Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you are enjoying a restful, restorative and peaceful holiday season.

Deepest thanks to everyone who made a year-end donation to The Whale Trail. Your support has has brought 2018 to a wonderful close, and gotten the new year off to a good start!

With your help, we’ll continue to speak up for the southern resident orcas on the Governor’s Task Force. I’ll keep pushing for bold actions that will make a difference for the whales in the near term, including the suspension of whale-watching on this endangered population for three years. Reducing vessel noise and disturbance is the most effective thing we can do to make it easier for the whales to find food now. With three pregnant females in the population – one each in J, K and L pods – there is even more urgency to act and no time to wait.

K Pod in Puget Sound, photo by Kersti Muul

In 2019 we’ll add new sites from California to British Columbia, connecting the west coast for the whales. Last year we added 11 new signs along the beautiful northern California coast. Thanks to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation for the Hollings Award that made it possible, and to our community partners from Monterey to Fort Bragg. I can’t wait to see the signs in place!

Rockaway Beach, Pacifica

Last year we also added our first sign on the Oregon Coast! Thanks to Joy Primrose and the American Cetacean Society, Oregon Chapter, for co-sponsoring the sign and hosting sign dedication with Bruce Mate, Jim Sumis, and a passing parade of resident gray whales – in August!

Gray Whale, photo by Era Horton

Since founding The Whale Trail in 2008 I have worn a lot of hats. Our organizational goal in 2019 is to build resiliency and capacity for the decade ahead. That means bringing more people on board and handing off a lot of hats. I can’t wait!

One thing I’ve learned in 3+ decades of working for the whales: like the orcas, we are stronger together, and we can’t do this alone.

  • Thanks to our partners up and down the coast who share our vision and commitment to ocean conservation. Special thanks to National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, NOAA Fisheries and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for funding our projects this year.
  • Thanks to the BC Cetacean Sighting Network – Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard and Jessica Torode for leading the way on The Whale Trail in British Columbia. Together we are creating a powerful piece of common ground, connecting communities not just to the whales but to each other.
  • Whale-sized thanks to our community partners, members, scientific advisors and especially our team of incredible volunteers. Your faith and support keep me and The Whale Trail going.
  • Special thanks this year to Casey McSpadden, Jamie Shairrick, Faye Kennedy and Melissa Ransdell for their help in launching our new website. It’s a whole new world! Thanks to Karen Sinclair for early work on the new site,  and to NOAA Fisheries and the Lucky Seven Foundation for the grants that made it possible.

There are plenty of challenges ahead, for whales and dolphins the world over, and especially for the southern resident orcas. Because of Springer, I know what miracles can happen when we work together for the whales. Together we will get this done!

Wishing you a warm and wonderful new year.  See you on The Whale Trail!

Welcoming the Orcas