Join Puget Sound Express, The Port Townsend Marine Science Center, and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce for a month-long celebration of Orca Awareness Month in Port Townsend. Public events June 3 – June 24, 2017 will bring together whale experts, educators, tribal representatives and artists, for educational and fun-filled days of exploration around the area’s orca population and the broader whale ecosystem in the Salish Sea.

2017 marks the 11th year that Washingtonians celebrate Orca Awareness Month. Started over a decade ago by Susan Berta and Howard Garrett of Orca Network, and proclaimed a tradition by Governor Jay Inslee, Orca Awareness Month raises awareness of endangered Southern Resident orcas and the need to help them recover to a healthy population.

June 3, 2017 – The Day of the Orca

Port Townsend Marine Science Center, 11am-3pm
Free Admission to Fort Worden State Park; Free Admission to PTMSC

Get to know the Southern Resident and Transient Orca populations that call our area home. Family as well as Adult-oriented sessions.

Ken Balcomb

  • Welcome – with Port Townsend Marine Science Center Executive Director Janine Boire, and Jamestown S’Kallam tribal member and Chief Chetzemoka descendent Marlin Holden
  • Introduction to Our Orcas – with Ken Balcomb, founder of the Center for Whale Research, PTMSC Executive Director Janine Boire, and photographer and Puget Sound Express Naturalist Bart Rulon (Seating is limited)
  • How to ID Orcas – with Puget Sound Express Naturalist Bart Rulon
  • Get To Know Your Orcas session for children and families
  • Tours of Hope – one of only 8 fully-articulated orca skeletons in the world
  • Free Boat Tours on Puget Sound Express whale watching vessels
  • Listen to Orcas – Learn how orcas communicate and listen in via the Hydrophone Listening Network
  • Family-Oriented Art Projects take place throughout the day
Port Townsend’s central location in the Salish Sea makes it one of the nation’s finest destinations for learning about orcas. Our area is home to a special community of orcas called the Southern Residents. This is a federally protected sub-species that primarily eats salmon. Decreased salmon stocks, and environmental pressures are putting real pressure on this community.Janine Boire, PTMSC

June 24, 2017 – Summer Kick Off and Beach Party

Port Townsend Marine Science Center, 11am-5pm
Discover Pass Required for Fort Worden State Park; free admission to PTMSC

A jam-packed day with fun and educational events to celebrate the start of summer and reinforce our connection to the Salish Sea.

  • Low Tide Walk (Begins at 9:30)
  • Salish Sea Blessing Ceremony
  • Tours of Hope – one of only 8 fully-articulated orca skeletons in the world
  • Listen to Orcas – Hear communicating via Hydrophone Listening Network
  • Free Boat Tours on Puget Sound Express whale watching vessels
  • Explore Gray Whale Skeletons – help piece together a real skeleton
  • Sand Whale Sculptures – be a part of the community art project
  • Live Music, Beach Games, Community Portrait, Food & Beverages, and much more!
Our family has been connecting residents and visitors with orcas and the other whales in our region for more than 3 decades. We hope Port Townsend Orca Fest will connect our community more deeply with the culture, science, and future of these amazing animals.Pete Hanke, Jr. PSE

Throughout the Month

J-Pod Scavenger Hunt – Starting at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Center, get to know the largest pod of Southern Resident Orcas by following clues and collecting trading cards with each member of the famous J-Pod of orcas. The first 2 participants to collect all of the cards receive free whale watching tours from PSE.  All other participants who complete the scavenger hunt will be entered into a raffle with a variety of fun prizes.  The drawing will take place on June 24th at the Summer Kick Off and Beach Party.