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What Puget Sound Families Can Do to Help Our Local Orcas

Essential tips and resources to help the wildlife in Puget Sound

Bryony Angell

Published on: November 02, 2020

What Puget Sound Families Can Do to Help Our Local Orcas

Two orca whales swimming through the Straight of Juan de Fuca, between Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula

Educate yourselves

Killer Whale Tales (KWT) is a classroom education program for school-age kids dedicated to local orca whale conservation. Founded in 2000 by middle-school science teacher Jeff Hogan, the organization draws on conservation talent from different fields, united by a desire to educate children about the Salish Sea and create positive change for the endangered southern resident killer whales.

“This generation of kids might be the one to really change things,” says Hogan. “With a program like this, kids can go home and keep the torch lit, empowered by actionable information to engage their families.” KWT provides kids with tip sheets and at-home conservation ideas to make their home orca-friendly, no matter where in the region they live. “Kids in Spokane are shocked that their decisions impact the whales in Puget Sound,” notes Hogan.

Since its inception, KWT has reached over 160,000 school-age kids throughout Washington, California and Alaska. Formerly an in-school program, KWT’s resources are now entirely virtual.

Local museums and aquariums also offer learning opportunities, albeit under modified pandemic conditions. The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, focuses exclusively on the whales of the Salish Sea, including the beloved local orcas. Their displays and programs foster a love for whales starting at a young age. According to Tracie Merrill, the museum’s education curator, the museum hosts over 70 school groups in a given year, holds “pod nod” sleepover nights for kids ages 6 to 11, and invites kids 16 and older into its docent program. Though these programs are currently on hold, kids can still symbolically adopt an orca.

The Seattle Aquarium features orca information alongside a broader message about the conservation of marine life in Puget Sound waters.

Resources about our orcas by local writer Lynda Mapes of The Seattle Times and Amanda Abler’s book “The Spirit of Springer” (with illustrations by Levi Hastings) will further instruct and inform your family’s whale advocacy.

Take a trip to whale country ►

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