Orca Action Month is an annual time to gather the human community of the Pacific Northwest around the endangered Southern Resident orca population, sharing their story and taking action to support their recovery. June is always a busy month for me. Normally, it’s filled with traveling to festivals with our partners in Seattle, joining groups here in Oregon for hands-on beach cleanups and habitat restoration events, giving community talks about the Southern Residents, and coordinating and hosting other in-person events like film screenings and World Oceans Month celebrations.
Because we couldn’t gather in person this year, WDC and our partners took Orca Action Month 2020 online. Virtual Orca Action Month made me both excited and nervous - I was nervous because the technical needs for online events are well outside my comfort zone, but excited to more widely share news and information with people outside the Pacific Northwest who know and love this special community of orcas. Even though everything was online, I was surprisingly still just as busy with webinars, story time, a virtual beach clean-up, weekly Whale Craft Wednesdays turning upcycled household items into fun orca crafts, Orca Happy Hour chats with sustainable breweries, Orca Trivia night (congrats to our winning teams!) and a virtual watch party for the ground-breaking documentary Blackfish. If you missed joining us live, most videos are available on our Facebook page.
The best part about going online is that it really highlighted what Orca Action Month is all about – coming together to take action to ensure the future of the Southern Resident orcas. No matter where you live, you can have a positive impact! Your actions can improve the health of our oceans and our planet, which helps Southern Resident orcas, the salmon they rely on, and their home here in the Pacific Northwest. Reducing your plastic use, driving less to fight climate change, and using natural and biodegradable household products are all positive changes that have a global impact. For inspiration and guidance, we put together “30 Days of Action for Orcas” to give you 30 ideas of things you can do to help orcas. Everyone can take action for orcas and be an Orca Hero!
One of the most impactful things you can do for orcas and salmon can be done right from your home: getting in touch with your Members of Congress. Recovery actions always need support and funding from elected officials, and they need to hear from YOU that actions like funding for salmon habitat, river restoration, and green infrastructure are important to you, and that you want them to show some orca love to the Southern Residents and their ocean home.
I have loved seeing all the actions and beautiful artwork inspired by this year’s Orca Month, and while June may be over, the celebration and work to protect this unique community of orcas continues year-round. Perhaps as a reminder, the Southern Residents made their first significant return to their historic summer home on July 1st – a little late for Orca Month, but a great way to signify that our work doesn’t end on June 30th! Any action, taken any time of the year, can help these orcas throughout their range.
So a huge THANK YOU to everyone in our Pacific Northwest and extended whamily (or pod) for joining us for our first Virtual Orca Action Month and for your ongoing support and devotion to the Southern Resident orcas. We encourage you to keep the actions going, and keep showing us how you’re helping orcas and the ocean, and keep following WDC for more ways to get involved.