Tacoma, WASHINGTON (September 22, 2021) -- After so many have looked to nature for space and renewal these past 18 months, three junior Orcas swimming the Puget Sound offer hesitant hope. However, like many before them, their future depends on healthy habitat, a sustained food source of salmon, and community care and stewardship of our watersheds where their food source comes from. With this, over 45 organizations across the Pacific Northwest are coming together to ensure restoration continues hosting Covid-safe outdoor activities enabling people to take action, connect residents to the land and waters they borrow, and foster a stewardship ethic to espouse far beyond 1 day a year. In-person and virtual volunteer events are planned throughout the region for Orca Recovery Day on October 16th.
What: 50+ events across Washington, reaching to British Columbia, Oregon, Eastern Washington and Northern California. Connecting people to the recovery effort for the critically endangered Southern Resident orca whales. Led by Conservation Districts in Puget Sound, and joined by dozens of organizations (non-profits, Tribes, and local and state agencies). Orca Recovery Day will engage thousands of people in actions that are specific to our local Puget Sound Region and targeted towards salmon and orcas. It is our collective environmental impact that has led to this crisis but our collective impact -- the actions we take in our own homes, neighborhoods, and communities -- is critical to recovery as well. That is what Orca Recovery Day is all about.
Why: The Southern Resident orca whales that range from the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound) to Northern California are critically endangered, with only 75 left in the wild1 according to NOAA. Recovery for the Southern Resident Orcas will take a coordinated and ongoing effort by all who reside in watersheds that provide habitat for the orca's primary food source: Chinook salmon, which are also endangered. Providing clean waterways that support fish health and overall improved water quality will benefit more than just the Southern Resident Orcas; doing so supports the species and honors their significance to many Salish Sea Tribes and maintains healthy habitat and water quality for all life we value in the Pacific Northwest.
1 Killer Whale | NOAA Fisheries
Generous sponsors have already stepped forward to support Orca Recovery Day events including, but not limited to: Puget Sound Partnership, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Washington State Conservation Commission, Port of Seattle, ESA Consulting, Herrera Consulting, and Cascadia Consulting.
When: Orca Recovery Day: Saturday, October 16, 2021. Times vary by event and may occur in days leading up to October 16th.
Where: 50+ events across the Pacific Northwest. Individual event details can be found at https://betterground.org/in-your-community/events/ord where people and organizations can sign up to participate in events near them.
Who: All events are family-friendly and designed for anyone to volunteer in their local community. State and county COVID-19 safety protocols are in place at all events. Event details and volunteer registration can be found in September at https://betterground.org/in-your-community/events/ord People who are unable to volunteer may consider a donation to support tree planting reimbursements at www.PromiseThePod.org.
Interview Opportunities:
? Allan Warren, Communications & Development Director, Pierce Conservation District.
? We can assist your organization in identifying a local subject matter expert or specific event partner to speak on record with you. For more information, contact Kelly McCaffrey at 206-947-3461 or bettergroundpugetsound@gmail.com to arrange details to support your reporting.
There will be opportunities for video and photography of active volunteer activities in natural areas on October 16, 2021. Please contact Kelly McCaffrey at bettergroundpugetsound@gmail.com to learn your preference on location and arrange details to support your reporting.
For More Information: Visit BetterGround.org/ORD to find more detailed information on Orca Recovery Day activities, a detailed map of projects affecting Southern Resident orca whales, and examples of things everyone can do to support recovery efforts.