Event Spotlight: UCSC Tide Pool Social

By: Ixchel Urbano, SDSU Chapter Member

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In the Fall semester of 2020, the UCSC Chapter of WSS held a successful in-person social at the beach. The purpose of this event was to have WSS members in the Santa Cruz area meet up at Natural Bridges State Beach to explore the tidepools at a king tide! Because UCSC is fully online this year, it has been very challenging to find ways for members to connect with each other in a way similar to what it would be like if school was happening in person. The UCSC executive board took this into consideration and went on to plan a social-distanced social for their Chapter!

The executive team planned the event and also kept in mind members’ interest levels by sending out an interest form and an rsvp form. This was a great method of gauging what member’s would be interested in doing, and to see if they would attend the event. Members were also instructed to text their Vice President when they arrived and if they needed any help finding the executive team to ensure all could enjoy the tidepools from the same location.

The event was a success and allowed members as well as the executive team to get to know each other on a deeper level. UCSC WSS member, Darhien Gaddis said, “The king tide was spectacular and a sweet relief from the current pandemic situation. While we maintained social distancing and stayed safe, we also came together to make sure everyone had a great time seeing beautiful sea life that one may not normally get to see. It was a wonderful bonding experience and allowed my sister and I to feel close to the community while enjoying the natural beauty at Natural Bridges.”All attendees were very happy with how the event went and enjoyed being able to marvel at the wondrous creatures that find their homes in tidepools together! Everyone who attended was very covid-conscious and wore masks and socially distanced while participating in the event. Separate transportation was also another measure taken to ensure safety. The event was held in the afternoon so everyone was able to watch a gorgeous sunset together as well. This event was a really nice way for UCSC local members to get to know their peers better and connect in person! Exploring the tide pools was also an awesome opportunity to see sea stars, sea urchins, chitons, barnacles, mussels, small fish, crabs, and anemone!

This event is definitely something the UCSC Chapter would love to put on again! King tides happen in Santa Cruz roughly every month to two months, especially in the colder months, so the executive team is already planning on possibly holding a similar function soon. The executive team is excited about the potential this type of events has and is thinking of turning the event into a scavenger hunt for members to learn more about marine species! This would function by having a set list of marine species to find in the tidepools and have members take a picture if they can identify any of the species. The member who identifies the most species the fastest will win a prize! 

The UCSC Chapter of WSS says the most important thing to keep in mind when planning any in-person events during covid is to make sure they are safe from a health standpoint,and safe. Apart from that, the leadership team at UCSC said when throwing an event at the beach be sure to remind members to wear shoes that are good for gripping slippery rocks, to bring water, and a phone or camera! Communication is also key in throwing a successful social off campus so be sure to share a personal phone number with members attending so no one loses the group. 

The Women in Science Society is so proud of our UCSC Chapter for thinking outside of the box and finding a social-distance safe activity for their members to take part in. As Fall approaches, many of us are hoping for even more social interaction and look forward to seeing all the events our Chapters may have for their members to bond!