My name is Dustin James. I am a student at University of California, San Diego. I am majoring in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution and minoring in Photography. In the fall of 2016 I participated in the Ecology and Conservation program that is run through the UC Natural Reserve system. In this program I gained knowledge on various field methods in ecology, data collection and data analysis, and scientific writing.

When I finally settled into my major I had thought that research was the only route that was available with such a degree. I had taken up a minor in Photography not as a career path but rather with the intent to further develop a hobby. The Ecology and Conservation program made me realize two things: that doing research was not the only way in which science can be communicated and that I liked photography more than I had initially thought.

This summer I am working for Oregon Sea Grant from the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance near Bandon, OR, conducting coastal tourism asset documentation and marketing through photography. This project’s purpose is to tie the tourist experience to resources in the local communities/local environment. I will do this through the acquisition of professional images, specifically for marketing purposes. These images, while ranging in content and subjectivity, will be meant to engage those who might not be familiar with Oregon’s southern coast by showcasing the services, amenities, and features that make the South Coast so unique. This makes it an ideal project to observe nature, document it, and use it in a way that is beneficial for the economies of the larger Oregon community.

 

Huckleberries

The evergreen huckleberry is a one of many evergreen shrubs native to Pacific coastal forests. First noted by Captain Lewis at Oregon’s Fort Clatsop in 1806, this shrub, which can grow to 12 feet or more in the shade, likes acidic soil and can tolerate salt spray and strong winds.

In the spring, the branches are covered with clusters of small, pinkish-white bell-shaped flowers which yield tiny blue-black fruit in late summer. These flowers attract bees, birds, and butterflies and the berries are eaten by songbirds, mammals, and humans. Like its most well-known relative, the common blueberry, huckleberries contain high concentrations of antioxidants and were favored by native populations. Today, they are frequently used to make pies, jams and jellies, and syrups.

Red Alder (Alnus rubra)

The red alder (Alnus rubra) is a deciduous tree native to the U.S. Pacific Northwest that has proven important to both Native Americans and wildlife in the region. Its range extends from southeastern Alaska to southern California, generally within 125 miles of the ocean. This tree is a pioneer species that establishes rapidly in openings created by forest disturbance, including landslides, logging or fire.

Red alder is one of many trees in the U.S. Pacific Northwest used by Native Americans. The bark was used for dyeing basket material, wood, wool, feathers, human hair, and skin. The wood is low in pitch, which makes it a good wood for smoking meat. Native Americans also used the bark to treat many health problems from insect bites to lymphatic disorders.

For wildlife, red alder provides an important deciduous component in the predominantly coniferous forests found in the region. Most of the seeds remain on the tree well into the fall and winter months, providing valuable resources for birds, insects, and mammals when other foods are scarce. Beavers eat the bark and build dams and lodges with the stems. Red alder trees also provide valuable nesting for birds and thermal cover for black-tailed deer and other wildlife.