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.
Celebrating the theme of “We are Family” we’re taking a deep dive into the social interconnectedness of orcas and exploring concepts of culture both in the behavior of whales and our own diverse relationships with the species. This year we’ll be reading the National Geographic magazine “Secrets of the Whales” edition and “Spirits of the Coast” produced by the BC Royal Museum.
“Spirits of the Coast” is a collection of Indigenous stories, scientific perspectives, poems, and visual art, exploring the world or orcas in the Pacific Northwest. Called the “mastermind of the book,” Nikki Sanchez joins Whitney Neugebauer of Whale Scout and Colleen Weiler of Whale and Dolphin Conservation for an emotional conversation about “Spirits of the Coast” and the current issues facing Indigenous communities in British Columbia.
Join us for a live online community conversation where the public can share their perspectives June 17th. Register here.
The recently published National Geographic series Secrets of the Whales takes a deep dive into the cultural lives of whales. On this episode we learn about culture in Pacific Northwest killer whales (orcas) from Dr. John Ford from his 40+ years of experience. What exactly is culture in animals? Why is it such a contentious topic among scientists? How is culture exhibited in orcas? Plus, Ford examines the potential costs and benefits of culture in a population such as the Southern Residents.
Celebrate the iconic Southern Resident killer whales
Choose from events and activities coordinated by the Orca Salmon Alliance and partner organizations – that bring together researchers, conservation organizations, orca lovers, elected officials, and inspire action and advocacy efforts to protect this highly endangered population. Everyone is invited to get involved and participate throughout this exciting event. Here’s a sampling of events we’re helping to host:
Celebrate Orca Action Month! It will be a party with ice cream to go around too! Volunteer to improve habitat! Portions of Bothell’s largest park, the former Wayne Golf Course, are a migratory corridor for Chinook salmon in the Sammamish River and potential habitat for Coho at the confluence of Waynita Creek. As this amazing property transforms from a golf course into a public open space, volunteers are offered the opportunity to help improve the habitat. By controlling non-native and invasive weeds, and protecting native trees and vegetation, we’re able to improve water quality for salmon and down the line provide more prey for killer whales in Puget Sound!
Join us June 13th. We’re offering COVID-safe small groups (fewer than ten people total). Consider signing up your household for a fun, educational, family outing.
Due to COVID precautions we ask all volunteers bring their own gloves, food and water, and wear mask. Those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, under 18 need a signed release form by a parent.
We’re asking for firm, committed RSVP’s only. Upon confirmation, your spot will be held ensuring the group size does not exceed ten people. Work party windows are short, please arrive promptly and stay the full time unless arranged ahead of time. Thank you for your cooperation!
June is Orca Action Month in the Pacific Northwest! Amanda Colbert joins the podcast to give listeners a preview of what’s to come. Here’s a hint: orca-tastic events both online and in-person for the whole family! Learn how to craft a letter to policy-makers, join an art class or trash pick-up, plus SO MUCH MORE for Orca Action Month, June 2021!
Learn more and discover events at www.orcamonth.com
The SeaDoc Society recently launched a new podcast called, Pod of Orcas: Saving Southern Resident Killer Whales. On this episode we talk with Justin Cox, SeaDoc Communications and Marketing Manager about the podcast, how it came about, and how it aims to make a difference for endangered Southern Resident killer whales. To be explored similar to a book with chapters, Pod of Orcas is available here.
Which episode of Pod of Orcas was your favorite? Share in the comments section on YouTube. Please like and subscribe!
We know you’re hearing a lot about ‘Give Big’. Here’s what makes us different.
Today begins the annual ‘Give Big‘ event in Washington. Your inbox is probably full of requests asking for your hard-earned dollars. We’re a little different from the rest. Here are five reasons why we believe our organization is worthy of your support today.
1. Our work is important, direct, and innovative Since 2013 we’ve been tackling salmon recovery efforts head-on, getting our hands dirty restoring salmon streams. While it’s not always glamorous, as we sweat to pull out weeds or brave the rain to install native plants, seeing Chinook salmon at our restoration sites is rewarding for volunteers and critically important to the whales’ bellies. Our team of volunteer naturalists works to help all whale watchers see the importance and participate in this type of direct stewardship.
2. Funds go to direct costs – not overhead As a volunteer driven organization, your support won’t go to large overhead costs but to supplies and materials that help us accomplish our mission of protecting Pacific Northwest whales through land-based conservation experiences.
3. We care not just about the whales, but people, too Growing resilient communities through inclusive environmental protection work is an integral part of our programs. We’re elevating diverse voices through our internship program, reaching out to communities of color, low-income families, school groups, and working towards a world where clean air and water is for everyone.
4. We believe every little bit matters It’s not all about the big things, but the sum of many small efforts together that will save endangered orcas. Every tree, every little kid’s effort, every scoop of mulch makes a difference for the waterways in our own communities. It’s the rivers and streams in all of our own backyards that make a difference for the salmon the whales depend on. Whether you have a little or a lot to give, it matters.
5. Your dollars are doubled! Thanks to generous donors, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar! Double the funds, double the impact!
Join the Whale Scout naturalist volunteer team! As a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting Pacific Northwest whales through land-based conservation experiences, volunteers are at the heart of our organization and mission. Learn more about volunteering below and apply by May 10th using this application form.
Whale Scout’s intention is to be an inclusive, diverse, and collaborative organization that contributes to equitable opportunities for all to have a voice and take meaningful action on behalf of the environment. We are striving for a volunteer team that reflects our region’s diversity while honoring and being informed by the knowledge and traditions of its first stewards, the Coast Salish people.
Critically endangered Southern Resident orcas are doing their part. It’s time to do ours. We need your help.Please call and write Washington State’s U.S. SenatorsPatty Murray and Maria Cantwell today.
We must act quickly. While Southern Resident orcas have welcomed three new calves in the past year, just 75 individual whales survive today. Without enough salmon to eat, however, they are struggling to survive.
Restoring the lower Snake River is our very best opportunity to restore salmon to abundance across the Pacific Northwest region – to help to feed hungry orcas and assist struggling tribal and fishing communities at the same time.
We stand with Northwest tribal leaders, business owners, local communities, clean energy experts and countless citizens: Now is the time for a solution that works for salmon, for orcas, for tribes – for all of us.
Contact Our Senators:
Contact Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell today. Let them know how vital their leadership is before the extinction of these irreplaceable Northwest species becomes our legacy.
We need Senator’s Cantwell and Murray leadership to seize this opportunity in 2021 – to make big investments to restore salmon abundance and protect orcas, strengthen our energy and transportation infrastructure, and sustain more just and prosperous communities across the Northwest.
ACT NOW: Tell Washington’s leaders: “Now is the time to act!”
Make two phone calls:
One important thing you can do right now: pick up the phone and call Senators Murray and Cantwell – let them know that we need their leadership now for salmon and orcas, and our communities. It only takes a moment, but it makes a big impression.
Senator Cantwell’s Seattle office: (206) 220-6400 Senator Murray’s Seattle office: (206) 553-5545
Here are suggested message points:
Introduce yourself and include where you live. Be polite and speak clearly.
“I am calling to ask Senator Murray/Cantwell to use her leadership to work with others on the 2021 Infrastructure Bill taking shape in Congress right now. As a constituent, I strongly support restoring the lower Snake River and its salmon and investing in critical infrastructure to ensure more just and prosperous communities.”
Share why salmon/orcas/healthy rivers are important to you, your family, and your community.
Emphasize the need for bold and urgent action this year, and how Snake River salmon and Southern Resident orcas face extinction today: Snake River fish are returning at some of their lowest levels ever – and just 75 Southern Resident orcas survive in 2021.
Encourage culvert replacement, stormwater and sewage treatment, restoration, removal of dams in other locations, including comprehensive investments to recover salmon and whales as other parts of the package.
Send an email to Sens. Murray and Cantwell:
You can also follow this link to send a pre-written, editable letter to Senators Murray and Cantwell – and your member of the House of Representatives. (Phone calls are more impactful – and a follow-up email can help reinforce your message!)
Dive deep into the world of whales with Secrets of the Whales. On this episode of the Whale Scout podcast we talk with Brian Skerry, National Geographic Explorer and Photographer, about a three-year project uncovering stories of whale culture. The Disney+ original series Secrets of the Whales, from National Geographic, premieres Earth Day, April 22. The three-year project will also be featured in the new National Geographic book “Secrets of the Whales“, on sale April 6, and the May issue of National Geographic magazine, The Ocean Issue, available online on April 15.