May Updates


Thanks to everyone who Gave Big to The Whale Trail! Technical difficulties at the donation site made the process more challenging for everyone this year.  Despite the system slowdowns, our donors gave more than $2,000, which will be stretched further by the Seattle Foundation. Big, whale-sized thanks from everyone at The Whale Trail! Your gifts came at a critical time for us, and will help us take the next steps forward on The Whale Trail. (If you missed the Give Big campaign, you can still Give anytime!)

Harbor Wild Watch Presentation. Thanks to Harbor Wild Watch for inviting me to give a presentation to their Stewardship Club at the Hub in Gig Harbor. I talked about orcas, Springer, and The Whale Trail – always a good story to tell! My favorite part of any talk are the questions that come at the end—always thoughtful and wide-ranging. I came away heartened and inspired by this engaged, passionate audience and their concern for the orcas. If that concern gets turned into stewardship actions, the SRKW have a fighting chance!

Whale Trail BC. The first five signs in British Columbia have been installed. The Whale Trail is now marked in BC from Victoria and West Vancouver to Pender Island, Uclulet and Telegraph Cove. We’re hoping to celebrate the sign installations in June. Stay tuned! And thanks to everyone who made these signs happen – BC Cetacean Sighting Network for spearheading design, manufacturing and funding; local teams; Vancouver Aquarium graphic design team for the beautiful art, and  Mountain Equipment Coop for making it all possible by funding the signs!

Whale Trail California. The art for four new signs in San Luis Obispo County is almost final! We’re hoping they’re installed by mid-summer. Thanks to Stewardship Partners/Highway One Discovery Route and all the local sponsors and teams! 

In Oregon, we’re participating in a signage project spearheaded by the Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership. The first signs on the southern coast have been installed, and the signs for the central coast are well underway!

Looking ahead…join us at the Orca Month Kickoff at the Alki Bathhouse on June 5, 2 PM to 5 PM, and at the West Seattle Summer Fest on July 11. Other than that we will be hunkered down, working on our new website and writing grant applications. We’ll start up the Orca Talk series again in the fall. Ideas for speakers, people you’d like to see? Send ’em my way –

Till then…this is the perfect time of year to get out and see some whales, whether orcas in Active Pass, gray whales in Uclulet or humpbacks in Monterey Bay. We hope the information on this site will lead you to them. See you on The Whale Trail!

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Donna's Bio

Donna Sandstrom has been interested in orcas since 1982, when she moved to Seattle. She saw her first orca from the deck of the Gikumi in Johnstone Strait in 1985.

Over the next years she produced events like OrcaFest 1995, and a symposium "Lolita Come Home" in 1996. She is expert at bringing diverse people together to achieve a common goal, a skill honed during her 14 years in software development at Adobe Systems.

In 2002, Donna was part of the effort to return Springer, an orphaned orca, to her pod and native waters on the north end of Vancouver Island. The project is the only successful orca rehabilitation in history. In July 2013, Springer was seen with her first calf!

Inspired by Springer's success, and alarmed at the plight of the southern resident orcas, Donna started The Whale Trail in 2008. Contact her at 206.919.5397

The Whale Trail is a nonprofit organization in partnership with
Partners NOAA Seattle Aquarium People for Puget Sound Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife The Whale Museum National Marine Sanctuaries