Featured

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.

All Our Relations: Tribute to the Orca

RSVP Link

You’re invited to the All Our Relations: Tribute to the Orca on June 12 from 6:30 – 9:30pm at the Seattle Aquarium! Tribute to the Orca is presented by Se’Si’Le, an Indigenous-led nonprofit in Washington State and is supported by a coalition of NGOs and faith-based partners. Join us for an evening centered around raising up Indigenous voices and re-imagining our relationship with Nature. Indigenous leaders will explore several interwoven issues to increase awareness of their ancient kinship with the orca, the salmon, and their heritage of honoring our caretaker: Mother Nature.

The evening will have a special focus on the Southern Resident orcas whose survival, like the survival of Indigenous lifeways, depends on scha’enexw (the Salmon People). We will hear from Indigenous leaders from across the region who will speak to the sacred obligation to past and future generations and shed light on their ancient covenant with all our relations in the air, on the land, and in the waters.

Tickets are available on a sliding scale basis. Indigenous People are welcome to attend free-of charge. Space is limited so be sure to reserve your tickets.

Orca Action Month

Sign up HERE

We are kicking off Orca Action Month with a volunteer event featuring Mike, the inflatable life-size Orca!

Endangered Southern Resident killer whales depend on salmon as a critical prey resource from watersheds in Puget Sound and beyond. Salmon use the Sammamish River as a migratory corridor. Improving the water quality in the river will help both struggling salmon populations and orcas. Join us to prepare a new planting site at the former Wayne Golf Course. Vegetation will help shade and cool and clean a small stream emptying into the Sammamish River. Healthy riparian forests control erosion of river banks and host insects young salmon need early in life. The former Wayne Golf Course features nearly a mile of shoreline and is the largest City of Bothell park. Activities will take place on the west side or “front nine.” 

Consider signing up your household for a fun, educational, family outing. Those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, under 18 need a signed release form by a parent. Meet at the clubhouse parking area (16721 96th Ave NE, Bothell, WA 98011). Please sign up. A confirmation email will be sent to you 2-3 days prior to the event.

City of Bothell Earth Day Event!

Sign up HERE

Whale Scout is partnering with the City of Bothell for an Earth Day event on the 27th of April!

Celebrate Earth Day with a variety of fun activities for participants of all ages! You can also help restore healthy habitat by removing invasive plants at the Former Wayne Golf Course. Healthy riparian forests are essential for absorbing excess rain and controlling erosion of river banks, which helps protect young salmon. Activities will take place in the Back Nine of the park.

Protect the Riparian Zone along the Sammamish River

Sign up here!

Endangered Southern Resident killer whales depend on salmon as a critical prey resource from watersheds in Puget Sound and beyond. Salmon use the Sammamish River as a migratory corridor. Improving the water quality in the river will help both struggling salmon populations and orcas. Join us to prepare a new planting site at the former Wayne Golf Course. Vegetation will help shade and cool and clean a small stream emptying into the Sammamish River. Healthy riparian forests control erosion of river banks and host insects young salmon need early in life. The former Wayne Golf Course features nearly a mile of shoreline and is the largest City of Bothell park. Activities will take place on the west side or “front nine.” 

Consider signing up your household for a fun, educational, family outing. Those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, under 18 need a signed release form by a parent. Meet at the clubhouse parking area (16721 96th Ave NE, Bothell, WA 98011). Please sign up. A confirmation email will be sent to you 2-3 days prior to the event.

Volunteer Event along the Sammamish River

Sign up here!

Endangered Southern Resident killer whales depend on salmon as a critical prey resource from watersheds in Puget Sound and beyond. Salmon use the Sammamish River as a migratory corridor. Improving the water quality in the river will help both struggling salmon populations and orcas. Join us to prepare a new planting site at the former Wayne Golf Course. Vegetation will help shade and cool and clean a small stream emptying into the Sammamish River. Healthy riparian forests control erosion of river banks and host insects young salmon need early in life. The former Wayne Golf Course features nearly a mile of shoreline and is the largest City of Bothell park. Activities will take place on the west side or “front nine.” 

Consider signing up your household for a fun, educational, family outing. Those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, under 18 need a signed release form by a parent. Meet at the clubhouse parking area (16721 96th Ave NE, Bothell, WA 98011). Please sign up. A confirmation email will be sent to you 2-3 days prior to the event.

Spring Volunteer Event

Sign up HERE

Endangered Southern Resident killer whales depend on salmon as a critical prey resource from watersheds in Puget Sound and beyond. Salmon use the Sammamish River as a migratory corridor. Improving the water quality in the river will help both struggling salmon populations and orcas. Join us to prepare a new planting site at the former Wayne Golf Course. Vegetation will help shade and cool and clean a small stream emptying into the Sammamish River. Healthy riparian forests control erosion of river banks and host insects young salmon need early in life. The former Wayne Golf Course features nearly a mile of shoreline and is the largest City of Bothell park. Activities will take place on the west side or “front nine.” 

Consider signing up your household for a fun, educational, family outing. Those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, under 18 need a signed release form by a parent. Meet at the clubhouse parking area (16721 96th Ave NE, Bothell, WA 98011). Please sign up. A confirmation email will be sent to you 2-3 days prior to the event.

Spring Volunteer Event

Sign up here

Endangered Southern Resident killer whales depend on salmon as a critical prey resource from watersheds in Puget Sound and beyond. Salmon use the Sammamish River as a migratory corridor. Improving the water quality in the river will help both struggling salmon populations and orcas. Join us to prepare a new planting site at the former Wayne Golf Course. Vegetation will help shade and cool and clean a small stream emptying into the Sammamish River. Healthy riparian forests control erosion of river banks and host insects young salmon need early in life. The former Wayne Golf Course features nearly a mile of shoreline and is the largest City of Bothell park. Activities will take place on the west side or “front nine.” 

Consider signing up your household for a fun, educational, family outing. Those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, under 18 need a signed release form by a parent. Meet at the clubhouse parking area (16721 96th Ave NE, Bothell, WA 98011). Please sign up. A confirmation email will be sent to you 2-3 days prior to the event.

Now Hiring Interns: Diverse Voices Student Leadership Program

Whale Scout, a nonprofit organization based in King County, Washington is looking for student interns for spring and summer sessions to assist with salmon habitat restoration and outreach and education 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 are 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, language 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, communication, community building, non-profit organizational management, and become certified water quality monitors (summer). It will offer those 16 and older field experience educating the public including diverse communities. The summer internship may also include opportunities to participate in a field trip to San Juan Island. No prior experience is required for either program. Students are invited to apply for spring and/or summer sessions separately. Compensation is $22.50/hr. 

Application Deadlines:

Spring session: March 13

Summer session: April 3

Description of Responsibilities

Spring session April 1 – June 23: 

Track A: 10hrs/wk

Monday 10 – 11am, Wednesday 2 – 4pm, Friday 8am – 11am. Includes some weekend days for community volunteer and special events.

Track B: 4hrs/wk

Wednesday 2 – 4pm. Includes some weekend days for community volunteer and special events.

Location: Former Wayne Golf Course in Bothell, Wa with some independent work from home and possible offsite locations.

Activities

Watering, weeding, and maintenance of newly planted native vegetation at restoration sites at the former Wayne Golf Course. Water quality monitoring, guiding the public in volunteering experiences, independent reading, learning, and discussions of emerging topics and research.

Summer session June 25 – August 31

Approximately 15hrs/week primarily on weekday mornings with some weekends and independent work from home and possible offsite locations and field trips.

Locations: Former Wayne Golf Course, Bothell, Bear Creek, Redmond, outreach sites throughout King County, possible offsite locations and field trips.

Activities: Watering, weeding, maintenance, and monitoring of newly planted native vegetation at restoration sites. Water quality monitoring training and certification. Outreach performing educational activities working with kids and families throughout King County. Leading volunteer work parties. Data entry for the PodMatch website and some administrative tasks. Independent reading, learning, research and group discussions.

Possible field trip to San Juan Island and other offsite locations.

Benefits

$22.50/hr compensation

This program offers an introduction to environmental restoration with field experience that can serve as a pathway for future careers. Gain real world experience learning how nonprofits and local governments partner to benefit the community. Network with other professionals in the field. Continue your education in discussion groups learning perspectives from peers. Gain experience leading and working with diverse communities. Become certified in water quality monitoring (summer) with broad applications in environmental fields. Upon successful completion of internship, we can provide letters of recommendation for future positions or educational advancement.

Commitment 

We ask that participants commit to the full length of the program with exceptions for scheduled vacations and sick days. 

Overall schedule can vary and include some weekends and evenings. During the summer, we make significant efforts to avoid the hottest times during the day for comfort which often requires mornings starting at 8am or earlier.

Skills and Qualifications 

With the majority of activities taking place in the field, applicants should be interested in spending time outdoors and feel comfortable hiking several miles outdoors in all weather conditions. Must have an open mind and willingness to explore other points of view. Interest in working with diverse communities in the outdoors and indoor settings. Proven initiative and ability to multitask, prioritize, use good judgment, problem solve, and work effectively both independently and as a team in a fast-paced environment. Demonstrated written and oral communication skills and detail-oriented organizational skills.

Must be at least 16 years old on first day of internship

Must provide transportation to sites across King County

Must successfully pass a criminal history background check

Must be legally able to work in the United States

Computer skills – use of Google products such as Google calendar, Google docs, Google sheets/excel and Zoom. Access to a computer/internet/email is particularly helpful

Be able to lift 40 lbs

Note: Housing not provided

We encourage people of all backgrounds and identities to apply, including Native American and people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQIA2S+, 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, please complete the application by the stated deadline above:

Spring 2024

Summer 2024

Program Support

This program is funded with support from: WRIA 8, King County Flood Control District, King County Wastewater Treatment Division, King County Parks and Forterra.

Sign up for our Bonus Planting Event!

Sign up here!

Endangered Southern Resident killer whales depend on salmon as a critical prey resource from watersheds in Puget Sound and beyond. Salmon use the Sammamish River as a migratory corridor. Improving the water quality in the river will help both struggling salmon populations and orcas. Come plant trees and shrubs near the Sammamish River! Vegetation will help shade and cool and clean a small stream emptying into the Sammamish River. Healthy riparian forests control erosion of riverbanks and host insects’ young salmon need early in life. The former Wayne Golf Course features nearly a mile of shoreline and is the largest City of Bothell Park.

No experience is necessary, and all ages are welcome! Bring your friends and family for a fun and educational day in the great outdoors. We’ll provide all the necessary planting materials and yummy snacks! Our activity will consist of planting native trees and shrubs.

Former Wayne Golf Course Riparian Restoration

May 2024

Spring at the Former Wayne Golf Course is starting to show itself in our newly planted site! From now till May 18th, we will have a storybook walk installed at the park! The story being featured is called; “Bea’s Bees” written by Kathrine Prior. The book highlights the beauty and importance of pollinators. Be sure to follow the path of the story walk and learn more about pollinators!

The Red-Flowering Currents are now producing its flowering and our conifers are growing well!

The Willow Stakes that we placed along the riverbanks are exploding with growth, growing tall and making leaves! Only a month or so ago they were just sticks in the ground! Check out our photos back in February to see what they first looked like!

Our Salmonberries are looking healthy and green along with the wildflowers that we planted throughout the mulch.

Last year around this time is when we worked to removed nearly 10-foot-tall mounds of Himalayan Blackberry bushes from that site that we have planted. While the Whale Scout team and volunteers removed the invasive plant, we uncovered a number of mature trees in the area. The photo above shows one of the trees we uncovered which now has a family of Dark-eyed Juncos living in! It has been beautiful to see how removing that invasive plant has allowed this animal to nest.

March 2024

Starting in Winter of 2023, four UW Bothell seniors joined us to complete their capstone projects focused on riparian zone restoration. These students focused on riparian restoration projects such as water quality monitoring, GIS vegetation monitoring, soil analysis, and the use of wildflowers in newly planted sites. Please visit the website they created which includes all their work and results. All of their work will be used for future planting sites and to better protect riparian zones and salmon spawning sites.

Now that spring is upon us, that means that planting season has ended. Planting season went from October of 2023 and came to an end in March 2024 with a final plant count of 275 trees and 1,472 shrubs! During our planting season we got to work with 712 volunteers (2,000 volunteer hours total) that came out to plant with us, we couldn’t have done it without them! We look forward to prepping new planting sites for the future, now along the Sammamish River!

February 2024

As 2024 rolled around, we continued our goal of planting as many shrubs and trees as possible before the end of the season! We continue towards this goal with already having planted over 1,000 plants thanks to the help of hundreds of volunteers and staff! Additionally, we have the help from four UW Bothell students who are working to complete their senior capstone projects through field research. Their work has provided us with knowledge about the parks soil composition, better planting practices, GIS mapping, and how native wildflowers can contribute to biodiversity.

Even more exciting news, we started planting on the riverbank! The goal of finally planting on the banks of the river has been a long-awaited dream and now we starting to see it unfold. Trees such as Sitka Spruce have now been planted along the bank along with Elderberry and Black Twinberry.

What are these?

You might have noticed a bunch of weird sticks that have been placed in the ground along the bank of the river. These are willow stakes! Willow stakes are simply branches of a willow tree that have been cultivated, propagated in water and can be used to plant. Placing them along the river help to deter beavers from taking our precious, newly planted coniferous trees. As time goes on these willow stakes will root and start to grow into individual willow trees (if the beavers don’t get to them first).

October 2023

Current Planting Area!

Begings of 2023 was the start of our new future riparian forest. Unlike the first location, this one was covered in nearly 10 foot tall Himalayan Blackberry bushes. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers and a wonderful group of spring/summer interns they were cleared. In the course of one year, we had 825 volunteers with a total of over 3,000 hours!

The prevent the blackberries from returning, we covered the ground with cardboard and placed inches of mulch. We also discovered a small stream of water which appears to be leading to the Sammamish River. Work is currently being done to test and measure the streams water quality.

Now that most of this patch of land is cleared of blackberry bushes it is time to plant! Starting in the fall of 2023, we have made progress planting this area and continuously removing invasive weeds upwards the Burke-Gilman trail. We look forward to getting the remaining sections planted so they are established by the spring of next year!

Would you like to help us achieve our goal?

The VOLUNTEER webpage details the roles, programs and benefits of volunteering with whale scout. For groups of five or more please email Whitney directly at Director@whalescout.org.

Community events will be announced on the Whale scout main page.

The Bothell volunteer webpage illuminates other volunteer opportunities and information. You can also contribute by Donating.

Why Riparian Restoration?  

 The goal of this project is to mimic the historic riparian forest buffer that was once growing along the Sammamish River of the past.  

Native trees and shrubs protect areas along the riverbanks by reducing erosion while improving soil structure with their root systems. They also help water quality by infiltrating the soil and replenishing groundwater sources. These sources cool the river in the summer to the benefit of salmon and all the rivers’ inhabitants.

 Trees and shrubs also create shade and thus reduce the temperature of the river. Salmon are very sensitive to temperature spikes and need cool water to stay healthy while moving upstream. Salmon also need our rivers and streams for spawning and rearing, as they eventually make their way into the Puget Sound.

Our Southern Resident orcas are endangered, and their main food source is Chinook salmon. 80% of their diet is Chinook salmon. Yet even salmon populations are diminishing. Populations have decreased tremendously starting back in the 1800s due to logging, farming, dams etc. Salmon numbers aren’t the only things that have decreased; they can grow up to 130lbs, they now average about 30lbs. To help their orca populations, increasing their access to food is essential. The whales and salmon need our help to reduce the impacts of human development that are endangering them.

Planting area:

 This first restoration site was planted in the fall of 2022 and winter of 2023 with the funding contributions from the Trammell Crow Company and support from Bothell Parks and Recreation.

 Several groups including students from the Sky Valley Education Center, Heartwood Nature Programs, and Pack 594 assisted with restoring the site. Public volunteers helped at the site for Arbor Day, Orca Recovery Day, and MLK day. Fencing around conifers is utilized to protect the trees from our wonderfully persistent beaver and deer populations.

Ongoing research projects by undergraduate research students from the University of Washington Bothell are also featured at the site.

Approximately 800 plants will be installed in the 14,500 square foot area. Future plantings are slated for other areas throughout the park.

Current Research:

During the summer months, measurements were being done one the trees and shrubs in the planted area to capture how well they are doing and how well they are growing. Measurements include the height and width of the plants to establish tree canopy along with their estimated health. Data is collected throughout the months and once collected they are processed through data analysis. This data will help us understand why these plants are doing well and inform us what plants to plant in future locations.