Working Together to Save the Whales: Stories of Hope, from Springer to the Southern Residents

In 2002 a young orca named Springer was discovered near Seattle - lost, alone and 300 miles away from home. Six months later she was rescued, rehabilitated and returned to her pod on the north end of Vancouver Island. Today she is thriving, with two calves of her own. It's the only successful orca reintroduction in history!

Donna Sandstrom will share the inspiring story of Springer's rescue, and how it led her to found The Whale Trail. Learn about current initiatives to protect the endangered southern resident orcas and how you can participate in their recovery.

Image credits:

Top: A73 (Springer) near Alert Bay, by Jared Towers, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Bottom: J56 (Tofino) with her mother J31 (Tsuchi), by Mark Sears, Permit 21348. 

J56 (Tofino) with her mother J31 (Tsuchi), by Mark Sears, Permit 21348

About the Speaker

Headshot of the speaker
Donna Sandstrom
Founder and Executive Director, The Whale Trail

Donna Sandstrom is the Founder and Executive Director of The Whale Trail, a west coast-wide series of sites to watch whales from shore. In 2002 she was a community organizer on the successful effort to return Springer, an orphaned orca, to her pod. Donna recently served as a member of Gov. Jay Inslee's Orca Recovery Task Force, where she championed solutions to reduce noise and disturbance around the endangered southern resident orcas. Prior to founding The Whale Trail, she was a team and project manager at Adobe Systems.

Donna is the author of "Orca Rescue, the true story of an orphaned orca named Springer" (Kids Can Press 2021) which was honored as Best Children's Book 2022 by the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada, and was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. She lives in West Seattle. 

Environmental Speaker Series

The Environmental Speaker Series is hosted by the College of the Environment at Western Washington University.

The Series is free and open to the public. Talks are held each Thursday at 4:30 pm in Academic Instructional Center West room 204 - AW-204. Talks will also be streamed via zoom. Register with the Alumni Association for the zoom link. Paid parking is available in lot C.

Learn more about the Environmental Speaker Series
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