Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Field Season 2009 Begins...

I headed up to San Juan yesterday, May 11th, to begin Killer Whale Tales 9th field season. I am back working with Soundwatch and the regions researchers, learning all I can and updating the classroom program for the coming school year.

I have a good feeling about the summer, especially since J pod and J27 in particular woke me up! The weather is flawless, contrary to what was predicted, and the wildlife has been abundant: eagles, sparrows, swallows, deer... orca... you name it, we got it!

Talk more soon!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Navy using sonar in Haro Strait on April 7th, 2009

Just got word that a Navy submarine was using it's mid frequency sonar off the west side of San Juan Island last night. Click on the file above to listen to the compilation by our friend John Boyd.

As a side note, the commenting period for the rule making allowing the Navy to use this potentially harmful technology, in the waters designated as critical habitat for the regions killer whales, (not to mention every other organism) is still open. You can visit the other website listed below and let them hear your thoughts.


Or call the Navy representative Sheila Murray, Navy Region Northwest environmental public affairs officer, at (360) 340-5398.

Let the navy hear from you, as the whales are definitely hearing from them!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Killer Whale Tales Featured on NPR/KUOW

Irene Noguchi, a reporter for KUOW's Weekday program, produced an excellent story about Killer Whale Tales. It really captures what we do and how we do it.

Take a listen by pasting this link in your browser:

(Our part starts at about 40 minutes into this excellent program on saving Puget Sound.)

L Pod in South Sound on 2/20/2009

Our Executive Director and founder, Jeff Hogan, got the privilege again to participate on the "fecal" follow" boat with our friends from NOAA Fisheries. They met up with the members of L Pod, at the Kingston Ferry terminal and stayed with them for nearly three hours as the whales moved northwards. The scientists were trying to collect fecal samples, (yes..poop!) as well as samples left over from predation events.

The scat samples will allow the scientists to measure many things, including hormonal levels in the individual whales, which can indicate many systemic problems in the individual whales, like stress. Check out this link to find out more:

The prey samples collected will help to narrow down what these animals are eating throughout the year and most importantly where those fish come from. Right now it looks like mostly salmon and mostly Chinook or King at that. The DNA recovered in the sample can also identify exactly which stream those salmon come from and can help to steer recovery of those specific runs. Check out this link for more info:

It was a beautiful day to boot!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

L57 Missing...

Yesterday our program partners, The Center for Whale Research, announced that L57/Faith was missing. While this was not surprising news, as many of us noticed he was missing in the fall, the quasi-official news was disheartening. However, the bad news was balanced with the appearance of two new calves .

Read more by following this link:

Friday, June 20, 2008

KWTales Starts Our 2008 Field Season

KWTales began the annual updating of our program today with a visit from members of J and L pods at Lime Kiln State Park on San Juan Island. The whales hooked up with us at 6:21 am and swam within 20 yards of the beach. We got a good look at both J19 and her calf calf J41 as well as a good shot at J36 breaching. We will be incorporating the new photographs we captured today and some video as well into our in-class program.

It was an excellent way to kick off our field season! Check back daily for new posts...

Friday, June 13, 2008

The school year ends...we reach our 20,000 student!

Killer Whale Tales kicked off our celebration of Orca Month by working with our 20,000th student today. We were so tickled that it coincided with the beginning of the month, and that it happened at Gig Harbor Elementary, right up the street from one of our largest contributors, the Russell Family Foundation.

It has been a great year for us and the program is continuing to grow beyond the state, in fact we are headed for Texas, to get those kids dialed in to making a difference for our northwest whales.

We currently have funding to offer our program to all interested schools willing to complete our Kids Making a Difference Now! homework activity. This simple assignment asks students to go home and examine their ecological footprint and to change some of their habits to protect the whales and the salmon the desperately need. It's an easy task and a great way to get 2-6 hours of programming into their schools at no cost.

Anyway... thanks to everyone, from our individual donors to NOAA Fisheries and the Norcliffe Foundation, who continue to bank on the future generation handling things a bit better than those who came before them.

Thanks and happy Orca Month!