Gray whales are migrating north past the Oregon coast and we invite you to share the excitement during Spring Whale Watch Week March 24-31. Trained volunteers from the Whale Watching Spoken Here program will be stationed 10 a.m. — 1 p.m. each day at 24 sites along the coast, ready to help people spot the migrating marine mammals.
The Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay will be open 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. daily. Visitors to the center can enjoy interactive whale exhibits and take in the panoramic ocean views. Binoculars are provided. OPRD rangers will also be on hand to answer questions about the whales. A live stream of whale activity off of Depoe Bay returns this spring too; watch it on the Oregon State Parks YouTube channel. (https://www.youtube.com/user/OregonParks/)
Visit oregonstateparks.org for information about coast parks and campgrounds.
Register for one of three training sessions
We’re looking for whale-lovers to participate in the Whale Watching Spoken Here program. The program places trained volunteers at 24 whale-watching sites along the Oregon coast during winter and spring watch weeks, when approximately 20,000 gray whales migrate on their way to and from feeding areas off the Alaska coast and birthing areas near Baja, Mexico.
Volunteers who complete the one-day training may select a whale-watching site where they will be stationed to help visitors spot gray whales and maintain a count of whales spotted. The dates for upcoming whale watching weeks are Dec. 27-31, 2016, and March 25-31, 2017.
New this year, volunteers may register for the training online at www.whalespoken.wordpress.com/, as well as select a watch site. The training is required for new volunteers. Returning volunteers are encouraged to repeat the course every few years to learn the latest gray whale research results.
The first of three sessions is set for Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport. The training will be delivered by Dr. Bruce Mate, an expert on whales and director of the Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute. Additional volunteer training is scheduled for Jan. 14, 2017, at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, Charleston, and Feb. 11, 2017, at the Warrenton Community Center, Warrenton.
Whale Watching Spoken Here has been around since 1978 and is one of the most organized onshore whale-watching programs in the United States. For more information, call 541-765-3304.
Register now for training!
Are you ready to help visitors spot gray whales during the winter and spring watch weeks? We’re looking for Whale Watching Spoken Here volunteers. Sign up for training sessions set for:
- Dec. 6, 2014, in Newport, central coast;
- Jan. 10, 2015, in Brookings, south coast;
- Feb. 7, 2015 in Tillamook, north coast.
The day-long training includes an overview of gray whale biology and natural history, basic whale information, strategies for seeing whales and sharing whale facts with visitors. Dr. Bruce Mate, director of the Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute will lead the Dec. 6 session and marine biologist Carrie Newell will lead the Jan. 10 and Feb. 7 sessions.
You’ll receive one-night free tent or RV camping while you attend the training. The closest campgrounds are South Beach State Park south of Newport, Harris Beach State Park north of Brookings and Cape Lookout State Park south of Tillamook. Sign up to volunteer at one of the 24 whale watching sites and the training and two nights of tent or RV camping during the watch weeks are free.
The training registration form, agenda and watch week sign-up form are available in the 2014-2015 Call for Volunteers newsletter. Fill out the online forms and either e-mail, fax or regular mail to Whale Watching Spoken Here. The address is on the forms.