"Connecting whales and people in the Pacific Northwest"
Orca Network is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization registered in Washington State, dedicated to raising awareness about the whales of the Pacific Northwest, and the importance of providing them healthy and safe habitats. A community is emerging that is increasingly attuned to the orca population, that cares about and tries to understand the needs of the resident and transient orcas that inhabit the Salish Sea.
Orca Network is based in Freeland, Washington, USA, at:
485 Laqbella Vista Way
Freeland WA 98249
or toll-free at (866) ORCANET (672-2638)
or email Orca Network
the Whale Sighting Network,
the Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network,
Education Programs and
the Free Lolita campaign.
Please report whale sightings to:
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Orca Network board members are Howard Garrett, Susan Berta,
Dave Anderson, Karen Anderson, Jill Hein and Sandy Dupbernell.
See annual reports HERE.
Howard Garrett, Co-founder, Director and President of the Board
Howard received his degree in Sociology from Colorado College in 1980, and began working with the Center for Whale Research in 1981. In 1996 Garrett wrote Orcas In Our Midst, a booklet oriented toward middle-school students. Volume 2 of Orcas In Our Midst was published in 2005. Volume 3, Residents and Transients - How Did That Happen? was published in 2011. Garrett also wrote the entry under "Animal Culture" for the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005); and a chapter about the rescue of the solitary orca A73 (Springer), in Between Species. He co-founded Orca Network in November 2001 with Susan Berta.
Since 1995 Howard and Susan have conducted a campaign to return Lolita, the last survivor of the orcas captured from the Southern Resident community, from Miami to her home waters in Puget Sound. Howard provides educational presentations for students and community organizations, naturalist talks on the ferries, develops educational materials, and designs and maintains the Orca Network website.
Susan Berta, Co-founder, Volunteer/Event Coordinator and Treasurer of the Board
Susan co-founded Orca Network with Howard Garrett in November 2001, and serves as Treasurer and program coordinator for the organization. Susan also is coordinator and administrator for the Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network, overseeing volunteer training, stranding response, necropsy and sampling of stranded marine mammals in three counties.
Susan served on the board of the Tokitae Foundation/Orca Conservancy from 1996 - November 2001, and was the Program Coordinator for the Island County/WSU Beach Watchers program from its inception in 1989 until 2000. During this time she coordinated annual volunteer training courses for over 200 volunteers, implemented the Penn Cove Water Festival, served as a technical advisor to the Island County Marine Resource Committee, and created the annual community seminars Sound Waters and Wonders of Whidbey. During 2000/2001 Susan was the project lead on Maxwelton Salmon Adventure's Watershed Landowner Education and Involvement project. Susan received her Bachelor of Arts degree from The Evergreen State College in 1982. Her extensive experience in program management, volunteer coordination, and networking with marine-related agencies and environmental organizations over the past 20 years serves her well as project lead and Whale Sighting Network coordinator.
March 2009: Susan Berta was recognized by the League of Women Voters as one of “Whidbey Island’s Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet”
February 2004: Susan Berta and Howard Garrett were featured as “Hometown Heroes” in the South Whidbey Record, recognized for their work for orcas and Puget Sound.
July 2003: Susan was selected and honored by Governor Locke and the Puget Sound Action Team as one of four “Environmental Heroes” for her work with Orca Network to raise awareness of and track the Southern Resident Community of orcas.
January 2002: Susan Berta and Howard Garrett were chosen amongst the Everett Herald’s “People to Watch in 2002” for their efforts in orca education & advocacy.
In 2001 Howard and Susan were awarded "Puget Sound Hero" awards by People for Puget Sound, in recognition of their efforts in environmental education and orca awareness. Feature stories on Howard and Susan's whale sighting network and the Free Lolita campaign have appeared in the Everett Herald, South Whidbey Record, and the Whidbey News Times, and the Everett Herald featured Howard and Susan in their January 1, 2002 issue's front page story on "People to Watch in 2002". In January, 2006, Howard and Susan were featured as "Hometown Heros" in the South Whidbey Record.
Dave Anderson, Board Member
Dave is a former Washington State Representative, veterinarian, commercial fisherman, and an outspoken supporter of salmon restoration, the Free Lolita campaign, and efforts to protect the killer whales of Washington State.
After 20 years as a veterinarian, Dave sold his practice and converted their 20 acre farm into a par three golf course. It is designed to be environmentally friendly, using selective irrigation and minimal chemical inputs.
Dave has been a Parks and Recreation commissioner, a lay leader in the Langley United Methodist Church, and is active in the local community. He continues to spend time working with a community and school group to restore wild salmon runs to Maxwelton Creek. Dave seeks to broaden his, and his community's understanding of issues like long term viability, habitat preservation, and balance of natural systems. Dave is a founding member of the South Whidbey Schools Foundation. His wife Karen was a teacher, and later elected to the South Whidbey School Board for eight years. He also served on the Oil Spill Prevention Task Force and the Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team.
Sandy Dubpernell, Board Member
Sandy Dubpernell co-coordinates the Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network and is an Island County/WSU Beach Watcher. She also volunteers for the COAST program, surveying beaches for dead shorebirds, and for the Coupeville Art Cooperative where she shows and sells her beautiful stained and fused glass art pieces.
Fred Lundahl, Board Member
Fred moved to Whidbey Island in 2003 after retiring from 30 years in the United States Foreign Service. During his government service, he worked at American Embassies in Africa, Middle East, South Asia and the former Soviet Union. After moving to Langley, he and his wife opened a carpet and textile store called "Music for the Eyes." In addition to serving on the Orcanetwork Board, Fred has served on the Board of the Island Arts Council and is currently in his second year as president of the Langley Chamber of Commerce. His leisure time is spent kayaking and flying his Cessna.
Jill Hein, Board Member
Jill moved to Whidbey Island in 2004 after retiring as an administrator at Microsoft. She became an Island County/WSU Beach Watcher in 2005, volunteers with the COASST program, the Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network, has participated in bird banding with WSFWS, eelgrass studies with MRC, and various other conservation activities. When her 2 boys took off for college, she volunteered at Sarvey Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, still feeling the need to clean-up after someone (something), and was a Board member at Sarvey prior to moving to Whidbey Island. Bringing Lolita home is a huge priority, even though she’s on a quest to see as many different kinds whales as feasible, learning their life cycles and habitat.