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Become a Whale Watching Spoken Here volunteer

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, 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.

Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center

Free camping for Whale Watching Spoken Here volunteers (2014)

Register now for training!

Gray whale surfaces near the Depoe Bay sea wall

Volunteer at a Whale Watching Spoken Here site for a birds-eye view of migrating whales.

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.

Come to the beach March 22-29 for whale watching & spring beach cleaning (2014)

Gray whale tailThe Oregon coastline is the place to be March 22-29 for whale watchers hoping for a flash of a tail or spray from a spout. Nearly 160 gray whales cruise north each day on their annual spring migration and their numbers usually peak about the last week in March — just in time for the Spring Whale Watch Week.

Bring your questions to the trained volunteers stationed at 24 “Whale Watching Spoken Here” sites 10 a.m.-1 p.m. each day during the week. They’ll also share tips about spotting some of the 18,000 gray whales heading from their breeding grounds on Mexico’s Baja coast to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. Oregon State Park rangers and volunteers also will be at the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay 10 a.m-4 p.m. each day.

Visitors hoping to spot some of these passing giants should come to the coast with binoculars and rain gear and look for the “Whale Watching Spoken Here” signs at any of the 24 whale watching viewpoints. This time of year most of the whales can be spotted about 1-3 miles off the coastline.  Occasionally, whales will search for food or an early mother and calf will swim close to the shore.

SOLVE Oregon Beach CleanupVolunteers needed
March 22 for the SOLVE Spring Beach Cleanup 

On Saturday, March 22 from
10 a.m.-1 p.m., thousands of volunteers will clean the beach from border to border. Want to help?  Visit  SOLVE for more information and register for one of 45 beach cleanup sites.