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Sentinels of the Sound

"Harbor Seal Day" a resounding success and helps raise awareness

An estimated 300 people took part in the festivities on “Harbor Seal Day” Sunday afternoon, as Seal Sitters hosted an event celebrating the dedication of Georgia Gerber’s “Sentinels of the Sound” sculpture of a harbor seal mom and pup.

The Alki Bathhouse was filled to the brim with educational exhibits and children creating jellyfish, seal puppets and other cool sea creatures. Shown at right is one of Seal Sitters’ first responders and talented artist Lynn Shimamoto (with her 6 year old grandaughter) in the puppet show booth she created for kids to enjoy. Just outside, lots of folks had fun posing for photos, poking their heads through the painted underwater scene (check back for a gallery of submitted photos - email your photo of the puppet show or underwater scene here).

See the post here for Art and Story contest winners and the great donated prizes the kids won.

Many, many hours were devoted to the day’s event and many thanks to all of the awesome volunteers who helped out in the weeks before the event, designing posters and displays, craft projects for children, posting flyers and getting word out to the media. And to those who helped out Sunday, picking up the many specialty cakes, setting up (and breaking down) chairs, stages, tables, artwork, helping exhbitors - all the tasks that go into pulling off a major event. Everyone who helped deserves huge kudos.

Special thanks as well to Chas Redmond and Tony Fragada who donated their time to provide professional sound for the event.

Our outstanding exhibitors included the Seattle Aquarium, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, The Whale Trail, NOAA Marine Debris Division, Tox-ick, NOAA Marine Mammal Stranding Network and Sno-King Marine Mammal Response, PAWS Wildlife Center (with a fascinating inside look at seal pup rehabilitation), Killer Whale Tales, Soundside Marinelife Rescue. Huge thanks to all of you who donated your Sunday afternoon to help us celebrate and educate the public! So many people remarked how wonderful the exhibits were and how much information they gleaned from those staffing the tables.

Local businesses generously donated great prizes to help Seal Sitters raise money to fund our on-going operating expenses, including dedicated hotline costs, webhosting fees, and stranding and educational materials. Donors included Alki Kayak, Mountain to Sound Outfitters, Phoenecia Restaurant, NW Art and Frame, Bakery Nouveau, Sunfish Seafood Restaurant and Saigon Boat Cafe.

Spud Fish and Chips, Bamboo Bar and Grill, Subway on Alki and Hotwire Coffee ran special promotions to benefit Seal Sitters.

QFC Bakery on 42nd Ave SW and Baked Seattle donated specialty cakes for the event. West Seattle Thriftway and Seattle Costco donated gift cards used for food for volunteers and exhibitors. Saigon Boat Cafe provided delicious sandwiches for hungry volunteers, too. Starbucks on Alki donated coffee to keep us going for the day.

Master of Ceremonies Jim Dever (of Evening Magazine fame) was the perfect “host” for our dedication ceremony. His witty interlude with young Seal Sitters was a highlight of the program. Kid vols Etienne, Elizabeth and Louisa answered questions with great poise and authority.

We were honored to have Ken Workman (great-great-great-great grandson of Chief Sealth) of the Duwamish give a welcoming message. National Geographic author and co-founder of Seal Sitters Brenda Peterson gave an engaging overview of our work. Many thanks to Department of Neighborhoods’ Bernie Matsuno and State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon for respectively reading Mayor McGinn and Governor Jay Inslee’s “Harbor Seal Day” proclamations.

Georgia’s stunning work, “Sentinels of the Sound”, will grace Alki Beach for many, many years to come and raise public awareness of the need to share the shore with all wildlife. We cannot begin to express our gratitude.

Click here to download the “Harbor Seal Day” Program listing all participants and acknowledgements.

Both the West Seattle Herald and the West Seattle Blog gave the event generous coverage in weeks leading up to and day of the event. Thanks to Patrick Robinson (WS Herald) and Tracy Record (WS Blog) for your on-going support! Please visit their links below.

West Seattle Herald (article and slideshow): http://www.westseattleherald.com/2013/09/08/news/slideshow-sentinels-sound-sculpture-dedicated-alk

West Seattle Blog (photos and video): http://westseattleblog.com/2013/09/video-photos-harbor-seal-day-report-2-seal-sitters-big-splash

Countdown to "Harbor Seal Day" - win great raffle prizes!

Seal Sitters volunteers are busy tying up loose ends for tomorrow afternoon’s highly anticipated public event, “Harbor Seal Day”, at the Alki Bathhouse. Cakes have been picked up, videos tweaked, programs are printed. It will be a busy morning as volunteers will be at the sculpture site early, sweeping the installation and dusting the “Sentinels of the Sound”. The sculpture dedication ceremony will be held at 1:30.

The culmination of our “Year of the Seal” educational outreach project, the Bathhouse will be open from 1-4pm and will be filled with marine-related environmental groups.There will be crafts for kids - even a puppet show booth. Groove to the smooth sounds of “Seals Love Jazz Quintet”, led by Sno-King Marine Mammal Response’s very own lead investigator, Rachel Mayer.

Local businesses have donated some great raffle prizes, among those are restaurant gift certificates and a sunset kayak tour for 2 by Alki Kayak. Bamboo Bar and Grill, Spud Fish and Chips and Subway along Alki Ave are having food promotions tomorrow (Spud’s special is today AND tomorrow) and will be making donations to Seal Sitters based on sales. For a list of the super raffle prizes (tickets only $1) and promotions, click here.

We hope to see you there!

WA Governor Inslee declares September 8th "Harbor Seal Day"

At the request of Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network, recently elected Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed Sunday, September 8th “Harbor Seal Day”. Included in the proclamation is the message to all Washington residents across our state to join Governor Inslee and help keep our waters free of trash and toxins, and to “share the shore” with harbor seals and all wildlife.

Please help us celebrate “Harbor Seal Day” this Sunday afternoon - meet “Sentinels of the Sound” sculpture artist Georgia Gerber and visit the educational exhibits by 10 marine-related organizations in the Alki Bathhouse. There will be kids’ activities, music and cake as well!

Thank you so much, Governor Inslee! We appreciate your commitment to restore the health of Puget Sound and the marine life that calls it “home”.

Read the full proclamation here.

Read more about Seal Sitters’ “Year of the Seal: Sentinels of the Sound” year-long educational outreach project here.

Sentinels of the Sound sculpture finally hauls out on Alki Beach

Early Thursday morning, prominent NW sculptor Georgia Gerber, Randy Hudson (husband and fellow artist) and Virginia Keck (decades-long assistant) made the long trek from Whidbey Island with the “Sentinels of the Sound” sculpture carefully secured in the back of their pickup. Arriving at Alki Beach at 6:30am, they were met by several Seal Sitters volunteers, eager to help with the installation of the long-awaited sculpture.

Several hours later, after precise measurements and boring of holes, the sculpture was bolted and cemented into place onto the rock especially designed to support it, courtesy of the artistry of Turnstone Construction. The work is the culmination of Seal Sitters’ Year of the Seal educational outreach project.

4-year-old Max was the very first person to pose for a photo op with the newly installed piece - and a steady stream of admirers, young and old, has followed suit throughout the weekend.

A dedication ceremony will take place on “Harbor Seal Day”, September 8th at 1:30 at the installation site just north of the Alki Bathhouse (2701 Alki Ave SW). The public will have an opportunity to meet and thank Georgia for this stunning work of art. The Bathhouse will be open from 1-4pm, featuring environmental groups and children’s activities.

Check back for a video of the installation of the sculpture.
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