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Ken Balcomb and Howard Garrett at Balcomb BIG SALMON Ranch, located along Washington State’s Elwa River.

(Photograph by Susan Berta).

As many of you know, my brother, Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research founder and senior scientist, passed away in December 2022.


Ken and I were very close. We chose similar career paths: following our passion for wild animals and the environment, specifically the Pacific Northwest orcas and their Salish Sea habitat. During his final months, we talked for hours about the continuation of his life’s work: how important it was for the Center for Whale Research to press on in perpetuity.


Relinquishing the helm, Ken entrusted me to help steward CWR’s present and long-term planning. Fortunately, Ken left me with a skilled, experienced, and committed team of professionals. Each of these individuals worked for him for many years. And each knows what is required to maintain and build on the Center for Whale Research’s 47-year foundation.


With the ongoing support and cooperation of volunteers, donors, staff, and the Board of Directors, the Center for Whale Research will, for generations to come, play a leadership role in studying and advocating for the Pacific Northwest orcas.


As we have repeatedly said in the past months: “Thanks, Ken. We will take it from here.”


Howard Garrett, Center for Whale Research (CWR) Board Chair


Our outstanding volunteer Board of Directors possesses extensive knowledge and expertise in marine-mammal ecology, non-profit organization management, community engagement, law, and business, setting the strategic compass of the Center for Whale Research. The CWR board offers regular guidance to staff on operational issues.

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