12:42 PM: While that was the message displayed alongside Mike the inflatable orca outside the Alki Bathhouse, steps away, “Welcome the Orcas” attendees got to put it into action:
The orcas that we mentioned earlier were in sight in the distance. Indoors, you can learn about them – and kids’ activities include ornament-making and face-painting:
ADDED 2:07 PM: A few more scenes from our visit to the celebration. Above, Whale Trail founder/executive director Donna Sandstrom with orca-costumed volunteers. Below, one of the orca-photo signs from the mini-parade:
Inside the bathhouse, all-ages environmental education:
Another of the partner organizations, SR3:
The timing of the celebration is based on the fact that the Southern Resident orcas usually return to Puget Sound in fall to chase salmon runs – the food on which they rely. The endangered whales have been in a brighter spotlight this fall after a task force appointed by the governor – with Sandstrom among its members – released a report with recommendations on how to save them from going extinct.