With even higher attendance expected this year, the theme of Superpod5 is all about, ‘The Future’.
“I believe we’ll have over 300 attendees travel from places all over the world,” said Ventre, “Drs. Naomi Rose, Lori Marino and Ingrid Visser will be in attendance, as will Lincoln O’Barry of the Dolphin Project.”
In the tradition of allowing the wild killer whales to inspire members of the general public, we hope to attract as many whale lovers as possible. This year, we feature some incredible youth leaders like Katie Emmons, Ella Van Cleave (Dolphin Project Youth Ambassador), and Mariah Kirby, who are presenting at the event. My sister, Kim, is the lead organizer this year, and has put in a lot of time pulling it together. It should be the best ever — Jeffrey Ventre.
Dr. Jeffrey Ventre, Ella Van Cleave and Samantha Berg at SP3. Image: Elizabeth Batt
Superpod6 and a Special Announcement from Voice of the Orcas
It’s clear that the annual gathering on San Juan Island is growing in both attendance and importance with each passing year. Ventre told Dolphin Project,”it has been instrumental in getting scientists, activists, ex-trainers, and whale lovers, on the same page with engaging and informative presentations, and of course both Southern Resident and transient orcas.”
All four members of VOTO enjoy professional careers of their own, and from the moment the event concludes, the team has to switch gears to consider the forthcoming year. To make the schedule more manageable, the group has made the decision to turn Superpod into a biennial event. VOTO believes this will allow for more downtime and present an opportunity to involve more expert presenters.
“We’ve discussed taking a year off like we did in 2013, and also pushing the event into mid-September”, Ventre explained, adding that the Superpod event requires months of planning, securing venues, and taking care of whale-watching trips. “We plan on coming back stronger than ever in 2018,” he said, “and we already know the dates.”
Superpod6 will return to San Juan Island July 16-20, 2018.
Event organizer and now whale-watch captain Jeff Friedman, with Dr. Ingrid Visser. Jeff has been key in helping to organize all SP events since SP2. Image: Courtesy Voice of the Orcas
There are no registration fees to the public for attending this event which is put together by dozens of hours of volunteerism, every year. Further details are available at Superpod’s official home on the web and the Voice of the Orcas blog site.
Image courtesy: Voice of the Orcas
Kim Ventre, Dr. Ventre’s sister and one of the lead organizers for Superpod5 has witnessed the growth of the event since Superpod1. She told Dolphin Project:
The first Superpod was just my brother informally coordinating a small group of friends and orca lovers to meet in the San Juan Islands to see wild killer whales. Funny enough, people showed up. Because all of the SeaWorld whistleblowers were gathered in one place, David Kirby came to do interviews for Death at SeaWorld and Gabriela Cowperthwaite arrived bringing the Blackfish film crew. It rained, we ate take-out pizza and sat on living room floors listening to scientists discuss cetaceans, captivity, and the Southern Residents. Fast forward to Superpod5 and there is so much going on. We have four days of programming with formal presentations, a full scholar advocacy day, whale watching from shore and sea, new films, books and hundreds of attendees from all over the world. Amazing how wholistic the event has become with sessions on ecosystems, ocean health, social media, school curriculums, legislative updates, and more. Not bad for a free event in a difficult-to-reach destination.
For those planning to attend this year, please do stop by and say hello to the Dolphin Project crew. Lincoln O’Barry will be presenting Wednesday, July 20, at the San Juan Community Theatre (check out our Twitter and Facebook page for announcement time), and you’ll also have the opportunity to meet several of our veteran Taiji, Cove Monitors. We hope to see you there.
Featured image: Southern Resident L92 ‘Crewser’/Elizabeth Batt