Along with direct action to save endangered orcas, education is key. A West Seattle resident who specializes in that – as well as research – has just been honored with a statewide award. Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales has received the Outreach Award from the Washington chapter of The Wildlife Society. From the organization’s announcement, prepared for an upcoming edition of its newsletter:
Since 2000, Jeff Hogan has dedicated himself to Killer Whale Tales. Jeff had an idea that would pull together his Orca research experience with theatrical storytelling, science, and childhood education. His decision to put everything on the line to start a nonprofit is indicative of just how committed he is to ensure that the next generation understands the way consumer behaviors impact the environment, and also that science is cool!
For the first 10 years of the program’s existence, Jeff ran the program, creating and updating the program materials, delivering the program, fundraising, analyzing data, accounting, marketing, and scheduling almost entirely by himself. More recently, as the program has evolved to include more-robust data reporting and communications, Jeff has been able to rely on board members to help with some of the back-end functions, but the program materials, delivery, relationship building with teachers / researchers / major funders / other similar organizations still falls mainly on Jeff’s shoulders.
He has brought engaging environmental education to 125,000 elementary school students throughout the West Coast and Canada, and over 60,000 students have completed and returned “Kids Making a Difference Now” conservation worksheets, meaning they have taken action at home to reduce their family’s environmental footprint and help the whales. Jeff has continuously been the driving force in this nonprofit and has sacrificed personally to keep it going.
Jeff has some kind of a magical presence that inspires everyone he meets to take interest in the Southern Resident killer whales, science, and/or the environment. It is truly a remarkable talent that very few others possess. Killer Whale Tales have now converted over to online learning due to the pandemic and as odd as it may sound, it has opened up a whole new set of opportunities. Jeff is now working with children and families across the globe – from India, to the UK, and up and down the eastern seaboard of the U.S., he has “pods” of young future scientists sprouting up all across the planet!
Jeff also is a researcher. He co-authored recently published research showing that vessel noise interrupts Southern Resident Killer Whales’ feeding, especially females. Vessel noise is a major focus for advocates trying to increase the chances of saving the endangered orcas from extinction.
P.S. Killer Whale Tales is a nonprofit; here’s how to support its work.