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street banners

Banners go up along Alki as a reminder to Share the Shore

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As you drive, walk, skate or bike along Alki Avenue, you can’t help but notice Seal Sitters’ festive and educational “Share the Shore” banners hanging from street poles. Seal Sitters initiated the project as part of a Department of Neighborhoods grant for educational outreach in the West Seattle community in 2011.

The 10 banners, featuring a graphic illustration of a harbor seal pup, are displayed annually along the popular stretch of sandy Alki Beach - often busy with hundreds of people enjoying volleyball, frisbee, kayaking, biking and picnicking; the same Alki Beach where tired seal pups haul out to try to find a quiet place to rest.

In such an urban environment, it is a challenge for SSMMSN volunteers to keep them safe from harassment and harm.
The message “Share the Shore” is to reinforce that wildlife needs to - and is entitled to - use shoreline for resting and foraging. We should always allow them the sufficient space to do so, as it is critical in their struggle to survive.

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Seattle Parks and Recreation employee, James Lohman, is shown installing the street banners, which serve to remind residents and visitors that we are in the midst of pupping season in our area. September and October are typically our busiest response months in South and Central Puget Sound, as pups strike out on their own from area rookeries.

The banner artwork is by New York illustrator Nancy Stahl, based on a photograph of seal pup Shanti by SSMMSN Lead Investigator Robin Lindsey.

If you do come across a resting seal or sea lion on shore or have other marine mammal concerns, please contact Seal Sitters’ hotline at 206-905-SEAL (7325) with as much detailed information as you can provide. Until we can get a responder on the scene, please ask that people stay far back and leash and remove any dogs from the beach.

Download NOAA’s new Share the Shore handout here, with guidelines and species identification.

Street banners a reminder to "Share the Shore" with seal pups

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Any day now, or so we hope, tiny harbor seal pups will be visiting West Seattle shores to rest and warm up. Each September and October across South and Central Puget Sound, pups venture out on their own after being weaned in area rookeries, where hundreds of seals gather and there is safety in numbers.

No longer protected by their moms and naive to the dangers around them, the pups are vulnerable on urban beaches. Many will have never seen a human or off-leash dog.

Likewise, many people have never encountered a seal pup. They don’t understand that it’s normal for one to be alone on the beach. All seals need to rest 50% of the day out of the water, whether on land, docks or offshore platforms. While it is human nature to want to “help” a pup return to the water or feed him/her, that is truly the last thing that should be done. All marine mammals are protected from harassment by Federal and Washington State law (read the most common mistakes - and consequences here).

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Rest is critical to seal pups’ survival, with a 50% mortality the first year. More often than not, weaners struggle, losing the thick layer of blubber they gain by nursing on rich milk - blubber which provides warmth and energy. Now, they are dependent entirely on their own limited hunting skills. Along with dwindling numbers of small forage fish, such as herring, this can be a daunting task for a pup.

On Thursday morning, Dan Campau and James Lohman of Seattle Parks installed Seal Sitters’ “Share the Shore” street banners, which serve to remind residents and visitors that we are in the midst of pupping season in our area. The 10 graphic banners are hung annually from street poles along the popular stretch of sandy Alki Beach - busy with hundreds of people enjoying volleyball, frisbee, kayaking, biking and picnicking; the same Alki Beach where tired seal pups haul out to try to find a quiet place to rest. It is a challenge for SSMMSN volunteers to keep them safe from harassment and harm.

The banner artwork is by New York illustrator Nancy Stahl, based on an image by photographer (and SSMMSN Lead Investigator) Robin Lindsey. Seal Sitters initiated the project as part of a Department of Neighborhoods grant for educational outreach in the West Seattle community in 2011.

After a flurry of four newborn pups in West Seattle this June (only one survived), Seal Sitters MMSN has experienced an unusually quiet July and August. Each season seems to have its oddities and September and October are by far our busiest months. SSMMSN averages 200 responses to marine mammals annually in West Seattle (70% during seal pupping season). A whopping 90% of those responses are to harbor seal pups, who come ashore all along West Seattle’s miles of largely public-accessible shoreline.

If you see a pup on shore, please stay far back, leash and remove dogs from the beach (dogs are not allowed under any circumstances on Seattle beaches), and call Seal Sitters’ hotline @ 206-905-SEAL (7325).

Share the Shore banners go up along Alki Beach

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As you walk, bike or drive along Alki Avenue, it’s hard to miss the bold, graphic banners of a harbor seal now hanging from 10 street poles which stretch from the Bathhouse to Duke’s. Seattle Parks employees installed Seal Sitters’ Share the Shore banners there yesterday.

Designed to celebrate and raise awareness of the arrival of seal pups on our urban beaches, the banners are the result of an in-kind City of Seattle/Department of Neighborhoods (DON) grant which Seal Sitters secured in 2010. Artist Nancy Stahl created this beautiful illustration from a Robin Lindsey photograph of seal pup Shanti.

The graphics serve as a reminder that September and October are the height of harbor seal pupping season in South Puget Sound - and that it is not uncommon to encounter a resting pup on the beach. Pupping season is already well underway here in our area with the response over the past week to 5 seal pups on West Seattle beaches.

The 2010 and 2011 Seal Sitters’ educational outreach projects also included the installation of informational beach signage about seals and seal pups in locations across West Seattle. NOAA has since extended that beach signage across the region (and plans to extend installation to the Outer Coast of Washington). Read more here.

Many thanks to DON for the award that made this project possible - and we extend huge thanks to Seattle Department of Parks for their on-going cooperation and extreme generosity. We value our partnerships with local government.

So, please do remember to Share the Shore if you see a marine mammal on the beach and call our hotline as soon as possible at 206-905-SEAL (7325).

Share the Shore banners installed along Alki Beach

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Seattle Parks employees Dan and Rudy (shown here) installed Seal Sitters’ Share the Shore banners on street poles along Alki Beach on Wednesday. The banners are the result of an in-kind Department of Neighborhoods grant we secured in 2011. Read more about the banners and artist here.

The banners serve as a reminder that September and October are the height of harbor seal pupping season in South Puget Sound - and that it is not uncommon to encounter a resting pup on the beach.

The 10 banners are the culmination of a Seal Sitters’ educational outreach project that included the installation of informational signage about seals and seal pups in locations across West Seattle in 2010 and 2011. NOAA has extended that beach signage across the region. Read more here.

Huge thanks to Seattle Parks for hanging the banners and helping to make this project possible. And thanks to volunteers David and Larry for coordinating the installation.

Street banners celebrate pupping season

     
Early Thursday morning, Seal Sitters’ street banners were hung on lightpoles along Alki Beach. The project was the result of an in-kind grant award from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and celebrates the arrival of seal pups on our beaches. The banners serve to remind beachgoers that we do indeed need to “share the shore” with these smallest of marine mammals. The banners will be displayed September - October, the height of pupping season in South Puget Sound. Artist Nancy Stahl created this beautiful illustration from a Robin Lindsey photograph of seal pup Shanti, resting at Golden Gardens. Many thanks to Nancy for this stunning banner - and to Seattle’s DON for the award that made this project possible. Additionally, we want to give huge thanks to Seattle Parks for their cooperation and extreme generosity and to banner manufacturer SuperGraphics. (photo courtesy David Hutchinson)




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