The sound was deafening as a massive crowd howled in imitation of wolves – a cry the speaker leading the crowd said he hoped would be heard all the way at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s Florida vacation home.
The moment came at a rally following the March for Science in downtown Corvallis Saturday afternoon, which coincided with similar marches across the United States. Organizers estimated the crowd in Corvallis was between four and five thousand.
Kelby Hahn, one of the event’s coordinators, said the organizers estimated the crowd size by handing out march stickers to everyone passing a certain point in the march. After running out after handing out 2,000 stickers, she said, they counted heads.
“We’re amazed,” she said. “It was more than we anticipated, but we’re excited.”
Hahn said the purpose of the event was to promote policy decisions based on science.
“I think (the crowd size) shows the Corvallis community cares about science and is very excited to share it,” she said.
She added that it was intended to be a nonpartisan event, and people came out because they don’t want science-based public agencies to be silenced.
“There’s been a lot of concern about that lately,” she said.
Signs carried by marchers included messages like: “Darwin 2020. Gradual change we can believe in,” “There’s no alternative facts to climate change,” “Jumping off a building will hurt even if you don’t believe in gravity,” “Science doesn’t lie. Trump does,” and “I’m with her,” with an arrow pointing to an image of the earth.
Paige Hovenga, a graduate student in engineering at Oregon State University, said concern about climate change and advocating for science were why she attended the march.
“We want to present people with science objectively… and allow people to make informed decisions,” she said.
She added that the event had a positive atmosphere.
“There are a lot more people than I expected and the people here seem passionate,” she said.
Gaylen Sinclair, a graduate student in climate sciences at OSU, said seeing so many people come out for the march was encouraging.
“You can be in the lab for weeks and it’s easy to forget at the end of it there are people who are interested and care,” Sinclair said.
Sinclair added that there are a lot of negative things said about scientists online, so showing that scientists are real people through events like this is important.
“I think that it’s really important to show everyone science is important,” she said.