Orca Action Month: Nonprofits Defending the Wild



In honor of Orca Action Month, we are highlighting eight 1% for the Planet nonprofit members taking action through science, outreach, education and mobilizing legislation. These nonprofits are speaking up for orcas and helping build a brighter future for the species.


Orca Action Month

For 13 years, June has been named Orca Action Month by Washington’s Governor, and is celebrated in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia (where Southern Resident orca populations reside). There are around 50,000 orcas left in the world and only 72 remaining Southern Resident Orcas. Orca Action Month is about coming together to share their story and inspire action to help the remaining orcas survive. 


Defending the Wild

Southern Resident Orcas are one of the most critically endangered species in the United States, and will face extinction if action is not taken. One of the biggest threats facing orcas is overfishing. There are currently no regulations in place to allocate salmon to orcas after fishing, leaving the mammals to risk starvation. In order to save the species, we need to act now. These nonprofits are not only taking action, but paving the way for others to do the same. 


"I'm not going to count them to zero, at least not quietly."

- Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research Founder & Senior Scientist


Center for Whale Research 

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 1.35.03 PMPhoto by Center for Whale Research 2020

Study, support, speak out. 

The Center for Whale Research has been leading the charge in studying the endangered Southern Resident Orcas in the Salish Sea for 44 years and counting. CWR is generating significant scientific research and health assessments, backing their work with reliable statistics and data. Each year, the nonprofit adds to the Orca Survey Project, a database of photos and information about orca encounters. The data collected gives an important look into health, demographics, location, and social habits of orcas, and has been used in several peer-reviewed journal articles. This research has also been used to support management decisions in Canada and the United States, leading populations of the species to be listed as endangered in both countries.

1% for the Planet business member support:  Prince of Whales Whale Watching, Eagle wing Tours, Maple Leaf Adventures, Barbara Grant Consulting Group, Experience Momentum


Wild Orca 

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 1.38.25 PMScreen Shot 2020-05-27 at 1.38.40 PMPhotos by Wild Orca

Wild Orcas need wild defenders

At Wild Orca, the mission is simple: save Southern Resident killer whales from extinction. To do this, the nonprofit tackles the main threats the orcas face: starvation, pollution, and noise. These threats are addressed with political action, ocean cleanups, and education for the public and policymakers to encourage action and change. Wild Orca has a unique team member, a rescue dog named Eba. Eba the Whale Dog  (pictured above) is trained to detect whale poop, which can reveal as much information about a whales’ health as a biopsy without disturbance.



Type+B2_female+and+calf_2020Photo by SR3

Sealife response, rehabilitation, and research.

SR3 provides emergency response to injured marine wildlife, rehabilitates animals in need, and carries out research focused on Southern Resident killer whales. SR3 works with local communities to support the health of coastal ecosystems and encourage citizens to take a stand for orcas and other marine wildlife. They are currently working on building the first dedicated marine wildlife hospital in the Pacific Northwest so that more wildlife can be reached, rehabilitated, and released. Care provided in the hospital will also provide insights into marine life and how to tackle large-scale issues under the water.

1% for the Planet business member support: Hairstory,  Patagonia Works


Rozalia Project 

IMG_3888-1200x800Photo by Rozalia Project

For us to thrive, we need the ocean to thrive.

For the ocean to thrive, we need its creatures to thrive.

The Rozalia Project is protecting and cleaning our oceans by working from surface to seafloor hosting cleanups, conducting research, and educating others on threats facing our oceans. For work offshore, the project relies on a sailboat: American Promise. The boat was originally made famous by Dodge Morgan’s solo voyage around the world, and is now on track to become the greenest sailing research vessel in the world. To do this, the Rozalia Project is using techniques that are accessible and able to be replicated by sailors everywhere. Since the end of 2018, all of the energy used aboard the American Promise has come from solar, wind, hydropower, and an alternator used when motoring between sails. 

1% for the Planet business member support: Maine Beer Company, Eva’s Herbucha, Surf Sweets, Monique Rotteveel Activewear, Maple View Sugar Works, HairstoryDooster, LARQ, Patagonia Apparel at Parsons KelloggPatagonia Works, Dana Wilfahrt


Surfers Against Sewage 

Asset-20P1070305-750x500Photos by Surfers Against Sewage

Together, we are the voice of the ocean.

Surfers Against Sewage is mobilizing communities and inspiring people to protect our coastlines, in turn protecting marine species like orcas. The nonprofit is leading the #ReturnToOffender campaign, which encourages people who see plastic pollution to snap a photo and post it on social media, tagging the brand and using the hashtag. At the end of the month-long campaign, Surfers Against Sewage will conduct a brand audit using the tagged photos, highlighting the most polluting brands and calling for them to take action to reduce packaging. This data will also help demand government action and provide material for education programs.

1% for the Planet business member support: Patagonia Works, Soul and Surf, Bio Nutrition Health, Klean KanteenWholegrain Digital, Elephant Box, Lean Practice Ltd.Little Goat Gruff, Zeal Optics, ST&G's Marvellous Maps, Turnstyle Designs,  Paul Bryce, Greg Stanfield


Wild 4 Whales Foundation

pod_of_kwsHarbour-Seal-Val-16-08-01_0266Photos by Wild 4 Whales

Conservation in the Salish Sea

Wild 4 Whales is working with the goal of funding research, advocacy, education, and the protection of the habitat and food supply of whales and cetaceans. The foundation is involving the public, First Nations, businesses, and other nonprofits in their mission to maximize their impact and inspire more action. Wild 4 Whales supports the Center for Whale Research and is dedicated to partnering with other organizations supporting salmon populations and protecting whales. Every year, the foundation hosts World Oceans Day at Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria, BC, bringing organizations and the public together to celebrate marine life and build the drive to protect it. 


Oceans Initiative

Screen Shot 2020-06-22 at 1.50.35 PMphoto by Ocean's Initiative

Science for the Sea

Oceans Initiative is run by a team of scientists dedicated to saving whales and dolphins. Spending half of their time in the field and half in the lab, the team is able to find real-time solutions to the most pressing issues threatening marine life. Oceans Initiative is currently working on studying and finding solutions to the impact that noise has on marine species, and other projects supporting life underwater. The nonprofit is also committed to supporting and advancing women in STEM. Executive Director and Scientist Erin Ashe gives back by prioritizing paid opportunities for and mentoring women in STEM early in their career. 


Orca Conservancy

Saving-orcas-1800Photo by Orca Conservancy

Be their voice.

Orca Conservancy works in Washington state to save Southern Resident killer whales by addressing threats facing the species. The nonprofit focuses on three key issue areas: Science & Research, Education & Advocacy, and Outreach & Partnerships. Through these issue areas, the Orca Conservancy is working to correct the damage that humans have caused to critical orca habitats. To date, they have assisted with the dismantling of harmful dams, been a part of the litigation granting Southern Resident Orcas Endangered Species Status, and helped to successfully phase out Atlantic salmon net pens in Washington State as a member of Our Sound, Our Salmon Coalition