Do You Speak Whale?
Seeing one of the largest creatures on earth surface offshore is an incredible experience. But half of the joy of whale watching is sharing it with others. Through the Whale Watching Spoken Here (WWSH) program, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) places trained volunteers at overlooks along the Oregon coast to assist visitors in spotting gray whales during their two major annual migrations in the winter and spring. You could be one of them, helping people to see whales for the first time.
What do Volunteers do?
Volunteers are asked to participate in the program at least 2 days. Volunteers are responsible for setting up site materials at their approved location. The materials consist of a small container with whale models, a rope that represents the length of a whale and various flyers, stickers and information for our visitors. Most days there will be 3-8 volunteers per site, depending on location.
You should be at your site from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. counting whales and talking with visitors.
After 1:00 p.m. you will call or email the Whale Watching Center to report your daily tally.
Oh, and most importantly, have fun!!!
How to Become a Volunteer
If you’d like to join the Whale Watching Spoken Here crew and help educate the public about these gentle giants of the sea, please sign up to attend one of the three one-day training sessions we hold each winter. You’ll learn from researchers and OPRD interpretive rangers how to locate and identify common marine mammals of the Oregon coast. You’ll also receive a whale watching reference manual and a field guide to marine mammals of the North Pacific.
We usually fill all of our available registration spaces, so it’s a good idea to register early! Once you’ve gone through a training, you can sign up to volunteer at any point in the future. We encourage seasoned volunteers to participate in a training every three or four years as a refresher, but it is not required.