There’s nothing like hitting the beach on a Saturday morning before 7 a.m. as the tide inches out. On June 12th, that’s exactly what organizers from the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO) called for to help mark World Oceans Day celebrated a few days before.
As the first of three activities throughout the morning, CEDO guides led participants carefully along tide pools hugging the shore in the Mirador. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable CEDO staff helped participants spot and learn more about various organisms found within this representational ecosystem of Puerto Peñasco. Finds included anemone, urchins, snails, hermit crabs, banded brittle star, a giant black brittle star, sea cucumber, and even the darting tentacle of an octopus, all hidden under rocks and in the nooks and crannies of tide pools that appear at low tide.
Instructions to ensure a safe day for tidal creatures and participants alike included the 4 rules of beach / tidal pool etiquette:
- Leave rocks where you find them – if you pick one up while exploring, be sure to put it back carefully in the same spot
- Take only pictures when you leave – or rather, don’t adopt a hermit crab or take shells home for your collection
- Leave only footprints in the sand – pack it in, pack it out
- Oh yes…and Careful not to touch the fire sponges, fire worms, or ostrich plume hydroids – fire sponges and worms are aptly a red hue to warn you off, while the “ostrich feathers” can be tempting to touch but are by no means from your average ostrich.
The second and third activities of the day included a beach cleaning excursion from Pitahaya down to the Blue Flag certified beach at Manny’s, followed by the presentation of a new mural space at Manny’s soon to showcase reflections from the area’s tide pools. Art for the informational flyer, developed in coordination with the Municipal Clean Beach Committee, as well as the mural comes from the artistry of ASU graduate student Jessica Potter.