Springer the killer whale’s first calf named Spirit

CBC Posted: 08/18/2014 10:29 pm EDT Updated: 3 hours ago
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One of B.C.’s newest resident killer whales now has a name

  Global News

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It is official. The calf of the first ever killer whale to have been captured and successfully re-integrated into her pod now has a formal name.

The one-and-a-half year old calf was spotted with her mom, Springer, in June of last year.

The calf has survived its first year, considered to be the most challenging period in every whale’s life, and therefore needed a common name.

In July, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Research Program asked the public to submit name suggestions.

The winning entry was — Spirit.

Northern Resident Killer Whale naming committee agreed that Spirit was the best name for the calf.

They say the name fits with the tradition of naming northern resident killer whales after coastal places.

Spirit was named after Spirit Island, near Bella Bella on the B.C. Central Coast, close to where the calf was first spotted.

Springer made headlines eleven years ago after she was captured and successfully reunited with her pod.

In 2002, one-year-old Springer was discovered alone and emaciated in Puget Sound near Seattle, Washington.

After losing her mother and pod, she was struggling to stay alive. Springer was judged to be in poor health and unlikely to survive alone.

Springer became part of an unprecedented rescue effort – a coordination project between U.S. and Canadian researchers, including experts from the Vancouver Aquarium.

In June of 2002, after several months of monitoring her deteriorating condition, Springer was transported from Puget Sound and placed into a net pen at a research station, where she was rehabilitated.

When she was strong enough, Springer was brought back home into Canadian waters.

She was released when her pod made contact. Although not immediately, Springer was eventually re-adopted by her family.

Boaters are asked to keep an eye out for Springer and Spirit travelling with the rest of the A24 matriline.

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Springer the killer whale’s first calf named Spirit

Calf’s world famous mother is only orca ever successfully rescued and reunited with her pod

CBC News Posted: Aug 18, 2014 7:29 PM PT Last Updated: Aug 18, 2014 7:41 PM PT

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The first calf of Springer the orphaned killer whale, the only orca ever successfully rescued and reunited with its pod, finally has a name — Spirit.

Springer, a member of B.C.’s A-4 pod of northern resident killer whales, made a name for herself in 2002 after she was spotted sick and alone near Seattle.

U.S. and Canadian governments and scientists united to work with the Vancouver Aquarium to rescue and rehabilitate ​Springer and later that year, reunite with her pod.

Springer, now 14 years old, was first spotted with her own young calf on July 4, 2013 off the north coast of B.C. near Bella Bella.

The Vancouver Aquarium says Springer was then seen again with her one-year-old calf this June.

Suggestions for a name came from the public, with Spirit being chosen— after Spirit Island on B.C.’s central coast, close to where the calf was spotted.

Lonely orca unlikely to survive

Springer, who is officially known as A-73, first rose to fame when she turned up in Puget Sound near Seattle around 2002.

Experts already knew the orphaned juvenile had become separated from her pod after her mother died and had failed in one attempt to join another pod of killer whales.

The lonely orca appeared to be in poor health and attempting to make friends with boats and logs. U.S. officials determined she was unlikely to survive on her own in the busy shipping lane and captured her.

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She was kept in a net pen for a month to nurse her back to health and then transported to Blackfish Sound at the north end of Vancouver Island to be reunited with her original pod, known as A-4.

Shortly after Springer arrived, the pod was spotted in the area and officials made the decision to immediately release Springer, who was now in great health, and over the next few weeks she was spotted slowly reintegrating with her pod.

Every year since then officials have been monitoring her progress in the pod.

Officials say Springer is the first known case of a killer whale being captured, rehabilitated and successfully released back to their pod.

Biologists say female killer whales normally stay with their pod for their whole life, and each pod shares unique vocalizations, which likely helped Springer reintegrate with her extended family.

She was kept in a net pen for a month to nurse her back to health and then transported to Blackfish Sound at the north end of Vancouver Island to be reunited with her original pod, known as A-4.

Shortly after Springer arrived, the pod was spotted in the area and officials made the decision to immediately release Springer, who was now in great health, and over the next few weeks she was spotted slowly reintegrating with her pod.

Every year since then officials have been monitoring her progress in the pod.

Officials say Springer is the first known case of a killer whale being captured, rehabilitated and successfully released back to their pod.

Biologists say female killer whales normally stay with their pod for their whole life, and each pod shares unique vocalizations, which likely helped Springer reintegrate with her extended family.

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#Springer

Screen shot 2014-06-15 at 9.06.23 AMScreen shot 2014-06-15 at 9.06.33 AM

In January 2002, when she was just a calf, a killer whale named Springer was discovered emaciated and alone by a ferry dock in Puget Sound near Seattle. It was later determined that her mother must have died, leaving the orphaned orca to fend for herself at an age when most calves are still reliant upon their parent.

Twelve years later, Springer has been spotted thriving in the wild near Vancouver with her pod and a healthy young calf by her side — proving that the bonds of a family can persevere beyond our intervention and the walls of captivity.

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When biologists first found Springer, they were able to uncover Springer’s origins after matching her calls for help to the unique vocalizations of a known pod — but the group had already moved on — almost 250 miles to the north.

Over the next several months, the lonely killer whale lingered and languished, never straying far from the only companionship she could find. Springer could frequently be seen approaching boats. The kind of behavior, experts said, that was driven by her need for social interaction.

The story of Springer’s sad predicament eventually gained international attention, and when experts noticed that her health was deteriorating, it spurred a heated debate over whether something should be done to help. Support for the idea was mixed even among wildlife activists, who feared that if the orca was taken to receive medical treatment, there would be a chance she’d never be released.

“It’s going to be heart-breaking if we see the worst thing happen, which is to see her die,” Donna Sandstrom of Orca Alliance told Seattle’s KING 5 News at the time. “But we would rather bear that heartbreak than to know she’s enduring it alone in a concrete tank.”

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Eventually, after careful coordination, it was decided that Springer would be captured, rehabilitated, and with any luck, reintegrated into her pod in the wild. She was moved from the Sound and transported to a sea pen, where she was fed to gain weight and her health improved, though some were concerned that she might have grown too accustomed to human assistance.

After a month in captivity, Springer was loaded into a small pool atop a catamaran and ferried hundreds of miles north to where her relatives had been spotted. As the pod moved near, the orphaned orca was set free and she hurriedly swam to join them.

Biologists continued to monitor Springer in the days and weeks that followed, and were stunned to watch as she was welcomed back into the pod nearly six months after becoming lost.

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For marine mammal specialists, Springer’s release came as proof that orcas could persevere despite knowing captivity.

“This is a great experiment that is a success. We are very happy,” Michael Harris of the Orca Conservancy told KOMO 4 News. “She’s with her family now. She’s fat, she’s happy. We’ve been holding our breath for a long, long time and this is great news.”

Every year since then Springer has been seen in the company of her pod near Vancouver, seemingly unencumbered by her time in captivity. But this year, her visit was extra special — she was with a calf who had survived the crucial first year of its life.

“They appear to be healthy and robust… normal in every way. Great stuff,” wrote Lance Barrett-­Lennard, head of the Marine Mammal Research Program at the Vancouver Aquarium.

“This sighting is great news for everyone interested in the welfare of killer whales off the west coast of North America — and will be particularly gratifying to those who were involved in the many aspects of Springer’s identification, assessment, rescue, rehabilitation, transportation and release 12 years ago.”

Springer’s successful reintegration back into the wild with her pod, despite her prolonged interaction and dependency on humans, stands counter to the argument that orcas currently held at marine parks like SeaWorld must remain that way for the rest of their lives.

Truth is, no one knows what invisible bonds continue to tie captive killer whales to their families in the wild, or what other happy reunions, like Springer’s, could be awaiting them.

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Famous orca back in B.C. waters with her calf

An orphaned killer whale who made headlines around the world when she was reunited with her pod off he coast of British Columbia has re-appeared — with her own thriving calf in tow.ImageImage

By: The Canadian Press, Published on Wed Jun 11 2014
VANCOUVER—An orphaned killer whale who made headlines around the world when she was reunited with her pod off the coast of British Columbia has re-appeared — with her own thriving calf in tow.

Whale researchers spotted Springer this week in the Inside Passage off B.C.’s North Coast. “They appear to be healthy and robust . . . normal in every way,” Lance Barrett-Lennard from Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Research Program, wrote in an email from the field. “Great stuff.”

Springer — or A73 — was two years old in January 2002 when she was found in Puget Sound, near Seattle, Wash., ailing and separated from her pod of northern resident killer whales. Her mother was dead.

Unlikely to survive on her own, she was captured and confined in a huge ocean net pen for about a month while Canadian and American officials came up with a plan.

On July 13, 2002, Springer was transported by high-speed catamaran to Blackfish Sound, near Alert Bay off northern Vancouver Island, and held in a floating net pen until her pod appeared.

She is believed to be the first orca to be rescued, rehabilitated and successfully released back into the wild.

Springer and her calf — A104 — were first seen last year and the latest sighting is reassuring to biologists that the young whale has survived the most dangerous period of life for the animals.

“This sighting is great news for everyone interested in the welfare of killer whales off the west coast of North America — and will be particularly gratifying to those who were involved in the many aspects of Springer’s identification, assessment, rescue, rehabilitation, transportation and release 12 years ago,” Barrett-Lennard wrote to the aquarium.

The northern resident pod that remains year-round in the coastal waters of central and northern B.C. is listed as threatened in Canada.

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Orca Conservancy’s, Michael Harris, Receives Appreciation Award for 15 Years of Orca Advocacy

Whale advocate Michael Harris pulled together Graham Nash, Joan Jett, Country Joe and others who joined Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart in an Earth Day concert in a killer benefit for killer whales. (http://www.king5.com/news/environment/EMP-hosts-Earth-Day-benefit-for-whales-256275691.html). 1977457_10152370661739860_7758163175408055083_n

With all the recent controversy surrounding captive orcas, Ann and Nancy Wilson decided it was high time to celebrate the wild ones. The Earth Day concert and subsequent hour-long broadcast special are being produced by Seattle-based network journalist (ABC News and others) and wildlife filmmaker Michael Harris, together with EMP Museum.  The sponsors are Guitar Center and the Pacific Whale Watch Association.

“Ann and Nancy and I worked together several years ago on a syndicated series for young people entitled ‘Baby Wild Films Presents,’ with Nancy hosting and narrating,” remembers Harris.

“One of those specials we did was called ‘The Killer Whale People,’ and so I had the pleasure of taking Nancy out with our orcas.  She’s always been a great advocate for animals and wildlife, but I think it was her first time seeing orcas in the wild, and she was hooked.” So much so, in fact, that the Wilsons teamed up with longtime songwriting partner Sue Ennis and wrote a song about orcas called “Baby Wild,” which Nancy performed in a wonderful beach campfire scene (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIbMrwbFpi8) that ends the special, and then later recorded in studio with seven-time ASCAP Award-winning Hollywood composer and Baby Wild Films Executive Producer Tim Truman.

The show went on to win several Emmy Awards. “I’ve been doing network television for over 25 years now and that experience still tops the list,” Harris said.  “I’ve spent a good part of my life amongst whales and wildlife, but watching Nancy see these wild orcas for the first time was a kick.  It was like I was seeing them for the first time too, through her eyes. This legendary rock-and-roller, this power chord guitar slinger, suddenly became a kid again. You could see the transformation, as I’ve seen with so many others who experience orcas in the wild.  But most importantly, Nancy immediately made the connection that this isn’t Shamu – this is the real SeaWorld, this is where orcas belong.  As she says in the show, this is where orcas reach for the sky, but not on command.’  

When I was asked to approach Ann and Nancy about doing this benefit, I think I got a ‘yes’ from them in about five minutes. “And having Graham Nash want to take part in this show is just amazing,” Harris continues. “We’ve now got two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, and one future Hall of Famer, all donating their incredibly valuable time and talents to help the whales. I’ve been a huge fan of Graham’s all of my life. We all are. Graham’s not just royalty in the world of music, he’s also a hero to many of us for the causes he’s taken on, from social justice to stopping wars to fighting to protect the planet and wildlife.  Very few people understand like Graham Nash the power music has to make change.” Screen shot 2014-04-27 at 1.22.36 PM

ORCA CONSERVANCY is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1996 as the Tokitae Foundation, calling for the retirement of Tokitae, also known as Lolita, a Southern Resident orca captured in Puget Sound, Washington in August 1970 and now living alone in Miami Seaquarium, the smallest killer whale tank in the United States.

In 2000 the group changed its name to Orca Conservancy, broadening its mission to do everything possible to help Lolita’s family back in the Sound, to ensure healthy fish runs, to clean up toxic sites, to encourage responsible whale watching, and to prevent an oil spill that in one fell swoop could wipe the population out. And if they ever got into trouble with people, or even if they just happened to run aground on their own, Orca Conservancy resolved to move fast to marshall the public, financial and political support needed to get them out of harm’s way and right back to being wild whales again.

To keep them from going into a tank in the first place.

Under the leadership of Seattle-based television producer and filmmaker Michael Harris and fellow Board Members Fred Fellman, MSc., artist and orca researcher Kelley Balcomb-Bartok, five-term Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro, former Friday Harbor Port Commissioner Brian Calvert, and Friends of the San Juans Executive Director Stephanie Buffum, Orca Conservancy took part and often the lead in an impressive series of campaigns on behalf of whales. The group fulfilled its new mission immediately, being the first on the scene and then part of the operations team leading a highly publicized, successful rescue of a seal-hunting orca stranded on Dungeness Spit, Washington in December 2001.

Orca Conservancy became a petitioner to list the Puget Sound’s Southern Resident orcas under the Endangered Species Act. It was rejected — the feds said our Southern Residents weren’t “significant.” But against all odds and with almost no money, Orca Conservancy took on the Bush Administration. OC joined four other groups and sued NOAA Fisheries. And under the determined counsel of EarthJustice and the Center for Biological Diversity, the plaintiffs won an historic U.S. District Court case that secured the orcas their first-ever federal protection under ESA.

As Orca Conservancy waged whale wars in one of the nation’s highest courts, the group became a central player and prolific media advocate for the orphaned Northern Resident orca A73, or Springer, in what would become the first-ever successful rescue and repatriation of a wild killer whale (See “THE SPRINGER FILE”). Two of OC’s Board Members lived in Seattle at the time, so they say this little wayward calf sorta fell into their backyard, sick and alone, 250 miles from her home waters. Fred and Michael recall it was almost a “civic duty” to help keep an eye on her, to protect her and keep humans away. They fought to get the feds to act on behalf of Springer. And then when they did give the green light, Orca Conservancy porpoised the airwaves and every angel we knew, enlisting a wave of public support and helping to raise over a quarter-million dollars to get her home. All that was needed. The rest is history.

The group has been involved in other successful campaigns — and some that were not. Orca Conservancy led a similar effort to rescue and repatriate the wayward young orca L98, or Luna, a Southern Resident alone in Nootka Sound, BC, working the project literally to the 11th hour, only to see it fall apart — largely, we think, because of the spectacular failings of a few bureaucrats on the Canadian side, the pecking of a clutch of activist hens in the U.S., and the maneuverings of one marine circus clown (see “THE LUNA FILE”). The whole thing turned into a side show. We had just hit a home run with Springer, out of the park, and now this new team was striking out wildly with Luna. After a few weeks, DFO Canada just checked out altogether, leaving our displaced Southern Resident treasure to his own devices. The First Nations tried their best to be kukawiin guardians, but the federal stewardship funds soon ran dry. Luna would spend the next year-and-a-half of his life hounded by his Human Pod, pursued by lookiloos and video cameras, until finally as we feared he nuzzled up to a familiar seagoing tug on a stormy day, with hoots and come-hithers from the crew, everyone looking to get that great Shamu shot — it was Luna’s last photo op. He got sucked into the propeller tube of the tug and was killed.

The tragic and avoidable death of this extraordinary creature was devastating to Orca Conservancy. It almost killed our organization. Many of us went our separate ways. Some got married, some had kids. OC went into a “dormant” stage, if you will, stepping out of the white-hot media spotlight, taking time to regroup and regain perspective.

But that didn’t mean we stopped working. We quietly engaged at important times as NOAA Fisheries moved ahead on its ESA-mandated orca recovery effort, making sure its actions weren’t disproportionate to the levels of threat to the population. Salmon and herring recovery. No fish, no blackfish. Clean up the toxic hotspots, including ag runoff. Get a good oil-spill response plan in place. Stop picking on whale watchers, who are part of the solution, not the problem. At times we seem to be the only ones trying to keep the feds honest — maybe because OC never became a NOAA contractor, while other non-profits have gone on the ESA dole. Funny how that works. We kept advancing our mission in other material ways, namely in helping to craft new guidelines for responsible, sustainable whale watching in the Pacific Northwest. Michael even serves part-time now as Executive Director of the Pacific Whale Watch Association, representing 33 operators in BC and Washington, who take out over a half-million passengers a year. Our organization now has a direct line to the most expansive platform for orca conservation in the region.

Orca Conservancy also spent the last few years compiling our vast news archive resources, all of these invaluable assets we’ve collected since 1996, and to make them accessible to conservationists around the world. To learn from our collective experiences, good and bad, to show — maybe even inspire — others that no matter who you are or how much money you have, or if you happen to have a full-time job doing something else (we all do), you can build a fire to light the world — as long as you don’t mind getting burned now and then.

We’ve come out of a lot of fires, and hope to jump into more. That’s our wisdom.  And Luna proved to be a wake-up call, a realization that sometimes the worst things that can happen to whales are some of us humans who say we’re saving them. There needs to be a better way to do this. That’s what Orca Conservancy is always trying to do, to find that new paradigm in conservation and advocacy. Strategic strikes, not social clubs. To make resounding and enduring change, as we did with Springer and the ESA case, as we’re doing today to protect whales and dolphins here in the Pacific Northwest and around the world — all as volunteers.

We don’t pay ourselves anything — but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook! You can help the orcas by contributing a few bucks to ORCA TRUST, our “go-through” fund sending much-needed support directly to orca researchers in the field and projects helping whales. Your donation isn’t going to pay for computer campsters, newsletters and bumper stickers; it’s actually helping policy advocates and scientists save whales. It’s a killer way to show you care.

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PRESS RELEASE / MARCH 27, 2014 / KISS THE SKY!! ~ ORCA FREEDOM CONCERT

 

Screen shot 2014-03-27 at 6.26.15 AMMarch 27, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts: Michael Harris, Baby Wild Films (206) 465-6692; and Anita Woo, EMP Museum (206) 262-3245

WHAT: “Kiss the Sky!  The Orca Freedom Concert”

WHERE: EMP Museum’s “Sky Church” in Seattle, WA.

WHEN: Earth Day – the Evening of April 22, 2014 / Doors Open at 6:30pm, Show Starts at 7:30pm.

BENEFITTING: Wild Orca Research and Advocacy.

BENEFICIARIES: The Center for Whale Research, OrcaLab, and the International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute,  through the “Orca Trust” fund of Orca Conservancy, a Washington State 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

ARTISTS: Heart With Special Guest Graham Nash, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Arielle, Country Joe McDonald, Jami Sieber, and Andrew Morse.

PRODUCED BY: Michael Harris/Baby Wild Films and EMP Museum.

SPONSORS: Guitar Center and The Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA).

TICKETS: $100 General Donation; $500 VIP that includes a meet-and-greet with Heart, Joan Jett and other performers, whale watch trips aboard a PWWA member boat, and an invitation to join some of the artists and researchers on a special gray whale watch cruise the next morning out of Everett, WA.

March 26, 2014

HEART WITH SPECIAL GUEST GRAHAM NASH, JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS HEADLINE HISTORIC CONCERT IN SEATTLE TO BENEFIT WILD ORCA RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY

Graham Nash Now Slated to Perform at Earth Day Show / Tickets On Sale Through EMP Museum

With all the recent controversy surrounding captive orcas, Ann and Nancy Wilson decided it was high time to celebrate the wild ones.

The Wilsons – now joined by special guest Graham Nash – and Joan Jett and The Blackhearts will headline an historic concert in Seattle at EMP Museum’s spectacular “Sky Church” this Earth Day, April 22nd, to benefit wild orca research and advocacy.  Joining Heart and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts will be Country Joe McDonald of “Woodstock” fame, cellist Jami Sieber, and New York-based musician and activist Andrew Morse. Also on the bill for “Kiss the Sky! The Orca Freedom Concert” is an extraordinary up-and-coming LA-based singer/songwriter and guitar virtuoso Arielle, a protégé of Queen’s Brian May. The event will be emceed by legendary radio personality Norman B.

The Earth Day concert and subsequent hour-long broadcast special are being produced by Seattle-based network journalist (ABC News and others) and wildlife filmmaker Michael Harris, together with EMP Museum.  The sponsors are Guitar Center and the Pacific Whale Watch Association.

“Ann and Nancy and I worked together several years ago on a syndicated series for young people entitled ‘Baby Wild Films Presents,’ with Nancy hosting and narrating,” remembers Harris.  “One of those specials we did was called ‘The Killer Whale People,’ and so I had the pleasure of taking Nancy out with our orcas.  She’s always been a great advocate for animals and wildlife, but I think it was her first time seeing orcas in the wild, and she was hooked.”

So much so, in fact, that the Wilsons teamed up with longtime songwriting partner Sue Ennis and wrote a song about orcas called “Baby Wild,” which Nancy performed in a wonderful beach campfire scene that ends the special, and then later recorded in studio with seven-time ASCAP Award-winning Hollywood composer and Baby Wild Films Executive Producer Tim Truman.  The show went on to win several Emmy Awards.

“I’ve been doing network television for over 25 years now and that experience still tops the list,” Harris said.  “I’ve spent a good part of my life amongst whales and wildlife, but watching Nancy see these wild orcas for the first time was a kick.  It was like I was seeing them for the first time too, through her eyes. This legendary rock-and-roller, this power chord guitar slinger, suddenly became a kid again. You could see the transformation, as I’ve seen with so many others who experience orcas in the wild.  But most importantly, Nancy immediately made the connection that this isn’t Shamu – this is the real SeaWorld, this is where orcas belong.  As she says in the show, ‘this is where orcas reach for the sky, but not on command.’  When I was asked to approach Ann and Nancy about doing this benefit, I think I got a ‘yes’ from them in about five minutes.

“And having Graham Nash want to take part in this show is just amazing,” Harris continues. “We’ve now got two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, and one future Hall of Famer, all donating their incredibly valuable time and talents to help the whales. I’ve been a huge fan of Graham’s all of my life. We all are. Graham’s not just royalty in the world of music, he’s also a hero to many of us for the causes he’s taken on, from social justice to stopping wars to fighting to protect the planet and wildlife.  Very few people understand like Graham Nash the power music has to make change.”

Other artists also were quick to sign on to “Kiss the Sky! The Orca Freedom Concert.” Country Joe McDonald, who delivered one of the most enduring performances at Woodstock (“I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag”), is coming up from San Francisco to play, lending the event another distinctive connection to music activism of the past.  And longtime animal advocate Joan Jett, who doesn’t usually do benefit shows, jumped at the invitation – for the whales, of course, but also for an opportunity to share the bill with Ann and Nancy Wilson, whom Joan credits with taking her under her wing early in her career, dating back to an early ‘80s gig with Heart and Queen, an experience that otherwise would have been nerve-wracking for a young rocker like her.

“Joan also feels like Seattle has adopted her,” explains her producer Kenny Laguna. “Back in the grunge days, all the great bands there embraced Joan Jett and The Blackhearts.  The did a bunch of shows together.  She loves Seattle, loves Ann and Nancy, loves EMP, and is thrilled to be a part of this event.”

The venue is “Sky Church,” the main performance space inside the spectacular Frank Gehry-designed EMP Museum at the base of Seattle’s Space Needle. With a 65-foot ceiling, 33′ x 60′ LED screen behind the stage, and amazing acoustics, it’s unlike any venue in the world, and is the embodiment of Jimi Hendrix’s writings in his journal – some of his last, in fact – where he envisions a place where people of all ages, interests and backgrounds could come together to experience music.  It’s central to the concept for EMP Museum, and quite a fitting theme for this benefit show.

“Kiss the Sky! The Orca Freedom Concert” will be a night of music. There are no major speeches slated in the program. The evening is going to be an extremely positive, forward-thinking event that celebrates the totem species of the Pacific Northwest, and encourages people to support the groups who are working so hard to recover these endangered orcas and advocate for their well-being and freedom. Beneficiaries for the show are The Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island, OrcaLab on BC’s Hanson Island, and Berkeley-based Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project, through the “Orca Trust Fund” of Seattle-based 501(c)(3) non-profit Orca Conservancy, a longtime advocate for the Pacific Northwest’s wild – and endangered – orcas.

Tickets are now on sale through the EMP Museum website. General admission/donation is $100, with a limited number of VIP tickets at $500, which include a meet-and-greet with Heart, Joan Jett and other artists before the show, two whale watch passes with any of the 33 member operators of the Pacific Whale Watch Association in Washington and British Columbia, and a very special gray whale watch cruise with some of the performers and scientists the next morning aboard the beautiful 101-foot Island Explorer 3, donated for the day by Island Adventures Whale Watching. Plus, an extremely cool bag of orca schwag.

“Kiss the Sky! The Orca Freedom Concert” will be an amazing event – great music, awesome venue, and “top of the food chain” beneficiaries, our killer whales.

EMP Museum / www.empmuseum.org

Kiss the Sky! The Orca Freedom Concert / www.orcafreedomconcert.org

Baby Wild Films / www.babywildfilms.com

The Center for Whale Research / www.whaleresearch.com

OrcaLab / www.orcalab.org

Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project / www.immp.eii.org

Orca Conservancy / www.orcaconservancy.org

Pacific Whale Watch Association / www.pacificwhalewatchassociation.org

Guitar Center / www.guitarcenter.com

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