Celebrating the end of Orca Action Month

 Orca activists gathered from around the PNW in Seattle’s Westlake Park on Thursday, June 27th to raise awareness of the plight of the Southern Resident Orcas, and how our health is tied to theirs. Orca Action Month’s culminating rally sought to bring the month of June to a close with art, music, education, and action. 

In a very Seattle fashion, the skies were gray and drizzly for most of the afternoon, but the sun peeked through at the end. Orca recovery doesn’t stop for a rainy day, and the rally went on as planned. Attendees were greeted at the start with live music from Dana Lyons and many tables packed with upcoming volunteer events and educational activities. Kathleen Callaghy from Defenders of Wildlife kicked off the program with an introduction to Orca Action Month and this year’s theme: Clean Water, Healthy Futures. She passed the mic off to representatives from Toxic Free Future  Orca Network, the Puyallup Tribe, and the Duwamish River Community Coalition. These speakers talked about why regulating chemicals in consumer products is important, how they impact orcas and humans, and what we can do about it. 

The final speaker was Heather Bartlett from the Washington Department of Ecology, who discussed Washington’s high standards for product safety and new regulations coming into effect. At the end of the program, the organizations that participated in hosting this year’s Orca Action Month activities delivered a petition from over 900 Washingtonians asking that the state ban toxic chemicals in products.

Gabrielle Wildheart’s interactive chalk mural dried out as the sun emerged and people began to color it in, many took photos with Mike the Orca, and Dana Lyons played some crowd favorites. Despite the rain, it was a fantastic way to come together and recognize all the hard work that went into making Orca Action Month happen, and energize everyone for orca recovery the rest of the year. Thank you to all who participated this June and we look forward to continuing this work!

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