Women in STEM
Dana Reuter is a Paleontology Graduate student at the University of Oregon. On top of her research on tooth morphology, Dana also serves as the Outreach Co-Chair for the Women in Graduate Science Group where she helps teach science workshops to young girls - inspiring the next generation of females in STEM.
1 million visitors expected for August eclipse
Reporter: Miranda Daviduk
Oregon agencies are braced for a massive visitor surge next month. On August 21, the Great American Eclipse, as it has been dubbed, will blackout the sun leaving only a thin outline of light called the corona. The full effect can be experienced within the 70 mile wide path of totality, according to NASA's website. This path is the area where observers will see the moon fully cover the sun except for a faint outline.
Spectators on Oregon's central coast will be first to witness the spectacle which was last visible in the continental United States in 1979.
State agencies, including Oregon Department of Transportation, have coordinated for a year to prepare for the 1 million visitors estimated to flood the state. Arrive early and stay put, ODOT is advising anyone traveling on the days leading up to the celestial event. According to its website, ODOT will have maintenance and incident crews stationed at critical travel points to ensure visitor safety.
While there are many concerns surrounding the crowd influx, Jude McHugh, public affairs officer for the Willamette National Forest Service, expressed one of the main concerns is fire. "With this number of visitors, if the roads are clogged and we have a fire we're going to have a real challenge of accessing that fire," she explained.
With the eclipse occurring at the peak of fire season, congested roads and limited cell phone signal present a dangerous obstacle. Forest Service officials expect cell coverage, particularly in the path of totality, will be overwhelmed and unusable.
Partnering agencies are hoping to maintain communication in other ways. McHugh said, "We have a radio system that is not based on cell signals and we'll be using that for the safety of our employees and for fires."
To prepare for possible emergencies, various state agencies will have firefighters on standby leading up to the eclipse. Kevin Higgins, program manager for Benton County emergency services, said they also have access to a helicopter in partnership with the National Guard. It will be used in the event of a serious medical or fire emergency.
"The matrix for decision making for fires is life, property, natural resources. If there's any threat to life, we'll take the appropriate action," said McHugh.
While officials prepare for emergency management, travelers are preparing for a tranquil experience.
Astronomy enthusiast, Dewey Estrada of Roseburg, is intending to travel to the coast with his wife to witness the phenomenon. He was a young child when the last eclipse occurred in the United States and he remembers few details.
"When I was a kid, seeing an eclipse was cool. Now that I'm older, seeing an eclipse means a little bit more than just seeing an eclipse," he shared. Recognizing life's impermanence, now as an adult he appreciates the rarity of the event.
Estrada is anticipating a moment of serenity during the experience and "at the same time, feeling that the world's a little small because there are events that happen that are much bigger than we are."
Tales From a Kayaker
Dave Childers, a kayak guide for the city of Eugene, Oregon tells a brief story about his rafting trip through the Grand Canyon.