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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 2005 study showed that the harbor seals of South Puget Sound were 7 times more contaminated with pollutants 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.
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