Tales of Saving Whales – Jenna D.

Tell Us About Yourself

I’m Jenna, a 30 year old marine educator at the New England Aquarium. I am also a writer, influencer and self proclaimed nerd.

Where did your whale love start? 

Growing up in New England, my love for whales has always been a life-long passion for me. My family would go out every late spring and early fall to see wild whales off the coast of Cape Cod. However, we haven’t been able to go out whale watching for the last two seasons, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, we have managed to make up for that by doing some shore-based whale watching at Race Point beach this past spring. 

What current ocean conservation issue do you feel most strongly about? 

Currently, my big ocean-related pet issue would have to be marine pollution. It’s doing a lot of harm to both animals and the habitats they rely on by inflicting death or injury for various animals. For example, sea turtles visiting Cape Cod Bay during the summer and fall months might mistake a floating plastic bag for prey by consuming it before slowly starving to death. While that plastic bag may have originated from human hands, it could’ve blown away by the winds into the ocean, or have floated into the sea from any freshwater way that flows into rivers, and estuaries that do ultimately, lead into the ocean itself. 

What have you changed in your life to help save whales? 

Starting at the age of ten, I worked with various animals, including cetaceans, in human care. Working with them hands-on inspired me to do more to find ways to protect their ever-shrinking habitats out in the wild by educating people at the facilities I worked at as both a student camper, and as an intern, to more to protect wild marine mammals. I am currently doing educational work for the New England Aquarium by empowering people to reduce their use of plastics and seek eco-friendly alternatives that are good for the environment. 

What advice would you give to others to take steps in their lives to help whales?

Write about marine wildlife issues, plant trees, clean up any debris if you see any, call wildlife officials if you see a sick, injured, or orphaned animal, and never stop learning.

Any whale tales to share?

When I was eleven, my family and I went out whale watching off Provincetown, Massachusetts when the boat we were aboard suddenly stopped. At first, we all thought the boat had broken down in the middle of the harbor when the naturalist announced a right whale sighting nearby. Before long, not one, but two Right Whales, a mother and her calf, surfaced right in front of us, and it caught everyone off guard. However, the moment didn’t last when a group of jet skiers nearly got too close to the pair, which caused the whale mother to swim off from the harbor with her calf, which was a sign of distress. The naturalist tried to warn the skiers but kept ignoring them, which led to them getting reported by the coast guard. The encounter was short but its something that I’ll never forget.

Check out this great article Jenna wrote about littering here and her Instagram here

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