Editorial: Be aware of our orcas

June has been proclaimed Orca Awareness Month by Gov. Christine Gregoire, a move which puts our resident orca whales in the spotlight.

The proclamation was spearheaded by the Greenbank-based Orca Network, an organization that has done exemplary work in recent years helping to educate the public about orca whales. Once called “killer” whales, the orcas now have a much more pleasant moniker that is well deserved. The two pods that frequent Whidbey Island waters are a joy to watch and seldom if ever kill anything higher than fish on the food chain.

Orcas are in need of human help, and Whidbey Island individuals and businesses can contribute by sending out that message during Orca Awareness Month. Schools will still be in session in early June, so some creative teachers will no doubt devise ways for kids to have end-of-the-year fun while learning about orcas. Businesses can post banners proclaiming the month or hand out orca information, devise orca-related promotions or just post orca facts for customers to read.

Orcas don’t need a human handout, just cleaner water and perhaps a little less harassment from certain boaters. We can all help in the clean water department by not letting our cars leak oil and not tossing chemicals down the drain. Support reasonable governmental efforts to assure that industry, municipalities and homeowners keep bad stuff from running into Puget Sound.

Meanwhile, learn more about orcas and related activities yourself by visiting http://orcanetwork.org where there is plenty of information to enjoy during Orca Awareness Month.