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Dec 06

Celebrating a Successful Orca Recovery Day!

Posted on December 6, 2019 at 8:56 AM by Allan Warren

Winter Tahoma View CoverPhoto Credit: Prenz Sa-Ngoun

To say Orca Recovery Day grew in 2019 would be an understatement. At times, the growth was overwhelming, as organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest signed up to join us and our Conservation District partners to make this year’s event a major success. Depending on how you measure it, we either tripled or quadrupled our impact from last year!

From “only” 17-events in 2018, we grew this year’s effort into a 65-event gathering of over 2,300 people from British Columbia all the way down to Napa Valley, California. We had eventsOrca Recovery Day 4 covering the entire range of the Southern Resident orca whales. 109-organizations joined in the effort, which resulted in nearly 17,000-native plants installed and over 33-acres of vital habitat restored. Here in Washington, we had events from the Lower Elwha River out to the Spokane River, with dozens sprinkled around the Puget Sound.

For our local event at Demolay Sandspit Nature Preserve, we were honored to be joined by Pierce County Councilmember Derek Young, who spoke of the importance of this work. We used the day to restore important nearshore habitat and launch our new Shore Friendly program. We engaged over 60 volunteers in educational programming around the important connections between the land and saltwater and also planted ~150 native trees and shrubs. Soon, we hope to turn this site into a much larger demonstration project of what Shore Friendly practices look like, including a major bulkhead removal and restoration effort.

Our outreach efforts around the day also led to far broader awareness of our collective impact. Governor Jay Inslee declared his support for the effort, officially proclaiming October 19, 2019 as Orca Recovery Day. Elected officials across the region also came out to participate, including mayors, county council members, tribal council members, and state legislators.

Orca Recovery Day - Back CoverVeterans groups, scout troops, and employees from Boeing, Puget Sound Energy, Walmart, REI and more, all joined forces around the effort.

Special thanks are due to our funding partners, whose support allowed us to reach nearly 2,000,000 people with our message via TV, radio, and social media. After all, this work isn’t merely about one day of action, it’s about actions we each can take everyday to reduce our impact. Each of us can take the time to plant some trees, reduce pollution from our property, or support the 100s of great organizations that are doing this work every day. Through our collective impact, we can fix this.

THANK YOU to: the Washington State Conservation Commission, Milgard Foundation, One Tree Planted, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, The Russell Family Foundation, Boeing, Puget Sound Energy, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Shell Puget Sound Refinery.

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