Save the Whales
Save the Whales
Save the Whales is a non-profit, grassroots organization that was founded and incorporated in 1977. It was conceived by 14-year-old Maris Sidenstecker II when she learned that whales were being cruelly slaughtered. She designed a T-shirt with a logo that read "Save the Whales" and designated the proceeds to help save whales. Her mother, Maris Sidenstecker I, helped co-found the organization and still serves as its executive director.
Unlike some environmental groups, Greenpeace for example, Save the Whales is involved in very few direct action protests and activities. Its primary focus is education. The group's educational staff is comprised of marine biologists, environmental educators, and researchers. They speak to school groups, senior citizen organizations, clubs, and numerous other organizations. Save the Whales is opposed to commercial whaling and works to save all whale species from extinction . The group also sends a representative to the annual International Whaling Commission conference.
WOW!, Whales On Wheels, is an innovative program developed by Save the Whales. WOW! travels throughout California educating thousands of children and adults about marine mammals and their environment . WOW! features live presenters and incorporates audio and video into the program along with hands-on exhibits and marine mammal activity projects. In 1992 alone, Maris Sidenstecker II gave presentations to over 7,000 school children.
Save the Whales has also developed a regional Marine Mammal Beach Program for school aged children. It consists of an abbreviated WOW! lecture after which the participants assist in cleaning up a beach. Save the Whales has adopted Venice Beach in California and cleans it several times a year.
A five-minute educational video entitled "One Person Makes A Difference" has been produced by Save the Whales. It combines footage of the humpback whales, orcas, and gray whales in the wild which is followed by shots of the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands. The video ends with brief interviews that advocate whale conservation and describe the ways in which one person can make a difference. Save the Whales is currently involved in raising funds to produce a 30-minute documentary film entitled "Barometers of The Ocean." This video will explore chemical pollution in the oceans and how it is affecting whale populations.
The organization also supports marine mammal research. It helps finance research on seals and sea lions in Puget Sound (Washington), and makes financial contributions to SCAMP (Southern California Migration Project) to support studies of gray whale migration. Save the Whales publishes a quarterly newsletter that is free with membership, and the organization currently has 2,000 members worldwide.
[Debra Glidden ]