North Coast Otters Public Arts Initiative

North Coast Otters is a community ‘treasure hunt’ or ‘festival tour’ to find sculptures painted by local artists, with an aim to celebrate life, water, and otters; support local businesses; and raise funds for student projects. Seek sightings and selfies with 108 otter sculptures on display at participating shops, restaurants, galleries, and visitor centers that have reopened with covid-safe guidelines.

In addition, the project encourages community members to participate in the ongoing ‘citizen science’ river otter records study by consistently reporting when and where wild river otters are observed throughout the North Coast region. Join us and our many partners in this merger of citizen art and science, while promoting clean water and healthy habitats where we live and play!

Participating artists decorated three-foot-tall otter sculptures for an educational art trail throughout Humboldt, Del Norte, and neighboring counties. A Junior Otter Spotters "activity booklet" will be available to inspire the young and young at heart. Otter Art sculptures will be auctioned to provide valuable funds for otter studies and student internships with community-based watershed projects.

The initiative arose from a desire to share what we are learning about wild river otters with the community. Since 1999, HSU students have been collecting otter records from citizen volunteers as a means of tracking the quality of North Coast habitats. River otters, seen at all times of day in our area, have captured the attention of thousands.

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