By Julia Luna, Communications Specialist
The weather was perfect yesterday morning at Golden Gardens Park as new Puget Sound Partnership Executive Director, Laura Blackmore, participated in the second annual Salish Splash (known last year as the Puget Plunge). In celebration of Orca Month and orca recovery efforts, Blackmore joined fellow splashers for a short speaking program and live music before splashing into the water.
“The work we all do is complex, and the solutions don’t always come easily — that’s why it’s important to take a step back every now and then and take stock of all the good things we’ve accomplished,” said Laura. “We’re excited to see two new Southern Resident orca calves since January, but we know their lives are precarious. The Puget Sound Partnership is committed to working with you and all of our partners to help ensure that these calves stay healthy and can keep up with their family.”
Southern Resident orcas became the focus of international attention last summer when J Pod orca, Tahlequah (also known as J35), carried her dead newborn calf through the waters of Puget Sound for 17 days. Tahlequah’s “tour of grief” was a theme throughout yesterday’s speaking program, and many remarked that it was thanks to her that the public has been more engaged than ever in the fight for the Southern Residents. Orcas are tightly woven into the fabric of the culture and traditions of the Pacific Northwest, and they also serve as an indicator on the overall health of Puget Sound, since they spend a portion of the year swimming down here.
On the tails of a successful legislative session for Puget Sound, the joy and excitement to splash into chilly Pacific waters could be felt on the shore. There is more work to be done for orcas, salmon, and Puget Sound, but there is value in celebrating success as it inspires and energizes us to forge ahead. At the Partnership, we are excited to continue to work hard everyday with our partners to restore Southern Resident orcas’ summer home. Orca Month is happening now through the end of June. To find an orca event near you, visit orcamonth.com.