CoastWatch in the Schools

Outdoor learning on the Oregon shoreline

Photo of Driftwood School students on the beach by Jesse Jones.
Driftwood School CoastWatch orientation. /Photo by Jesse Jones.

CoastWatch in the Schools links schools in all Oregon coastal counties to a shoreline mile near their school that they visit, observe, and document over time. The program encourages students to take pride in a part of Oregon’s public shoreline, watch it closely for changes (natural or human-caused), and share what they find on our website. Adopting a coastal mile as an outdoor classroom gives teachers the flexibility to design interdisciplinary lessons and participate in ongoing community science projects. The free program is managed by CoastWatch, Oregon Shores’ volunteer program.


Photo of students walking to Battle Rock Beach by Jesse Jones.

Current Partners


Getting Started

Step 1: Choose a convenient beach that has safe access year-round. Next, visit our website’s Tour of the Miles section to locate your chosen beach and the mile number assigned to it. Here, you may view current and past reports. Miles often have more than one adopter. 

Step 2: Connect with the CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator to set up a CoastWatch account on our website. You will be provided with a username and password so you can upload photos and complete our online fillable observation form once you begin the program.

Step 3: The CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator will meet with the class, and give a presentation on what to observe on the beach, when to walk the beach, what if any community and citizen science projects are happening on this mile. Schools may join an existing project or develop a new one that align with their desired learning outcomes. Ordinarily, mile adopters are asked to walk their mile at least four times a year and file reports on those visits; this schedule can be adjusted in the case of schools to adjust to educational needs.

Step 4: Schedule your beachwalk field trips. Oregon Shores can help logistically with planning and may be able to assist with transportation funding and/or coordination. Please inquire for opportunities.

Why Join

CoastWatch in the Schools allows students to benefit from outdoor, place-based learning and incorporates many opportunities to meet the Oregon Science Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. Students have the opportunity to develop skills such as making close observations, critical questioning, creative thinking, designing investigations, collecting information, drawing conclusions, and developing explanations. Schools work with the CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator to customize an interdisciplinary experience to align with their class’s goals. Ultimately, the goal of CoastWatch in the Schools is to enable outdoor learning on the beach, foster environmental literacy, and shape the next generation of ocean stewards.