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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: May 08, 2023

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,” said 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,” said Hogan.

Since 2004, KWT has reached over 124,300 school-age kids throughout Washington, California and Alaska. They have worked in 3,618 classrooms across 907 schools.

Local museums and aquariums also offer learning opportunities. The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, focuses exclusively on the whales of the Salish Sea, including the beloved local orcas. Their education programs and tours foster a love for whales starting at a young age. 

The Whale Museum also offers the opportunity for individuals, families or classrooms to symbolically adopt an orca. At the individual level you receive a picture of and information about “your” whale, a monthly orca update, an “Orca Steward” patch and a one year membership to the museum. Throw in a whale stuffy, and you’ve got the perfect birthday gift (speaking from experience)!

The Seattle Aquarium features orca information alongside a broader message about the conservation of marine life in Puget Sound waters. A newly opened virtual reality experience called Swim With Humpback Whales allows aquarium visitors to go on an immersive adventure that really feels like they are swimming alongside whales. 

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

Next: Take a trip to whale country

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