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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Gualala Arts Lecture Series presents:
Resident Orca Pods

with Jodi Smith of Naked Whale Research (NaWhaRe)

Thursday, May 22, 2014, 7:00 p.m.
Admission is $5

Resident Orca Pods

The Orca, or Killer Whale, has captured the imagination of people the world over. Jodi Smith will discuss this amazing marine mammal and the work of Naked Whale Research (NaWhaRe), located in Fort Bragg. Her talk on Thursday May 22 at the Gualala Arts Center is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the little understood habits of this animal.

Jodi Smith of Naked Whale Research (NaWhaRe) Smith, Executive Director of NaWhaRe, specializes in the behavioral biology of killer whales, which are divided into three ecotypes. Some whale pods are transients and others are offshore. The third category, resident pods, are the focus of her studies, particularly the J, K, and L pods that live part of the year in Puget Sound near the San Juan Islands and part of the year off the Northern California coast as far south as Monterey Bay.

The mission of NaWhaRe is to create public awareness about what threatens the long term survival of the Northern California orcas frequenting Mendonoma coastal waters. Current concerns can be broadly defined as environmental contamination, reduction in availability of prey, and both physical and acoustic disturbances.

As part of her research Smith relies on volunteers to observe and report sightings. She is currently working on a project to listen in on whale conversations through hydrophonic nodes attached to buoys placed at strategic locations along the coast. One key location is off the Point Arena lighthouse. Once in place anyone can hear the whales communicating through the NaWhaRe web page connection

A native Californian, Smith was born in Bakersfield and raised in the small Sierra Nevada community of Indian Valley. Smith has spent the past 19 years in the field of cetology studying whales and dolphins around the world. After completing her Master of Science degree (2009) at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand, she came back to Northern California and founded the non-profit research organization she now heads. She also has appeared on KGUA's radio show "Peggy's Place."

This lecture is an opportunity to learn more about the marine mammal life off the Mendonoma coast and the role played by volunteers in helping save our environment. The talk begins at 7:00 p.m. and there will be an opportunity for audience interaction.

Resident Orca Pods

Whale photos, credit: Stefan Jacobs

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.