Join local cetacean experts for an evening of whale education, discussion, and networking! 

Are you a marine naturalist located in the Pacific Northwest? Keen to learn about local marine mammal research and much more? Join us online this June 24 for Naturalist Night 2021!

This free online event will consist of two keynote presentations from Jared Towers and Rhonda Reidy on cutting edge research in marine mammalogy. We will also host a series of breakout sessions to discuss topics of interest in conservation. There will be two breakout sessions, with two rooms running concurrently. * *All sessions will be recorded for later viewing.


1800 Introduction from Ocean Wise’s B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network
1810 Jared Towers: Curating Killer Whales

Breakout Session 1:

Under the Surface: Diving into the Biodiversity of the Salish Sea, hosted by the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea


Engaging Kids in Environmental Stewardship, hosted by Sea Smart

1910 ~Break~
1920 Welcome back
1925 Rhonda Reidy: Subsurface Sampling of Humpback Whale Feeding and Prey Characteristics

Breakout Session 2:

Where the Whales Are: Best Practices for Marine Mammal Viewing Experiences, hosted by Jackie Hildering a.k.a. The Marine Detective


Careers in Marine Mammalogy, hosted by Ocean Wise’s North Coast Cetacean Research Initiative – Karina Dracott and Julie Merchel

2025 Thank Yous and Goodbyes
**Please note all times are in PST



Jared Towers – Curating Killer Whales
Jared Towers is an ecologist, author, and skipper whose work revolves around studying the movements, abundance and behaviour of cetacean populations, primarily killer whales, using photo-identification and telemetry. He directs several cetacean research initiatives in Canada and elsewhere, and when not at sea can usually be found in Alert Bay, BC – “Home of the Killer Whale” where he resides in the traditional territory of the ‘Namgis First Nation.



Rhonda Reidy – Subsurface sampling of humpback whale feeding and prey characteristics in southern B.C.
Rhonda Reidy is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biology at the University of Victoria. Her work combines biologging and fisheries acoustics methods for more comprehensive insights into humpback whale foraging behaviour under water. Rhonda has authored publications about marine mammal-fishery interactions in B.C. including “Geoduck Clam Demographics and Mortality Rates in the Presence of Sea Otters and Commercial Harvesting” and “Understanding the Barriers to Reconciling Marine Mammal-Fishery Conflicts”. She previously worked as a marine naturalist and RHIB skipper in the Victoria whale watching industry from 1997 to 2017, and since 2005, as lead Marine Mammal Observer on multiple offshore geophysical surveys in B.C., the North Atlantic, and the Canadian Beaufort Sea.




  • Option 1 – Under the Surface: Diving into the Biodiversity of the Salish Sea
    Join Tina Kelly from the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea to learn about the abundance of life that lives off our coast. Tina Kelly is the Director of Learning & Communications at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, a not-for-profit community organization, that connects the public with the Salish Sea Bioregion and its ecosystems through engagement, knowledge and awareness.
  • Option 2 – Engaging Kids in Environmental Stewardship
    Paloma Corvalan will share tips and tricks for educating and engaging with kids and younger audiences. Paloma is the Programs Manager at Sea Smart, a Vancouver-based charity that inspires people to love and protect our oceans. Paloma creates and delivers programs that connect kids to nature and empower them to protect the environment.


  • Option 1 – Where the Whales Are: Best Practices for Marine Mammal Viewing Experiences
    The focus of this breakout session is on best practices for advertising and marketing marine mammal viewing experiences. Jackie Hildering of the Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) will provide highlights from the workshop on ethical advertising conducted in partnership with the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association (NIMMSA) and Tourism Vancouver Island.
  • Option 2 – Careers in Marine Mammalogy
    Karina Dracott and Julie Merchel are based at Ocean Wise’s North Coast Cetacean Research Initiative in Prince Rupert where they conduct research on local cetacean species including humpback whales and harbour porpoises. Join them to find out how they got started in their careers and learn what it’s really like to be a marine mammal biologist.


***This is a FREE event but registration is required. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. 


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