A person with a bicycle on the beach at sunset. Bicycle, person, and Haystack Rock all in silhouette.

Play on the beach during Cannon Beach Sandcastle's 60th Anniversary weekend June 15-17 and join us in celebrating our country's independence at our Fourth of July Parade!


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Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP)

The most genuine gift one person can give another is their own time; every year in Cannon Beach, over 100 volunteers donate their most precious commodity, their free time, to the Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP). Dressed in red jackets, boots, and a friendly smile, visitors can find these knowledgeable volunteers at Haystack Rock during every low tide from mid-February through October. Click here to see when HRAP is on the beach.  Equipped with a diverse range of information, these volunteers are eager to educate visitors about the rich biodiversity that flourishes in the marine garden – some can be found on bird scopes showing guests how to spot a Tufted Puffin. Others will be crouched down in a tidepool pointing out a nudibranch to a group of children; you can also spot a volunteer near rocks pointing out a sea star feeding on mussels.

These volunteers are the life force of HRAP’s environmental education program, but what they do is not a job - instead, it is a joy that anyone of any age and background can participate in. There are no mandatory hours for HRAP volunteers. Entire families, including well-behaved leashed furry members, are encouraged to come volunteer together. This majestic rocky shore belongs to everyone, and HRAP strives to create an inclusive and mutually beneficial program for volunteers. Many volunteers do not live in Cannon Beach but are seasonal visitors! No prior experience or knowledge is necessary, just a passion for marine conservation. HRAP staff is around to train and mentor new volunteers and ensure they feel confident in educating the public. The new 2022 season is set to begin on February 1st.

HRAP began its private tour program to connect more intimately with visitors and locals, allowing a more in-depth exploration of our diverse natural wonders. Paying guests will meet Lisa Habecker, HRAP’s Volunteer and Education Coordinator, who comes readily equipped with the gift of gab and decades of ecological knowledge. HRAP’s private tours are 90-minutes long and offer dedicated attention to a group while catering to their specific dates, times, needs, ages, and interests. These new tours have also allowed parents to adapt to homeschooling and distance learning education by supplementing a personal field trip education for their children or students. HRAP offers discounted school and group rates and caters to specific educational requirements.

While the Tufted Puffins are away at sea from September to April, a fake plush puffin can always be found hanging around the HRAP office; recently, HRAP staff decided it was time he finally had a proper name. In December, a naming contest was held on HRAP’s social media, where dozens of fans submitted their suggestions. One word out of the 78 ideas quickly became a fan favorite at City Hall. In January, HRAP proudly introduced its new mascot, Tuff Ted!

Naming the mascot Tuff Ted is more than just a silly pun; it acts as a reminder of how important the focus on marine conservation is. HRAP recognizes the Tufted Puffin to be a species in peril due to its dramatic population decline over the past few decades; the name Tuff Ted reminds us that this species still matters, it is important to us beyond being just a silly mascot, but a reminder of the struggles many ecosystems are facing and how important protecting our renewable habitats are. Tuff Ted reminds us about the plight of Tufted Puffins, their value to the ecosystems around Cannon Beach, and the sincere hope that this species truly is challenging.


Writer Bio

Kelli Ennis, Director of the Haystack Rock Awareness Program. In May of 2020 Kelli joined the Haystack Rock Awareness Program team. The Haystack Rock Awareness Program is an environmental education program located in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Our mission is to protect, through education, the intertidal and bird ecology of the Oregon Marine Garden and National Wildlife Refuge at Haystack Rock.

Edited by staff, February, 2022


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