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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.

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.

Give Big May 4th and 5th

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!

Go ahead, Give Big to Whale Scout if you believe in our work.

Join Our Volunteer Naturalist Team

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.

Role of volunteer naturalists:

  • Assists the public in land-based whale watching
  • Offers positive, inclusive, educational experiences
  • Illustrates food-web and watershed connections between Southern Resident killer whales, salmon, native vegetation, and water quality
  • Communicates science, policies, and stewardship actions with the general public
  • Participates in local sightings networks
  • Attends and volunteer at salmon habitat restoration events

Benefits of being a volunteer naturalist include:

  • Playing an active role in orca recovery
  • Learning experiences including trainings and field trips
  • Camaraderie with other volunteers
  • Educational materials and volunteering supplies

Expectations:

  • Volunteer naturalists will conduct themselves professionally and in alignment with our diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives
  • Volunteer naturalists will be required to attend continuing education sessions and at least one salmon habitat restoration event every year 

To apply, please turn in this online form by May 10th. Accepted applicants will be notified May 11th and sent a link to register for the online training May 16, 22, and 23 from 6pm – 8pm. 

Action Alert! Orcas and Snake River Salmon

https://www.wildsalmon.org/orca

Orcas Need Salmon.

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!)

Secrets of the Whales with National Geographic Explorer and Photographer Brian Skerry

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.

Super Earth Day Volunteer Event!

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 April 25th. We’re offering different shifts to ensure 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.

Shifts are 9:00am – 11:00am, 11:30am – 1:30pm, and 2:00 – 4:00pm.

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!

Registration is required:

9am sign up here

11:30am sign up here

2:00pm sign up here

Whale Scout is a part of a larger effort this Earth Day – Super Earth Day! We’ve teamed up with other Bothell/Kenmore groups to offer our community many opportunities to dig in. Check out the flyer below and look for events on Facebook.

Diverse Voices Summer Internship Opportunity- 2021

Whale Scout, a nonprofit organization based in King County, Washington is looking for student summer interns to assist with salmon habitat restoration, riparian research and monitoring, and outreach/educational activities with diverse audiences. 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. We acknowledge that we are on the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish people, and recognize that certain local communities of color, including indigenous people are often disproportionately impacted by lack of salmon, poor water quality, and access to outdoor environmental experiences and education. Our programs, including this internship, work to address these issues. We are seeking applicants whose backgrounds, experiences, skills, and interests align with environmental justice goals related to Puget Sound. This internship will offer students the opportunity to learn about killer whales, salmon habitat, native vegetation, water quality, communication, community building, and non-profit organizational management. It will offer those 17 and older field experience 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 depending on COVID-19 levels. Activities will be adjusted to comply with all COVID-19 guidelines. Three positions are available lasting 10 weeks with a $1,000 stipend to cover travel and associated expenses. Applications due April 26th.

Description of Responsibilities

Watering, weeding, maintenance, and monitoring of newly planted native vegetation at restoration sites within north King County

Riparian and water quality monitoring 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

Development of short, educational videos 

Data entry and some administrative tasks

Independent reading, learning and research

Required attendance at online trainings in May (4 two-hour sessions on weekends, online) 

Benefits

$1,000 stipend to cover the cost of travel and associated expenses

Field experience

Continuing educational opportunities 

Networking opportunities 

Experience working with diverse communities

Learn salmon habitat restoration and water quality testing techniques 

Upon successful completion of internship, letter(s) of recommendation for future positions

Desired start date 

Participation in weekend training sessions online in May (4, two-hour sessions)

Internship start date: June 7th (phased-in start, independent study week 1, site orientations week 2)

Timeline

Applications due: April 26th

Interviews: via ZOOM May 4, 5, 6

Internship June 7th – August 15th

Commitment 

Commitment 20 hours per week (approx). 

Schedule can vary and include some weekends

Skills and Qualifications 

Open mind and willingness to explore other points of view 

Computer skills – use of Google products such as Google calendar, Google docs, Google sheets/excel and Zoom. Must have access to a computer/internet/email regularly

Be able to lift 40 lbs

Interest in teaching a diverse group of students both in and out of the classroom.

Proven personal initiative and ability to multitask, prioritize, use good judgement, problem solve, and work effectively both independently and as a team in a fast-paced environment.

Ability to hike several miles and serve outdoors in all weather conditions.

Demonstrated written and oral communication skills and detail-oriented organizational skills.

Must be at least 17 years old on first day of internship

Must provide personal transportation to sites across King County and Anacortes, Wa. Travel to south Puget Sound and Mount Vernon for field trips may be possible.

Must possess a valid driver’s license

Must successfully pass a criminal history background check.

Must be a U.S. citizen, national or lawful permanent resident alien.

Willingness to store and/or transport materials to and from home.

Some basic knowledge of Pacific Northwest ecosystems, flora and fauna.

Willingness to learn more about the threats and science regarding Southern Resident killer whales

Housing not provided.

We encourage people of all backgrounds and identities to apply, including Native American and people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ+, people living with disabilities, and veterans. No person is unlawfully excluded from employment opportunities based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), age, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or other protected class. 

We consider the “whole applicant,” working to develop a cohort of interns with unique perspectives each year. Typically we receive far more applicants than available positions.  

To apply, fill out and return this application by April 26th, 2021.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfm_keJ9nxUOMT6XSx6IkGy2Uf-gvtrXeI-0uXrRS8XoXZ5rw/viewform?usp=sf_link

New Book, Not on My Watch – Interview with author Alexandra Morton

Alexandra Morton, an orca communication and behavior scientist turned salmon activist, returns to the Whale Scout podcast to discuss her just-released new book, “Not on My Watch: How A Renegade Whale Biologist Took On Governments and Industry To Save Wild Salmon.” An engaging speaker and storyteller, Alexandra shares the emotional, dynamic ongoing struggle to remove Atlantic salmon farms out of the wild, rugged, and resilient waterways that support the communities of British Columbia, Canada, including First Nations. Led to Canada by the orcas, ultimately the work of Alexandra Morton continues to protect the whales through the protection of wild salmon so desperately needed by both the whales and people of the coast.

Purchase a copy of the book via Penguin Random House.

Learn more about Alexandra Morton’s work on her website.

Learn about the work lead by Wild Fish Conservancy in Washington State to remove salmon farms from Puget Sound.

Please like and subscribe to our YouTube Channel!

A New, Damless, Vision for the Lower Snake River and Columbia Basin

Executive Director of Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, Joseph Bogaard, shares promising news about the future of the Columbia Basin and lower Snake River dams. Idaho Republican Congressman Mike Simpson has proposed a plan to recover salmon with a free-flowing Snake River and ensure the prosperity of regional communities. As of today, the plan would be to remove the four lower Snake River dams by 2030 – would it be too late? Joseph Bogaard explains. Learn more about the plan and how you can help.

Read Simpson’s proposal, take action with SOS writing to Northwest Senators and House members) for OR, WA, ID, AK, and MT residents) asking them to work to improve and advance Rep. Simpson’s ‘Columbia Basin Fund’ initiative.

Learn more at: www.wildsalmon.org

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Let’s Talk Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales with Colleen Weiler from WDC

On this podcast we typically closely follow the story of the Southern Resident killer whales, but on this episode we talk with our friend Colleen Weiler from Whale and Dolphin Conservation about her work on North Atlantic Right whales. Join us on a trip to the Atlantic Ocean to learn about these large baleen whales, ropeless fishing gear, shipping traffic, and ways you can help.

For information about Whale and Dolphin Conservation visit: whales.org

For more video podcasts visit our YouTube channel or listen on iTunes.

FREAK OUT AND SAVE RIGHT WHALES – Sign the WDC petition by March 1st, 2021

Learn more and take action on the SAVE RIGHT WHALES ACT!

Learn more about ROPELESS/ON DEMAND FISHING

Sound Action’s New Underwater Orca Camera – Amy Carey

Learn all about Sound Action’s new project – an underwater camera! This video and audio live-stream will hopefully capture orcas at a popular whale watching spot, Point Robinson, which is also an aquatic reserve in south Puget Sound. Executive Director, Amy Carey shares her personal story coming to protect endangered orcas and the work that Sound Action does to protect the critical ecosystem foundations – salmon, forage fish, and nearshore habitats.

For more information on the orca camera project and the full scope of Sound Action’s work as a shoreline development watchdog organization, go to www.SoundAction.org.

For more video podcast episodes subscribe on YouTube! For audio on-the-go subscribe on iTunes.