In its 27th year, annual Sound Waters University sailing online in February

Online attendees can learn about whales, earthquakes, treaty rights and all things Salish Sea.

An annual educational event is moving online this year, giving participants the chance to experience more for a lesser price.

Registration is now open for Sound Waters University, which will take place 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021.

The one-day event, now in its 27th year, is normally held at the South Whidbey High School with 600 to 700 participants in attendance.

But this year people from all over Whidbey can virtually attend to learn about all things related to the Salish Sea and its surroundings, from whales to river otters to tides.

Additionally, there will be presentations on Asian giant hornets, climate change, earthquake hazards and treaty rights.

Anne Post, a volunteer who is helping to co-chair the event this year, said participants will have access to recorded classes after the event, meaning they will be able to watch every session.

In past years, participants were limited to three or four classes of their choosing.

“It’s more Sound Waters than they’ve ever got before at a reduced ticket price,” Post said.

Tickets are $45 each until Jan. 15, when the price goes up by $5.

In comparison, last year’s general ticket price was $60.

Post said over half of the classes cover brand new topics this year. Keynote speaker Peter Ross will present his research on microplastics with his presentation, “Sea of Trouble — Taking Action on Plastic Pollution.”

Audience members will still be able to ask questions during the presentations. A moderator will act as a go-between and give the questions to the presenters, Post explained.

In years past, during breaks people were able to go view an exhibit hall.

The exhibit hall is also going virtual this year.

“What we’ve heard is people are really excited we’re not cancelling the event and we’re moving forward,” Post said.

She is hopeful that Sound Waters University will be able to return to an in-person format in 2022.

To register for the 2021 event, go to soundwatersuniversity.org

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