Now that the legislative session is over, where do the Orca Task Force recommendations stand? Has progress been made? The BOLD team has the answers in this easy-to-read scorecard.
Thank you to everyone who’s been following and engaging with their legislators to help critical bills get passed! There is still more work to be done in a lot of areas as you will find out in this report particularly in funding salmon habitat projects.
The federal government decided in July of 2020 to keep the four lower Snake River dams in place, knowingly turning against the best option for salmon recovery and for the benefit of endangered Southern Resident killer whales in desperate need of additional prey resources. With this long-awaited and expensive federal already decision made, where do we go from here? What steps can be taken to recover salmon in the Columbia and Snake River? We talk with Joseph Bogaard of Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition to hear what he has to say about the federal decision and what steps can be taken today to influence decision-makers for a better outcome tomorrow.
To learn more about Save Our Wild Salmon visit: www.wildsalmon.org
Possibly the best news story of all of 2020, J35 Tahlequah gives birth to a new calf, just two years after her “tour of grief” where she carried a deceased baby 17 days and over 1,000 miles. We talk with Dave Ellifrit and Katie Jones of the Center for Whale Research who were both on the scene and took incredible photos documenting the newest member of J pod. They share what it was like to be on the water and the emotions that followed. After Tahlequah’s tragic loss two years ago, should people be celebrating or concerned? Dave and Katie weigh in.
All photos in this piece are credited to Katie Jones and Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research.
Sarah Fesenmyer and Michael Milstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration share a new blog series called “Southern Resident Connections.” The blog aims to connect the public with new and exciting research on the endangered Southern Resident killer whales and ways everyone can be involved. Hear about inspiring habitat restoration projects, microplastics found in killer whale poop, which salmon the whales are eating, how fishing seasons are being determined right now – and how you can make your voice heard.
Learn more about the podcast! Read the Southern Resident Connections blog. View NOAA’s brochure about Taking Action for Southern Resident Killer Whales here. Learn more about the upcoming Aug. 3-4 Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific Council) Ad Hoc Southern Resident Killer Whale Workgroup meeting. View the referenced Risk Assessment.
Subscribe to video podcasts on YouTube and at iTunes and take us everywhere you go!
Following interviews with the authors of Orca: The Whale Called Killer, Listening to Whales: What the Orcas Have Taught us, and Endangered Orcas: The Story of the Southern Residents, your Orca Month Book Club co-hosts Whitney Neugebauer and Colleen Weiler discuss all three books. They compare notes, offer insights and personal experiences, and share hope for the future. Dive into your next whale adventure through the pages of these books while you’re safe at home.
Learn more from Monika Wieland Shields as she discusses her book, Endangered Orcas: The Story of the Southern Residents. This in-depth book takes a deep dive into the history of our interactions with Southern Resident killer whales, their biology, and current threats to their survival. Perfect for the beginner just dipping their toes into the world of orcas or the experienced naturalist, each section of the book offers the reader a clear understanding of orca research and science.
In the interview Whitney Neugebauer, Whale Scout, and Colleen Weiler, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, explore acoustic research, politics, and Monika’s current work as Founder of Orca Behavior Institute.
This is the third book of three in the Orca Month Book Club. Check out other interviews with Erich Hoyt, author of Orca: The Whale Called Killer and Alexandra Morton, author of Listening to Whales: What the Orcas Have Taught Us.
To learn more about Monika Wieland Shield’s research visit www.orcabehaviorinstitute.org
Hear from Alexandra Morton, author of Listening to Whales: What the Orcas Have Taught Us. The book chronicles her life and the story of raising a young family following Northern Resident orcas in British Columbia. Beginning studying dolphin communication, then the captive killer whale Corky, and finally Corky’s family in the wild, Alexandra Morton weaves her scientific research and storytelling together in a beautiful book. This is a powerful book for any orca lover.
In the interview Whitney Neugebauer, Whale Scout, and Colleen Weiler, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, explore themes of captivity, motherhood, and conservation. Alexandra Morton also discuss current issues related to salmon farming in British Columbia and teases a new book in the works!
This is the second book of three in the Orca Month Book Club. Check out other interviews Erich Hoyt, author of Orca: The Whale Called Killer at https://youtu.be/W9fOP6Y0ay4 and Monika Wieland Shields, author of Endangered Orcas: The Story of The Southern Residents to be posted June 21st, 2020.
To learn more about Alexandra Morton’s work visit www.alexandramorton.ca Buy the book on Amazon.
To learn more about Orca Month visit www.orcamonth.com.
For more from Whale and Dolphin Conservation go to www.whales.org.
Celebrating virtual Orca Month, join the Orca Month Book Club! Read three great orca books: Orca: The Whale Called Killer by Erich Hoyt, Listening to Whales, What the Orcas Have Taught Us by Alexandra Morton, and Endangered Orcas: The Story of the Southern Residents by Monika Wieland Shields. To jump start your reading, Colleen Weiler of Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Whitney Neugebauer of Whale Scout interview the authors. Join us each Sunday in June for a new discussion.
This interview features Erich Hoyt, author of Orca: The Whale Called Killer. Journey into the world of Northern Resident killer whales in British Columbia in the 1970’s when little was known about these magnificent animals. Brought along on a film crew as the “sound guy,” Hoyt experimented with playing sounds for the whales. The book explores his experiences with the whales and the importance of the habitat where they thrive. Now in it’s fifth edition, this book is considered a “must read” for anyone interested in orcas in the Pacific Northwest.
Be sure to subscribe on YouTube for more Orca Month Book Club episodes: June 14th – Listening to Whales, What the Orcas Have Taught Us by Alexandra Morton June 21st – Endangered Orcas: The Story of the Southern Residents by Monika Wieland Shields June 28th – Discussion between Colleen and Whitney about all three books
Later summer we invite you to join us for community conversations online. Dates are TBD.
Looking for a way to help the whales AND stay in shape at home this summer? Join Ariel Yseth’s Summer Salmon Run! Choose an orca or salmon-related group to support and start your own run or walk-a-thon. This new effort is modeled after Ariel’s past fundraisers where she’s raised over $1,000 to run 365 miles in 365 days. Listen to learn more about how to get started and stay connected on Facebook. Plus, we learn much more about Ariel, our very own podcast producer, newsletter and communications lead, and naturalist. She shares about leaving the mid-west to journey closer to the whales in the PNW, fighting a chronic illness, visiting the house featured in the Free Willy films, and more!
While we stay safe at home, there are still so many ways to help recover endangered orcas. Whale Scout is offering free Orca Conservation Kits safely delivered right to your door celebrating Orca Action Month. Kits include native shrubs to plant in your yard and information and activities connecting these plants to salmon and orcas for the whole family – all in a reusable shopping bag!
Puget Sound watersheds connect all of us to endangered killer whales. The rain that falls in our yards seeps into streams where salmon flow into Puget Sound as orca food. Maintaining the natural processes that keep these waters clean is both important for salmon and orcas. From the tree tops to the tips of the whales’s flukes, everything is connected.
How do I get a kit? Please submit this request form by June 17th. Kits will be delivered between June 22nd and 26th.
Tucked neatly into the front pocket is a packet tailored to your household with a salmon friendly gardening guide, natural yard care tips, orca stewardship brochures and information including a Whale Scout button. We’ll also include activities for kids – screen-free!
Who can get a kit? Anyone living in the urban Puget Sound area within our delivery area and is willing to follow the requests listed below.
2. Commit to attend at least one in-person salmon habitat restoration event when it is safe to do so. Visit www.PodMatch.org for ideas near you.
3. Send us a photo of your plant once it’s home to add to our “virtual forest.”
How will kits be delivered? Volunteers will deliver kits to their local neighborhoods wearing a mask: Eligible delivery addresses: Bellevue, Bothell, Brier, Burien, Carnation, Des Moines, Edmonds, Everett, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Lynwood, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Olympia, Redmond, Renton, Seattle, Sammamish, SeaTac, Shelton, Shoreline, Tacoma, Tukwila, University Place, West Seattle, Woodinville, and Woodway. Don’t see your location? Email us to see if we accidentally missed your neighborhood. firstname.lastname@example.org
When will kits be delivered? We anticipate kits will be delivered the week of June 22nd, 2020.
This program is generously supported by The Nature Conservancy in Washington’s Urban Tree Canopy Project. To learn more about orcas and Orca Month go to www.orcamonth.com
Whale Scout, a nonprofit organization based in King County, Washington is looking for summer interns to assist with salmon habitat restoration, riparian research and monitoring, and outreach/educational activities. Dedicated to protecting Pacific Northwest whales through land-based conservation experiences, Whale Scout takes a boots-on-the-ground approach to recovering endangered Southern Resident killer whales and the salmon they rely upon. This internship will offer the opportunity to learn about killer whales, salmon habitat, native vegetation, communication, community building, and non-profit organizational management. It will offer those 17 and older field experience and opportunities educating the public including diverse families. The internship may also include opportunities to participate in day trips to San Juan Island and local Puget Sound beaches to facilitate educational land-based whale watching opportunities. Activities will be adjusted to comply with all COVID-19 guidelines. Two positions are available lasting 12 weeks with a $1,000 stipend to cover travel and associated expenses. Applications are due June 8th, 2020.
Description of Responsibilities
Summer watering, weeding, maintenance, and monitoring of newly planted native vegetation at restoration sites within King County
Development of a riparian monitoring project at our Bear Creek site
Outreach performing educational activities working with kids and families in King County as health guidelines permit
Compiling and delivering Orca Conservation Kits throughout the Puget Sound region and King County
Land-based whale watching with the public at Puget Sound beaches and possibly day trips to San Juan Island (3-5) as part of the San Juan Island Naturalist Program if health guidelines permit
Data entry and some administrative tasks
Independent reading, learning and research
Capstone project of the interns choice which may include a paper, presentation, or video, etc.
$1,000 stipend to cover the cost of travel and associated expenses
Continuing educational opportunities
Experience working with diverse communities
Experience with salmon habitat restoration
Upon successful completion of internship a letter of recommendation for future positions