Tamar Griggs

When I was a child, my Father took us camping in the San Juan Islands.

At night we often heard the Blackfish (Killer Whales) blowing and splashing close to shore; I was thrilled by the mystery and power of these large animals in the sea.

 may have heard Granny (J2!!)

In 1969 I was performing a 60 second dance solo choreographed by Twyla Tharp in Central Park, NYC. It was an evening of unknown choreographers. One of the pieces (not Twyla’s) was danced to the Sounds of the Humpback Whales. I wept when I heard those mysterious, powerful songs in the sea, as I had recently sailed the Atlantic in a 40-foot sloop and I had no idea whales were making sounds in the deep! I became passionate about “Saving the Whales” and created “Whale Workshops for Children”. These I taught in NYC and later in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver, BC when I moved back “home”

I wanted to inspire children to identify with whales by imagining that they were whales, because if you identify with an animal and love it, you will want to protect it. We did a lot of creative movement, writing and painting while learning about the biology of whales.

The original paintings and poems by children were made into a Smithsonian Exhibition that travelled throughout Canada and the US for two years, and were published in a book: “There’s a Sound in the Sea – a Child’s-Eye View of the Whale” (Scrimshaw Press, SF 1975).

Although some whales have recovered after strict restrictions on no hunting (Grey Whales and Humpback Whales), our Orcas in the Salish Sea are in a very fragile situation, and I am deeply concerned we might lose them.

Today these whales are on the brink of extinction from starvation and pollution. We must act NOW to make sure that these magnificent beings which have become deeply loved by many people, once again thrive in a clean and abundant Salish Sea.