Outdoor Ed - Salish Sea Mammals

Outdoor Ed - Salish Sea Mammals

Did you know that the waters that surround Whidbey Island are home to orca J, K, and L pods? Annually there are 10-12 gray whales that regularly visit and feed off of our shores. Harbor seals, elephant seals, stellar sea lions, minke whales, otters, and porpoises are also familiar sights. Whale sightings are so frequent at times that riding from Mukilteo to the Clinton ferry can turn into a “whale watching tour.”

Are you in search of new and exciting outdoor education experiences while visiting Casey? The location and habitats that surround us make it the perfect spot to experience nature first-hand. Campers now can incorporate orca education into their visit either on the water or via an outdoor education class.

Deception Pass Tours, the only tour company allowed to operate out of a Washington State Park, takes visitors aboard the Island Whaler with a naturalist who will focus on the history of the area and how the wildlife changes throughout the seasons.

Casey campers can schedule an orca whale outdoor education class featuring Howard Garret, without leaving camp. Howard, along with Susan Berta, started the Orca Network in 2001. Their organization initially focused on a campaign to return Lolita, an orca captured from her native Puget Sound on August 8, 1970. Over the years, this network has become dedicated to educating the public about the importance of habitat protection and conservation of orcas. As for Garrett specifically, he feels especially passionate about teaching children. His book Orcas in Our Midst, is targeted at educating middle-school students about these distinctive animals.

Want even more information on whales? Visit The Whale Center in Langley, just a short drive from Casey. Their displays will give your group a chance to learn more about the endangered southern resident orcas and the North Puget Sound gray whales. The center also has exhibits, including specimens such as skulls, pelts, baleen, barnacles, and a huge blue whale jaw bone.

If you don’t have an agenda of your own but know that you want the experience of camping to be unique and memorable, Camp Casey’s packages can include: Sea Lab class, guided forest/meadow walk, Audubon class and activity on local birding, orca whale class led by a naturalist, and beach seine class. For more information, visit https://casey.spu.edu/staying-at-camp-casey/packages/#outdoor.