more robust and resilient.

“Elakha” is the Chinook trading language word for sea otter. These mammals were once plentiful in coastal waters all along the Pacific Coast. For thousands of years, sea otters and coastal native peoples had strong relationships with each other and the nearshore marine environment. But in the 1700s and 1800s sea otters were decimated by hunting for their pelts, and by 1910 they were eliminated from Oregon.

Since then a catastrophic loss of kelp forests has occurred along the Pacific Coast due to a superabundance of herbivorous sea urchins and a super deficiency of their main predators, sea stars and sea otters. Until apex predators are returned, the urchins will continue to clearcut our kelp forests, resulting in loss of fish and invertebrate species diversity, carbon sequestration capacity, and ecosystem health and economic services. The goal of the Elakha Alliance is to reverse these trends. Reintroducing sea otters to Oregon is a logical step — perhaps the only ecologically and practically sound proactive step available — for restoring and sustaining the West Coast’s magnificent underwater forests and their denizens.

The Elakha Alliance is governed by a board of directors (currently with 12 members). The Elakha Alliance is also served by an External Advisory Council, from which it seeks regular guidance. The “executive” function of the organization has been filled since the organization’s 2018 founding by Board President, Bob Bailey, who has overseen a variety of contractors and a single employee (Outreach and Community Relations Director). Having raised and set aside sufficient funds, the Elakha Alliance board has determined the time is ripe to transition to a more traditional nonprofit leadership model by hiring its first Executive Director.

The Elakha Alliance is in the third year of implementing a five year Strategic Plan. A copy of this plan is available from Jonathan@ElakhaAlliance.org. This Strategic Plan and our recently completed Feasibility Study will guide and focus the activities of the Executive Director (E.D.).

General Attributes Sought for the Position
The single most important attribute for Elakha’s E.D. is the aspiration for, and unwavering commitment to, returning sea otters to the Oregon Coast.

To help the Elakha Alliance achieve this goal, we seek an entrepreneurial, strategic thinking
individual with excellent communication skills. The individual must be adaptable, and able to respond positively to opportunities and changing circumstances. The individual also must be an affable and outgoing “team player” who will reinforce Elakha’s collaborative leadership style and motivate others within and outside the organization to embrace our shared vision. The E.D. will be expected to work closely and collaboratively with the Board President as duties transition, while also working with the Board of Directors as a whole, Elakha scientific advisors, the Elakha
External Advisory Council, interested Tribes, and Elakha employees and contractors.

Must Have Skills and Experience

● Demonstrable success in fundraising (grant writing, individual donors, and corporate sponsors)

● Previous management or leadership experience with a nonprofit organization, government agency, or equivalent environment

● Experience working in roles that involve some combination of public policy development, science, and advocacy

● Experience working with Tribes and government agencies

● Capability of planning for, implementing, and documenting activities of a small organization without support staff

● Ability to communicate clearly and effectively in formal and informal settings, including via writing, public speaking, and one-on-one interactions

● Comfortable learning about scientific advances and using the best science available to guide planning of projects and their implementation

● Willingness to travel to attend meetings, interact with agency employees, external advisors, donors, etc. Access to a vehicle and valid driver’s license are essential

Desirable Skills and Experience

● Knowledge of marine ecology, especially the role of sea otters in nearshore ecosystems

● Knowledge of Oregon coastal politics, players, and geographies

● Experience with personnel management and human resources

● Experience with nonprofit or agency budgeting and financial management

● Experience with nonprofit or agency communications (presentations, video, online)

● Experience interacting with a nonprofit Board of Directors

● Experience communicating via web pages, social media, and other online methods

Specific Responsibilities of the Position
Note: the job responsibilities listed below are for 2022. If/when funds are raised to add additional staff/contractors, the Executive Director and board leadership will adjust these as deemed appropriate at the time.

Fundraising. The E.D. is the chief development officer – i.e., the person with overall responsibility for fundraising to support the organization. Duties will include identifying and cultivating relationships with potential individual, foundation, and agency donors; preparing, submitting, and tracking grant proposals to private foundations, government agencies, individuals, and other potential funders; submitting required performance and close-out documents; and assisting Board members in fundraising within their personal networks.

Finances: The E.D. is the chief financial officer. Duties will include budgeting and reporting, in concert with an outside bookkeeping firm; consulting with the Treasurer, and Board committees, and members to ensure the financial health and integrity of the organization; providing monthly financial reports to the Board; and ensuring that adequate and legally required financial records are kept and made available to Board members, outside auditors, and government agencies.

Human Resources: The E.D. is the chief human resources officer. As of April 2022, key employees/contractors are a full-time Outreach and Community Relations Director and a three quarters time South Coast Liaison. Human Resources duties will include hiring and supervising employees and contractors; maintaining employee and contractor records; cultivating positive and respectful relationships with employees and contractors; assisting employees and contractors in maintaining and improving their job performance, including updating job descriptions as necessary; and conducting annual, written evaluations of employees and contractors (i.e., evaluations that provide opportunities for feedback from
evaluees, including suggestions to the E.D. about how to improve his/her own job performance).

Science and Policy: The E.D. is the chief scientific officer. Duties will include promoting the scientific rationale for the mission of the organization and consulting/contracting with scientific and technical committees and other scientific and policy experts to ensure that the strategic objectives of the organization are being met.

Strategic Planning: The E.D. is the chief strategic planner. Duties will include periodically reviewing the Strategic Plan to evaluate progress; collaborating with the Board President and Board as a whole to ensure that Elakha’s mission and operations continue to be aligned with the Strategic Plan; and consulting with the Board and, as needed, outside individuals, organizations, and agencies to make judicious amendments to the Strategic Plan.

Communications and Partner Engagement: The E.D. leads interactions between Elakha and its external advisors. Duties will include creating and maintaining clear and productive communications with Alliance partners, participants, and donors; quarterly reporting to the external Advisory Council and others on the activities of the organization; and making judicious decisions about when to seek advice and engagement from the Board, Advisory Council members, agency employees, and other external partners.

Board Engagement: The E.D. reports to the Board, while working to deepen board engagement in the organization. Duties will include scheduling, organizing, and participating in Board meetings and other committee meetings as needed; maintaining positive and supportive professional and personal relationships with Board members; collaborating with the Board President and the Board as a whole in strategic planning, fundraising, and other matters; and helping to recruit new Board members as needed.

Compensation and Benefits

● Starting salary range is $90-$110K, negotiable based on qualifications and experience

● Starting Health Care stipend of $400 per month

● Generous vacation and wellness benefits

Office
The Elakha Alliance is a virtual organization, with no fixed office. We expect the Executive Director to provide a home office or an equivalent remote location for their work with access to communication devices (e.g., a laptop, cell phone, printer).

How to Apply and the Selection Process
Please submit a resume and a cover letter. The cover letter should address:

● What motivated you to apply for Elakha’s E.D. position

● How your skills and experience match up with Elakha’s needs

● How your skills and experience match up with specific responsibilities of the position

● The date you could commence working

Submit your materials to Elakha’s strategic advisor, Jonathan Poisner (jonathan@elakhaalliance.org).

Review of applications will begin on May 15, 2022. Finalists will be interviewed by the Search Committee. The search will remain open until the position is filled.

The Elakha Alliance is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender, race, color, age, or any other characteristic. The Elakha Alliance is committed to reflecting the diversity of Oregon’s communities in our Board, employees, and contractors. We strive to ensure that our internal culture, business practices, and programs are welcoming and advance our diversity goals.

Categories
Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Sharing Space with Sea Otters: A Case Study of Coexistence in a Crowded World (3/29/22)

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Balancing Sea Otter &
Human Interactions

The Elakha Alliance is thrilled to invite Sea Otter Savvy‘s Founder and Director, Gena Bentall, and Science Communication Director, Heather Barrett, to tell the story of the return of sea otters to a human-occupied California coast and the challenges of balancing the needs of wildlife and people in a changing world.

This webinar will take place on Tuesday March 29th, 2022 at 6pm PDT. Please use the form below to register for the Zoom link.

Speaker Bios:

Heather Barrett & Gena Bentall

Since 2001, Gena has worked as a sea otter biologist, studying sea otters in such wide-ranging locations as the Aleutian Islands, Russia’s Commander Islands, San Nicolas Island off the coast of Southern California, and along the Central California coast. After years of studying sea otters in the wild, Gena has learned much about their unique biology and behavior and witnessed first-hand the chronic nature of disturbance by human recreation activities. In early 2014 she first began to pursue the idea of organizing a program specifically dedicated to alleviating this chronic disturbance through education.  Gena has directed the Sea Otter Savvy program since 2015 and currently serves as Director and President of the Board of Directors.

Heather’s interest in sea otter conservation and ecology has developed through her undergraduate degree at UC Santa Cruz, internship through the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and graduate research at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. As the Science Communication Director of Sea Otter Savvy,  Heather refines science communication strategies, oversees creation and promotion of science-related materials, leads science-related media relations, and develops special projects for outreach. As the Research Scientist, Heather continues her research interests in human disturbance to sea otters.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Sea Otter Awareness Week Presentation (9/24/21)

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Learn About the Cultural Importance
of Sea Otters in the Pacific Northwest

It is hard to appreciate the historical, cultural, and ecological significance of a species that disappeared from Oregon’s coastal waters over a century ago. What has the loss of sea otters meant to Oregon’s indigenous peoples? What does their absence mean to the health of nearshore ecosystems? What might be gained from the return of sea otters to Oregon?

Hosted by the Defenders of Wildlife in partnership with Sea Otter Savvy’s ‘We Were Here’ program, Peter Hatch (Elakha Alliance Board Secretary & member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz) will discuss the history and possible future of sea otters in Oregon.

We invite you to take this stakeholder survey about possible sea otter reintroduction along the West Coast.

This webinar will occur on Friday September 24th at 5pm PDT.


About Sea Otter Awareness Week

Annually, throughout the last week of September, Defenders of Wildlife, Sea Otter Savvy, and CA State Parks come together to celebrate sea otters during Sea Otter Awareness Week. They encourage zoological and educational institutions, governmental agencies and communities to plan and undertake events that highlight sea otters. These activities include sharing stories, disseminating science and generating media that inspire a deeper awareness of these unique marine mammals, their ecological importance and the many challenges they face. View all of the wonderful presentations and events here.

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Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Celebrate Sea Otter Moms this Mother’s Day

Sea otter moms are heroes, raising their pups on their own without the help of males or other females. 

Immediately after giving birth, a sea otter spends hours fluffing and licking her pup to ensure the pup’s fur coat retains air, since sea otters do not have any layer of blubber or fat.  And then in the months that follow, the mother must voraciously feed, so that she can nurse her pup for anywhere from four to twelve months, all while teaching the pup to survive and eventually thrive.

Someone once described starting an organization, as we have with Elakha, as like giving birth and raising a child.  We’re pretty excited at what our “pup” is doing so far!  

  • We’ve launched a scientific Feasibility Study and accompanying Economic Assessment to inform decision-making about the potential for sea otter restoration in Oregon. 
  • We’ve launched an online public education campaign, including webinars, podcasts, social media, and a new website. 
  • We’re building partnerships with other organizations small and large in order to build regional consensus that sea otter restoration is a goal worth pursuing.

But there is so much more that needs to be done, and that’s where you come in.  We need you to help “feed” Elakha with the resource most needed at the moment: your donations. Your donations of $25, $50, $100, or whatever you can afford are essential if we’re to increase our impact in the months ahead.

For starters, we’re gearing up for a big public engagement strategy this summer around the public release of the draft Feasibility Study and Economic Assessment.  

We’re also planning for a new round of outreach aimed at specific interested audiences, such as Tribes, ocean users, and those who catch shellfish or finfish as their livelihood.

All while setting the stage for 2022, when we’ll have to take the next steps on scientific assessment, and be prepared to launch a full-scale in-person public outreach program that dovetails with our online public education. 

We’ve set a target of raising $30,000 from individuals by the mid-point of the year in order to be able to move forward with our complete plan.  As I write this, we have raised $19,485 of that

In honor of sea otter mothers, your own mother, or whoever in your life nurtured you when it was most needed, please consider donating. 

Thank you so much & have a wonderful Mother’s Day.