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Troubled waters: Orca Month celebrates whales past and future

For Immediate Release

SEATTLE (May 17, 2017) – June marks the 11th annual Orca Awareness Month in Washington state and second annual in Oregon and British Columbia. Members of the Orca Salmon Alliance (OSA) are hosting events throughout the month to educate the public about the Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) population and the challenges they face, including reduced Chinook salmon numbers, pollutants in the water, higher risk for oil spills, and increased boat noise from shipping traffic.

A kick-off celebration for Orca Month will be held on June 4, 2017.

Event: 2017 Orca Month Kick-Off Celebration

When: Sunday, June 4, 2017 from 2:00-5:00 pm PT

Where: Golden Gardens Bathhouse, 8498 Seaview Pl, Seattle, Wash.

What: A family-friendly event with arts-and-crafts (bring an old t-shirt and repurpose it into an Orca Month 2017 tote bag), face painting, storytelling and orca-themed activities. There will also be a memorial for the leader of the SRKWs, Granny J2, and six other members of the orca community who passed away in 2016, leaving the highly endangered Southern Resident orca population teetering on the brink of extinction at just 78 individuals.

Who: Speakers will include: Ralph Munro, former WA Secretary of State (invited); Brenda Peterson, teacher and author of the upcoming "Wild Orca: The Oldest, Wisest Whale In The World"; Dave Neiwert, author of "Of Orcas And Men"; Dr. Deborah Giles, Research Director/Project Manager at the Center for Whale Research; Paul Cheoketen Wagner, Native American storyteller and award winning flute player; Sondra Simone Segundo, singer and author of "Killer Whale Eyes". Event emcee will be author and former KING 5 meteorologist, Jeff Renner. There will be a special welcome to the Duwamish homeland by Ken Workman, the great, great, great, great grandson of Chief Seattle. Music will be provided by tribal musicians.

Why: Orca Network – an orca conservation organization – started Orca Month in 2006 to bring together researchers, advocates, and orca lovers everywhere to raise awareness of the threats facing these magnificent animals and provide a community to celebrate the orcas of the Salish Sea.

Visit our website at to find out more about this and future Orca Month events.

Orca Salmon Alliance works to highlight the connection between two endangered species that need help: Southern Resident Killer Whales and Chinook Salmon. OSA works together to support member organization collaboration and to develop OSA-wide initiatives. Our primary objective is to prevent the extinction of the SRKWs by recovering the wild Chinook populations upon which the whales depend for survival. Member organizations of OSA include: The Center for Whale Research, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Endangered Species Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana, Orca Network, Puget Sound Partnership, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Save our Wild Salmon, Seattle Aquarium, Sierra Club, Washington Environmental Council, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and Whale Scout.


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.