Coastal sustainability effort assisted by aerial and aquatic robots

Look, in the sky: It’s a bird, it’s a plane. No, it’s a robot assisting in choreographing and mapping coastal sustainability efforts! As coastal zones continue to face threats from increased development, changes due to climate change and relaxed resource management, environmentalists are turning to new tools to help in the battle. These new tools will be the subject of the Clean Technology Council’s talk on Wednesday, March 8, in Thousand Oaks.

Marine biologist Sean Anderson, Ph.D., of California State University, Channel Islands, will be the featured speaker. Anderson manages the Aerial and Aquatic Robotic Research Group at the university, which takes advantage of affordable and miniaturized electronics, small batteries, 3-D printing, and open source development to build remotely operated vehicles. Anderson spearheaded the effort to create policy for drone research at state universities.

After Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana, Anderson and a team of students used so-called drones to map areas inflicted by invasive species for restoration. In 2015, Anderson launched a public survey to gauge the opinion of the use of drones.

“We are San Francisco in 1850 with all kinds of Easterners daily arriving at our docks wanting and expecting to strike gold. But there is far too little perspective on this technology and industry,” said Anderson in an April 2016 interview with the VCReporter.

Anderson will speak at the CTC meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, at Total Wine Conference Center, 394 N. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks. Tickets are $15 and include a wine tasting. For more information, visit www.cleantechnologycouncil.org.

Ventura students to assist NASA

A new partnership with NASA is giving some Ventura students a chance to rocket a whole load of stuff into space. High school students at the Ventura County Office of Education’s Career Education Center will now have the opportunity to join the NASA HUNCH program, after the Ventura County Board of Education approved the partnership on Monday, Feb. 27.

HUNCH (High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware) is a nationwide program in which students build equipment to NASA’s specifications using advanced tools. Some of the equipment created by the students may be chosen to accompany astronauts into space for use with NASA systems on the International Space Station.

For more information on the program, visit www.nasahunch.com. More information on the VCOE Career Education Center is available at www.vcoe.org/cec

Two radio stations launch in February

There are now a few more options to tune in during your morning commute, as two new local broadcasters took to the air in February.

The Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project, known simply as MICOP, has launched its indigenous language radio station, Radio Indigena, at 94.1 FM serving Port Hueneme, Oxnard, El Rio, Saticoy, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru, Moorpark, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks and Ventura. The station features 20 MICOP-trained DJ’s who lead their own programs on a variety of topics. The radio station itself was built by 200 immigrants, primarily strawberry field workers. For more information, visit www.mixteco.org.

In Ventura, Community Access Partners of San Buenaventura (CAPS) has installed a new radio tower and antenna on the CAPS Media Center and has begun broadcasting as of Feb. 17 at 104.1 FM. The station will broadcast community information and programming. For more information, visit www.capsmedia.org.