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public service announcement

Seal Sitters awarded matching fund grant

Seal Sitters is elated to announce that we have been awarded a Department of Neighborhood (DON) grant for our proposed educational outreach project, 2013: The Year of the Seal. The Neighborhood Matching Fund program awards are “matched” by volunteer labor, donated materials, donated professional services or cash. Seal Sitters volunteers will be donating many, many hours to this project, far exceeding the required match in volunteer hours, but will need to fundraise additional monies. Community involvement and mobilization will include art and essay participation by local students, culminated with the installation of a bronze sculpture of a mother seal and pup.

The most abundant marine mammals in Puget Sound, harbor seals are the ones the general public is most likely to encounter on our shores. Seal Sitters uses the image of a harbor seal pup as the “ambassador” for the marine life of Elliott Bay and Puget Sound. Harbor seals do not migrate and are year-round residents of our Salish Sea. They are considered by biologists to be an indicator species of the health of our waters. In fact, a 1999 study showed that the harbor seals of South Puget Sound were 7 times more polluted than those in Canada’s nearby Strait of Georgia (read more about the effects of marine pollution on our website). We, therefore, consider this species to represent the concerns we all have for preserving our natural world.

This outreach project will serve to remind us that ours is a fragile ecosystem. It will raise community consciousness about the importance of protecting our marine environment - and that of all marine life, including shorebirds, that call Puget Sound home. It will provide a unique educational message that our urban shores are home to many other species - and a reminder to “Share the Shore” with wildlife.

This will be the third DON grant awarded to Seal Sitters for educational outreach projects, including a public service announcement, street banners which are displayed along Alki Avenue during pupping season and informational beach signage. Read about these earlier accomplishments here. Thanks to DON for such amazing support and belief in our projects.

None of the funds from these matching fund grants cover Seal Sitters’ operating expenses. We receive no funding from NOAA, the State or the City of Seattle for our on-going expenses, such as dedicated hotline, web and blog costs, gas for first responders and stranding, training and educational materials. If you would like to donate to help defray these costs, please click here.

Seal Sitters is currently in conversations with Seattle Parks regarding details of the project. We should be able to give a full report on the project in the next couple of weeks.

Seal pups are tv stars - public service announcement airs

Our seal pups Queen Latifah, ET and Pebbles are now starring in Seal Sitters’ newly released PSA (public service announcement) which began airing on local tv stations this morning. KING 5 ran the PSA just before the Today Show - immense visibility for this very important message. Many, many thanks to KING 5! We are hoping that other stations in the area will begin broadcasting the :30 spot soon as well. This project was possible as a result of an in-kind grant awarded to Seal Sitters by the Neighborhood Matching Fund of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

Pupping season is just now beginning on the outer coast of Washington and Oregon. As you may know, last year there was a high visibility case of a couple who illegally removed a seal pup from the beach and took the pup back to their hotel. Thankfully, after the pup spent the night on the floor, they called authorities and the seal pup did survive after a long rehab at PAWS. There are many more human-involved incidents where the outcome is not such a happy one. The PSA stresses that it is normal for pups to be alone on the beach and to call the NW Stranding Network. This educational message will help keep both marine mammals and the public safe.

Huge thanks to Melinda Simon and John Larson of Gypsy Soul Productions for donating many hours to produce this professional message! Thanks also go to actress Tracey Conway (for her perfect voiceover) and sound engineer Jason Devore and Victory Studios - all who donated time and expertise to this project. Video footage by Robin Lindsey.
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