So far my summer travels and book-selling attempts for Saving Our Oceans have been only slightly worse than awful.
For starters, the Marine Naturalist Training Program I was so gung-ho about was a bit of a let down. The presenters knew their subject matter and were very passionate about it, but too many were terrible public speakers. (Mumble mumble) Some were good, but too few.
Unfortunately there was also a lot of repetition. How many times is it really necessary to play orca recordings?
One major complaint that I and others had, however, was the two days of back-to-back lengthy lectures, a very outmoded, ineffective method of teaching. A few presenters were outstanding. Their presentations included time IN THE FIELD, actually DOING instead of just sitting and LISTENING.
The training program, though, was staffed by extremely nice, caring people. However more than a few seemed totally obsessed with the Southern Resident pod. Granted, this pod is in danger of extinction, so there is plenty of reason for concern.
As of now, I seriously doubt that I’ll do the required practicum to obtain a Naturalist certification.
All that being said, though, I am now armed with several Marine guides and am anxious to start exploring on my own!
No photos available due to my current location and lack of gigs!
After two long days of lectures we will now be out in the field for the next 3 days!
Today’s outing was to Lime Kiln State Park to look for whales passing by, take a hike, and two more classes…two outside and one inside.
It’s interesting that the Southern Resident pod is finally finding its preferred food on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and not so much here in the Salish Sea. Reports from the coast are that the whales are looking fatter and happier! Meanwhile, a transient group of orcas, Biggs transient pod, is now in this area more. The Southern Resident pod prefers to dine on Chinook, and the transients like seals, sea lions, etc. And there are plenty of those around here. Their population has exploded in the last 40 years since they were listed as an endangered species…so no more shooting them for stealing fish off your hook! The Southern Resident pod is still around some though, but this year they even hit up Monterey Bay for food. It’s been a spell since the Southern Resident pod has traveled that far for Chinook.
The day, incidentally, was great! Weather was accommodating, the speakers were knowledgeable and interesting.
The question is growing in my mind, though, can I be a Marine Naturalist in Arizona? How’s that going to work? I will have to give this A LOT of thought. I signed up for this course thinking we’d be relocating back to the Pacific Northwest. This may not come true if our house in AZ doesn’t sell. Bummer.
Could I be a naturalist in Arizona? I just don’t see the culture there embracing this. We’ll find out soon enough.
Oh…we saw no whales.
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.