A first-time feature at last weekend’s West Seattle Summer Fest was The Whale Trail‘s scavenger hunt and presentations to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the rescue of Springer the orca. We asked Whale Trail executive director Donna Sandstrom how the weekend of “orca sightings in The Junction” went:
Celebrate Springer at Summer Fest was a big success! Kids loved looking for the orcas, and merchants loved hosting them. The West Seattle Junction Association handed out more than 500 maps. Kids had to work hard to find some of the orcas!
About 70 people attended the Springer presentations, where the prizes were handed out. Everyone who participated got a Springer card and a marine mammal sighting chart, that will help them spot whales in the wild. Six grand-prize winners also received a copy of Orca Rescue! and an orca plushie.
Big thanks to the West Seattle Junction Association, the Senior Center of West Seattle, Husky Deli, participating merchants, and especially our volunteers, who made it all possible.
She says this was a first for The Whale Trail and they’d like to try it again, “maybe when we Welcome the Orcas in the Fall. In the meantime we are heading up to British Columbia this weekend to celebrate Springer with her team. We are hoping the guest of honor makes an appearance too!” She adds that you can “watch northern resident orcas – sometimes including Springer and her calves – at explore.org/orcalab. You can eavesdrop as they swim through Blackfish Sound, or watch as they visit the rubbing beaches in Johnstone Strait. The A54 pod is at the rubbing beaches now!” She was joined at the Summer Fest presentations by “members of Springer’s team, including Mark Sears, the local researcher who first spotted her; Joe Olson, who took the first hydrophone recordings of her calls; Dr. Dave Bain, who recognized the calls that helped identify her; and Lynne Barre, NOAA’s Branch Chief, who came to the northwest originally to help with Springer and now leads recovery efforts for the endangered southern residents. The audience was especially excited to see one of Springer’s sticks! Mark brought one of the small logs that was used to bring her close to the boat for early monitoring and assessments.”