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|Greetings fellow nature lovers!
Summer has passed, and with it the OrcaLive 2005 season that began in July too draws to a close: webcasts will end 31 October. Please enjoy the remaining few days to the fullest.
Around same time that OrcaLive shuts down, we plan to sink the Turtle Live underwater camera. Please tune in and enjoy observing the South Pacific sea turtles.
Dr. Paul Spong and Helena have some important news to announce in their annual closing letter, so we'll have you read that first...
With some sadness, but also optimism, we are writing to let you know that we are coming to the end of our sixth and (for the time being) last season of Orca-live.
Our plan is to end the live webcast on October 31st at 5pm PST.
Weather conditions may make the exact time uncertain, but we will do our best to keep to this schedule.
During the 24 hours before the end, we will run several replays of highlights from 2005.
As we did last year, we will keep the comment columns running for some time after the webcast ends -- at least until the new year begins. This will enable us to provide occasional updates about what is happening with the orcas, as well as allowing our audience to continue sharing comments and information.
2005 has been another great year for our experiment. The orcas have provided almost endless hours of exquisite sounds (despite boat noise) and the cameras at "CP" and the rubbing beaches have brought us innumerable memorable scenes. Like so many members of our audience, we have sat transfixed in front of our computer screens, watching orcas live! We have also become so immersed in the scenes that unfold underwater in the kelp forest that it's sometimes hard to leave them. In many ways, the experience has been almost as amazing and fascinating to us as it has been to others who are watching and listening from a far greater distance!
Despite the satisfaction we feel at achieving our goal of using technology to bring people closer to the natural world, in real time, thus fostering respect, we realize that we are still a long way from the point at which human interest in Nature leads to real action to protect her. Our world is faced with so many seemingly insurmountable obstacles to a viable future, climate change being at the forefront, that we feel almost helpless about achieving the changes in human behaviour that are needed to make planet Earth a welcoming place for our children's children. Speaking quite realistically, we have to admit that future prospects for our descendants are dim. Nevertheless, we face the unknown days that lie ahead with guarded optimism, knowing that problems create challenges, and that challenges can lead to solutions.
Our future plans for Orca-live are presently unclear. However, they include the possibility of a "light" version that would continue to relay our acoustic data in 2006, as well as a technically more advanced version at a later date. Our immediate intention is to assess our accomplishments and progress over the past 6 years, with a view to coming back again in a better, more compelling & effective mode. We will, of course, continue our ongoing research and conservation work at OrcaLab and with Pacific Orca Society.
We remain committed to doing whatever we can to help Mother Earth; and we still believe that by introducing people to the richness and diversity of Nature, we can help foster a caring attitude that will contribute to the survival of our planet in its present, magnificent form. So we will continue our efforts, and as we do so, we will keep you informed.
As we've said before, but wish to emphasise now, we cannot possibly overstate our gratitude to our wonderful primary sponsor, NTT DATA. Without this generous and visionary company, Orca-live could not have happened. Our appreciation of all the support and encouragement we have received from NTT DATA over the past 6 years is profound, and sincere.
We cannot leave without thanking the many others who have contributed as well. The apparent day to day ease with which the sounds and sights we enjoy are brought to computers around the world masks the fact that Orca-live is a complex project which relies on the contributions of numerous companies and individuals. Our heartfelt thanks go to SPACEPORT, NEUX, JStream, Atlux, Axis, Anna Spong, Jessie and Annie Gordon, Bill & Cathy ter Brugge, SeeMore Wildlife Systems, Roscom Productions, Jason Hendricks, Mike von Zuben, Mike & Judy Durban, Martin (Kurt) Musgrove, David Howitt, Lisa Larsson, Tomoko Mitsuya, Julie Warrington, Fiona Wright, Paul Tixier Michael Reppy, Peter Muny, Nat Haltrich and all our dedicated OrcaLab assistants. We thank B.C. Parks for their cooperation in giving us access to the Michael Bigg-Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. We also thank the individuals and groups who contribute to the information we share... the "Cliff" observers and wardens who protect the Ecological Reserve, Straitwatch, researchers Graeme Ellis and Dr.John Ford who maintain the data base we rely on, and the whale watch community at large.
Additionally, we are grateful to the Friends of the Environment Foundation of the Toronto Dominion Bank for funding the 2004 development of our video monitoring capabilities at the rubbing beaches.
OrcaLab's core work is funded by numerous organizations and individuals who share our goals and beliefs. The Born Free Foundation (UK), the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (Germany), the OrcaLab Support Society (Japan), Earthtrust (USA) and Earth Island Institute (USA) deserve special mention, but there are many others to whom we are also indebted. Thank you all!
Finally, we thank you, the members of our audience, for participating in our experiment. We hope you have a good winter or summer, wherever you are, and we hope to "see" you again some time in the future.
Our very best wishes to you all,
Paul Spong & Helena Symonds
Thus as Dr. Spong describes, this the sixth year of OrcaLive marks the end of the project as we've conducted it to date. While it may come a surprise to many of you, OrcaLive was launched as a three-year project, however thanks to the passionate responses from you our audience, and the generosity of our sponsors, we've been able to operate twice as long as originally planned.
We, the OrcaLive staff, too have felt and learned much over these six years regarding the importance, beauty, and severity of Nature, and the wonders of the human heart. Reflecting back, we've witnessed a great many dramas right here on our website, haven't we? We are truly grateful to all of you who have shared the joys of this project with us. Thank you again.
We too of course want Nature Network continue and will keep working with Paul and Helena on devising ways to make that happen. The OrcaLive and Turtle Live websites will continue operating through March 2006, and we will use this newsletter to inform you of plans thereafter.
Please keep an eye on Nature Network and pray that it will resume some day soon.
The Nature Network Project Staff
|We await your thoughts and impressions.