Day 1: Marine Naturalist Training Program

After driving 1600 miles and meandering around the Salish Sea for six weeks, we finally claimed our reserved dock spot in Friday Harbor, Washington, where the MNTP is held twice yearly. Would this class be worth the $1000 fee I paid to attend? And would it be worth my time considering my chances of relocating to the Northwest seemed slim and slimmer due to my house in Arizona not selling?

Day 1: Today’s session was “classroom lecture” oriented. After not having sat all day listening to lectures for many years I was glad I was not a student again. The program has two days of lecture and then three days of field trips.

Today I found the talk on the Chinook fish hatchery located on Orcas Island very informative. These are NOT farmed fish filled with chemicals and antibiotics. The spawn actually go to sea for 3 to 4 years and then return.

Also, Joe Gaydos, a veterinarian who belongs to the SeaDoc Society, gave an excellent, entertaining account of Mustelids of the Salish Sea (river otters and sea otters). Joe is also involved with organizing and starting a Southern Killer Whale Health Profile Project.

Jenny Atkinson gave a nice presentation on the Southern Resident pod’s biology and culture.

Although it was a long day of being “talked at” it’s necessary to learn all of this information in order to become a Marine Naturalist volunteer.

Hours of volunteer work are also required and that will be a challenge for me to find something I can do in Arizona.

One more day of lecture and we’re off on a field trip!!

Eventually, however, I’m going to have to address the horrendous news of how Sea World had inhumanely treated the orcas. People who worked for Sea World are finally speaking out. It’s criminal.

Save a Whale – It’s Easy

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Here’s an easy,  gratifying way to feel uplifted and do a wondrous deed in the process.

Adopt an Orca! This small adoption act is powerful and enriching. Your donation will not only leave you feeling delightfully good, but somehow the adoption feels like a gift for you too.

The Friday Harbor Whale Museum has a wonderful whale adoption program. For $35 a person can adopt an orca (a member of the Southern Resident Pod) and help support these endangered whales. The proceeds from the adoption support orca education and research.

You get to choose your whale from a long list of available adoptees. (They all have names, too!) You’ll receive a large photo of your whale along with adoption papers, and you’ll also receive a monthly newsletter about the pod. It’s an incredible program. Or a person can do a family adoption or a classroom adoption.

After adopting a whale in 2018, I “gifted” the whale (Cookie) to my four-year-old grandson so that he might develop an interest in these animals and eventually grow to be a steward of nature in some manner. He now has several story books starring orcas.

You might tend to think this is gimmicky, or perhaps akin to adopting a star and naming it after someone. But orca adoption is entirely different. These whales are strikingly intelligent, social beings. The Southern Resident Pod is in a precarious situation in part due to the rampant capture and imprisonment of these magnificent mammals by Sea World which decimated the population. Tragically, no captive whale has lived much beyond 30 years of age. In the wild they can live up to 80 years and longer. And, no whale born into captivity lives past 30. (Sea World can’t seem to figure out that swimming pools just aren’t the same as the ocean. This is why Sea World is one of the most hated companies in America.)

Click here to access the whale adoption page on the Friday Harbor website.

You can also buy a copy of Saving Our Oceans and support these whales. The Whale Museum is a 2019 recipient of the proceeds from the sale of Saving Our Oceans.

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