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Welcome to the Orca Recovery Day Ecochallenge

In 2018, the world watched as Tahlequah, a Southern Resident Killer Whale, carried her dead calf for 17 days, travelling over 1,000 miles off the Pacific Northwest coast before letting go. Tahlequah isn’t the first grieving orca mother- unfortunately, hers was one of many calf deaths across the past two decades. According to the Center for Whale Research, approximately 75 percent of newborns in the Southern Resident killer whale population have not survived.

With just over 70 individuals left, we must act now if we’re going to save the most iconic species of the Pacific Northwest.

What is Orca Recovery Day?

In response to Tahlequah’s image of grief and the increasing need to help our orcas, Washington conservation districts created Orca Recovery Day, an intentional day of action to restore habitat, reduce stormwater pollution, and educate the public about things they can do everyday to help one of the most iconic species of the Pacific Northwest.

COVID-19 has forced us all to adjust to a new normal, but that doesn't mean conservation efforts stop. In fact, for our own health and the health of our communities, hands on conservation is more important than ever! So are you ready to roll up your sleeves for Orcas? Dozens of partners have small, in-person volunteer events for Orca Recovery Day or you can join the effort in the safety of your own home or neighborhood by joining our Ecochallenge! You can learn more about the in person opportunities at

The Problem

There are only 74 Southern Resident Orcas left. Orcas rely on their main food source, the endangered Chinook salmon, to survive. Due to habitat loss, climate change and increased pollution, it has become even more difficult for migrating salmon to make the journey home to create new fish. In order to save our orcas, we must start with our salmon and reducing the stormwater pollution that builds up in them and poisons orcas.

What Can You Do?

Each one of us has something to offer in the fight for our orcas. You can plant native shrubs and trees, collect trash along roads and beaches, or expand your green space outside your office building- anything that makes the environment better than how you found it.

If you’re unable to do something physical, there’s other options for you. You can educate yourself, those around you, and even your elected officials on the issues facing orcas. If your specialty lies in social media, blogging or videography, we can use your skills to bring more awareness to #OrcaRecoveryDay. You can also donate to Promise the Pod, a nonprofit that works with other habitat restoration programs.

There’s strength in numbers. With all of us working together, there’s still time to save our orcas.

Our Collective Impact Can Fix Thix

It’s our collective impact on our environment that has led to this crisis. But there’s still hope, because it’s our collective impact that will lead to their recovery as well. The actions we take in our own homes, neighborhoods, and communities might not seem like much, but when you add it all up across an entire region, it can have a profound impact. That’s what Orca Recovery Day and this Ecochallenge is all about, showing what’s possible when we all take action. One day isn’t going to fix this problem, but one day can unite us all in action, show what’s possible when we act, and inspire us all to keep making positive changes for our own health and for the health of our orcas.

When the Ecochallenge is all done, we’ll share with you all the impacts your teams have had, and the collective impact we all had, together. Are you willing to take the challenge?