Rally at Forsyth Park part of week of educational events on the North Atlantic right whale

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 5:26 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 6:12 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - This week was Whale Week. As endangered North Atlantic right whales migrate to coastal Georgia, organizers hosted several events to educate the community on the endangered species and they will host a rally in Forsyth Park on Saturday.

“The first step is education and starting a conversation.”

Local and international scientists, advocates, conservationists and more come together to create Whale Week which is a collection of events in the coastal Georgia area that bring awareness to the North Atlantic right whale.

“It is the largest animal on the planet, yet it is the animal that this particular species is rare and critically endangered. We are down to 340 and we want to see that this whale is able to recover, the species is able to recover and there will be more whales,” voluntary Whale Week Director, Hermina Glass-Hill said.

Why is the North Atlantic Right Whale endangered?

“We had the issue, we have the whaling industry in our past that has been made illegal in the United States but now the issue is the fishing entanglements, the lines left in the water and the vessels strikes that are ultimately taking these animals,” Whale Week program coordinator, Ashleigh Saal said.

Experts say these whales have started to migrate south to coastal Georgia.

“It is a good time to start talking about them.”

All week this group held events from film screenings to panel discussion to try and educate the community on this issue. Organizers say they also received a grant from the City of Savannah to support Whale Week.

“We go out and educate everybody in the public about it, especially our Chatham County school students. We want to make sure these students here in the Savannah area are going to have that education about knowing their coastal culture.”

The education continues this weekend as they prepare closing events starting at the Forsyth farmers market and will be for the whole family.

“We’re excited to be engaging young children, to teach children how to stand up for animals, specifically the North Atlantic right whales. There will be poster making all kinds of goodies, all of the artifacts you see here will be there so it will be a teaching moment as well so the posters will be for a message, a message to our elected officials that we need them to protect North Atlantic right whales from vessel strikes and entanglement,” Glass-Hill said.

U.S. Representative Buddy Carter has proposed a bill that would block the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from moving forward with their enforcement of speed limits for boats.

Click here for more information about the event Saturday at Forsyth Park.