The Whale Trail Needs You!

The Whale Trail in Action!

A few weeks ago, the southern resident orcas returned to central Puget Sound for the first time this season. Hundreds of people gathered along the shore to watch them go by. For the first time, we got to see people reading Whale Trail signs, while whales passed by in front of them! 

What started as a simple idea is now a dream coming true. The Whale Trail is reaching, teaching and connecting people to orcas and their environment all around the northwest. 

  • Building Awareness. Through our current signs alone The Whale Trail is reaching over 30 million people each year! You may have seen our signs on a Washington State ferry, or at places like Alki Beach or the Sekiu Overlook.
  • Awareness to Action. With the help of dozens of volunteers, we’ve trained Orca Stewards in West Seattle, piloted Whale Trail shuttles on San Juan Island, and played Orca Bingo with hundreds of middle-schoolers!
  • Connecting Communities. The Whale Trail is connecting us not just to the whales, but to each other. Together, we are creating a powerful piece of common ground – a new way to work together for the whales, and a new focus for eco-tourism.

For a young organization, we’ve accomplished a lot. But we are just getting started, and there’s a lot more to do. The tide hasn’t turned for the orcas yet, and their fate is in our hands. If the current population trends continue or worsen, J, K and L pods could go extinct in as few as 100 years.

In 2007, I left a career in software to focus full-time on the whales. It is as unthinkable to me as it is to you that these pods could go extinct on our watch. I have dedicated my life to making sure that doesn’t happen.

But I need your help. I don’t want to stop, or even slow down – but need your help to move forward.

Our goal is to raise $30,000 by December 31st. Will you help us get there?

Donate $3, $30, or $300 today – or whatever you can afford. With your support, we will:

  • Add at least one Whale Trail site in every coastal county in Washington State
  • Extend The Whale Trail to British Columbia, throughout the orcas’ range.
  • Train Orca Stewards around the state
  • Launch a web-based stewardship campaign
  • Host events like OrcaFest and Welcome the Orcas, that bring people together to learn about the whales.

I know that this is one of many requests you’ll get this time of year. But if you only give to one project – this is the one! Make your donation dollars count, and know that you are making a big difference for The Whale Trail, and the whales. 

Contribute what you can to The Whale Trail today, and play a role in the orcas’ recovery. Help us ensure that these iconic and beloved pods survive, and thrive, for generations to come.  Together, we will turn the tide for the whales

Donate online, or send a check today to: 
The Whale Trail
7119 Woodside Pl SW
Seattle WA 98136-2069.

The Whale Trail is recognized as a 501(c)3 organization by the Internal Revenue Service. Your donation is fully tax-deductible as provided by law. 

Thank you from the bottom of my orca-loving heart,


Donna Sandstrom
Executive Director, The Whale Trail

P.S. Watch for new Whale Trail signs at Kalaloch Lodge in Olympic National Park, at Snow Creek along Highway 112, and at the Olympic Coast Discovery Center in Port Angeles! 

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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