Do-it-yourself walk-a-thon for the whales. Join Ariel Yseth’s Summer Salmon Run!

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!

Orca Conservation Kits Delivered to Your Door!

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.

What’s in the kit? Native plant choices – Indian Plum, Red Flowering Currant, and Douglas Fir. Click the links above to learn more about each plant.

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.

1. Please thoughtfully consider which plants will be the right fit for your garden or yard. King County has a helpful Native Plant Guide for Western Washington Yards.

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. whitney@whalescout.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

Internship Opportunities for Summer 2020

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. 

Benefits

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

Continuing educational opportunities 

Networking opportunities 

Experience working with diverse communities

Experience with salmon habitat restoration 

Upon successful completion of internship a letter of recommendation for future positions

Desired start date 

June 15th, 2020

Timeline

Applications due: June 8th

Interviews: June 11th and 12th via ZOOM

Internship June 15 – September 4th 2020

Commitment 

Commitment 20 hours per week (approx). 

Schedule will vary and include some weekends

Skills and Qualifications 

Computer skills – use of Google products such as Google calendar, Google docs, Google sheets 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 teaching some teaching materials at 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.

Apply by June 8th, 2020 For questions, please email Director@whalescout.org

This project is funded in part by the King County Wastewater Treatment Division. Funding also provided by the Seattle Aquarium’s Youth Ocean Advocates

A Group Sues the Government Over Alaskan Fisheries Impacting Endangered Orcas

The Wild Fish Conservancy’s Kurt Beardslee and Wild Orca’s Deborah Giles join the podcast to discuss salmon fisheries in Southeast Alaska. Wild Fish Conservancy has worked to halt the fishery in court to protect endangered Southern Resident killer whales and salmon populations. Deborah Giles breaks down how important these fish are to killer whales often sighted in Washington State. Learn more about the issues at www.wildfishconservancy.org and www.wildorca.org

Check out our YouTube channel for the video podcast here!

Dr. Holly Fearnbach – studying body condition of whales using overhead photos

Some of the most insightful and vital new scientific research is also the least invasive. Researchers such as Dr. Holly Fearnbach are able to use advancing drone technologies to take photos of whales and measure their health over time. Learn more from SR3 on their blog including a recent encounter with J pod in March 2020, where they reported the whales looked to be in “decent condition.” Learn more about the local Puget Sound Gray whales, which are also being studied from Cascadia Research Collective in their recent report. Gray whales in the Pacific have been suffering from an “unusual mortality event” in recent years, hear Dr. Holly Fearnbach’s thoughts on what might be happening.

More fish for everyone, Columbia Basin salmon, dams, and orcas. Joseph Bogaard and commercial fisherman Amy Grondin explain.

Amy Grondin and Joseph Bogaard

After decades of litigation, the Columbia and Snake River dams are once again under federal analysis. These salmon were once an enormous contributor of salmon for people, orcas, and wildlife. Their bodies contributed nutrients to marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Now, the Columbia Basin is home to endangered or even extinct runs of salmon. Executive Director of Save our Wild Salmon Coalition, Joseph Bogaard and commercial fisherman Amy Grondin discuss the shared value of salmon, politics, and current opportunities to comment and engage on this issue.

The deadline to comment on the new Draft Environmental Impact Statement is April 13th. For more information from the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, visit this website.

Action Alert! Tell agencies the whales and salmon do not need harmful dams in Washington State.

While we’re home staying safe there are not one but TWO opportunities to tell our leaders that dams and salmon do not mix. Endangered Southern Resident killer whales need these fish to live, reproduce, and thrive once again. The two comment periods focus on the Columbia/Snake River system dam operations and a proposal for a NEW dam on the Chehalis River. Your BOLD team breaks down the thousands of pages of both of these Draft Environmental Impact Statements to help you understand what’s at stake and how make effective comments.

Read the simple, easy to digest document here.

Deadlines!

Columbia/Snake River comments due April 13

Chehalis River project comments due May 27

A new dam on the Chehalis River in Washington? Cindy Hansen and Lee First explain what’s at stake.

Photo: Chehalis headwaters that would be inundated, Lee First.

Flooding on the Chehalis River prompted a proposal to build a new dam on one of the most pristine rivers in Washington State. As of today, salmon in this river are doing relatively well and Southern Resident killer whales depend on them. Learn more from Lee First of Twin Harbors Waterkeeper and Cindy Hansen of Orca Network. Together both these experts work together with partners on the Chehalis River Alliance. Learn more about this proposed project in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and comment by May 27th, 2020. Want a summary of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and tips for commenting? Check out this BOLD guide. Watch a documentary film, Chehalis: A Watershed Moment, about the Chehalis River and proposed project to learn more.

Rich Riels Describes How “Line-less” Fishing Gear can Save Whales

Ropes from fishing gear entangle many species of whales every year. If these lines don’t kill the animal, detrimental injuries often reduce their fitness and ability to forage. The group SMELTS has developed a unique piece of gear utilizing technology for fishermen to call up their gear on demand using a “lift bag” or essentially a powerful balloon to bring the traps to the surface. Learn more.

Coextinction – the film

Gloria Pancrazi, one of the creators of the upcoming film, Coextinction, joins us to talk about Southern Resident killer whales and their close relationship with imperiled salmon runs. Plus, learn more about the upcoming “March for the Dams,” a walk from Portland to the first of the four lower Snake River Dams. *Note, the federal Environmental Impact Statement relating to the Snake River dams has been released February 28th, 2020 and you can find more information here.