Wild Profile: Whitney Neugebauer
Executive Director, Whale Scout
Meet Whitney Neugebauer, a lifelong whale lover and advocate. She completed degrees in Geology and Anthropology from Eckerd College in Florida before returning home to pursue her master’s degree in Marine and Environmental Affairs from the University of Washington. In 2013, she founded the organization Whale Scout, as Puget Sound’s endangered orca population was plummeting to all-time lows.
Whale Scout is a nonprofit focused on bringing land-based whale watching experiences to communities across the Puget Sound region. You can find vested volunteers at prime whale-watching locations around the area, their eyes glued to the water, ready to greet excited onlookers.
Whale Scout also hosts their “Helpin’ Out” events, where volunteers can get their hands dirty helping restore salmon habitat. The idea is to channel people’s interest and passion about whales into on-the-ground salmon habitat restoration projects aimed at protecting
the primary food source of struggling orcas in Puget Sound.
“From the treetops to the tips of the whales’ fins, everything is connected,” said Neugebauer. Washington Wild and Whale Scout are both partners of the Duwamish Alive! Coalition, an organization working to bring community, municipalities, nonprofits, and businesses within the Duwamish River Watershed together to preserve and enhance habitat for people and wildlife. On October 19, Whale Scout hosted a restoration event with Friends of North Creek Forest in Bothell for Orca Recovery Day. Volunteers planted native trees near the salmon-bearing North Creek. Meanwhile, Washington Wild was restoring natural areas of Camp Long in West Seattle, just up the hill from the Duwamish River and Puget Sound.
“The more we can replicate wild ecosystem functions in urban environments, the better.” said Neugebauer. “Preserving the forests surrounding salmon streams
is critical, both in wild places in urban spaces.”