Volunteer and Board Member Opportunities!

Dear Members and Friends of SF Bay ACS Chapter

For all my wonderful friends who have been involved in the SF Bay American Cetacean Society Chapter I have exciting news!  A group of people dedicated to the goals of SF Bay ACS has been laying the groundwork for a new period of growth for our Chapter.  We are formalizing the Chapter’s structure and procedures and reaching out to you to become involved!  To be successful we need those of you who both appreciate our work and have some time to give to consider what role you might play.

We hope you will become a volunteer – either to help with the daily nuts and bolts of the chapter or to take on one of our leadership roles.  I briefly explain some of these roles below, but if you are interested please explore the attached PDF descriptions.

If you are new to SF Bay ACS or just want to test the waters you can start on a limited scale, as a nuts and bolts volunteer.  We will find ways for you to apply your particular skills and knowledge.

We need a few well-organized people to take on our Presentation and Education Committees to maintain our beloved monthly speaker programs and to develop and expand our education programs through new speaking opportunities, school visits, and tabling at regional events.  You could join our Volunteer Committee and help to develop new opportunities, recruit and train new volunteers, and match each volunteer to their ideal job.  Or if you prefer a behind-the-scenes role and have a head for numbers we need just a couple people for a Finance Committee to be responsible for our donations, grants, annual budget, and other financial concerns.

If you are ready to take on a larger commitment we need several dedicated and skilled visionaries who appreciate and believe in the work we do to step up and become Board members.  Board members will share the responsibility to guide the Chapter and plan for its future.

Now I’m sure that any of you who know our Chapter might say “Hey!  Doesn’t Lynette do all those jobs?”  That’s why I am especially excited to announce that I am withdrawing from my administrative responsibilities so that I can expand my efforts toward research and conservation  So over the coming months, as others step up I will help them learn the ropes and ease out of my current roles.  My goal is to be finished with this transition by the end of 2015.

I am excited.  Our chapter is strong and our impact is unlimited as long as we tap the vision and creativity of those in the Bay Area who care about cetaceans. So please view our positions and step forward.  And if you think of a new way you can help our chapter, let us know and we will do our best to fit you in a role where you can pursue your dream.  Then, if you have a friend who might want to be involved, tell them about our work.

Below are brief descriptions of some of the positions needed. Full descriptions with applications are the attached PDFs.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions. We look forward to working with you!

Visit our Volunteer and Board Member Opportunities Page under our “About” tab occasionally for updated opportunities!


Lynette R. Koftinow

President San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

*SF Bay ACS Chapter: Presentations Coordinator

The Presentations Coordinator oversees the chapter’s series of monthly guest lectures: Schedule dates, speakers, and venues, Manage communications, Coordinate the event.

*Responsibilities, Desired Skills & Knowledge, and Time Commitment detailed information:


*SF Bay ACS: Communications and Outreach Coordinator

The Communications and Outreach Coordinator oversees the chapter’s communications with media outlets, associate organizations, and the community at large. The Coordinator’s objective is to make the public aware of chapter activities, drive participation, and develop opportunities for chapter engagement.

*Responsibilities, Desired Skills & Knowledge, and Time Commitment detailed information:


*SF Bay ACS: Volunteer Coordinator

The Volunteer Coordinator plays a key role in growing the organization’s capacity to develop and motivate teams of volunteers with a “many hands make light work” philosophy, and fulfilling service requests within the San Francisco Bay Area cetacean- and marine-sciences community. The Volunteer Coordinator is responsible for overseeing chapter’s pool of volunteers and assigning volunteers to projects and events.

*Responsibilities, Desired Skills & Knowledge, Time commitment detailed information:


*SF Bay ACS: Web Master

The Web Master updates and optimizes the chapter’s web site.

*Responsibilities, Desired Skills/Knowledge, Time commitment detailed information:


*Volunteer Application:  ACSSF-Application-Vol+Naturalist.v02

*SF Bay ACS Chapter: Board Member

Purpose of the Board

The purpose of the Board of Directors of the SF Bay American Cetacean Society Chapter is, in good faith, to guide the SF Bay American Cetacean Society Chapter.

*Responsibilities, Length of Term,  Meetings, Time commitment detailed information   and application:


ACS-SFBay Area Chapter Board Application

Annual Farallon Islands Whale Watching Trip August 23rd!

Please join SF Bay American Cetacean Society and Oceanic Society for our Annual Farallon Islands Whale Watching Trip August 23rd!

Oceanic Society is being gracious in giving our SF Bay ACS members a DISCOUNT!   Tickets are $95 per person and a donation goes toward our 2014 Student Research Grant Fund!

You MUST CALL or EMAIL the office to receive this discount and tell them you are a SF Bay ACS member.  You CANNOT get the discount online

If you are not a member it’s easy to join. Just go to: www.acsonline.org click on membership, and sign up online as a SF Bay ACS chapter member!

Please call or email: Nancy Heaton of Oceanic Society @ (415) 256-9604 or heaton@oceanicsociety.org


Farallon_Islands_Michael_Grebanier_The Farallon Islands, just 27 miles off San Francisco, lie amid the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, a food-rich marine ecosystem that attracts whales, dolphins, seals and seabirds each summer and fall, to feed and to breed. Researchers have catalogued hundreds of individual humpbacks and blue whales as seasonal feeding residents. Twenty three species of marine mammals, including eighteen  species of whales and dolphins, can be found here.

The Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge is the largest seabird rookery in the contiguous United States with nesting Tufted Puffins, Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres and other species. Migratory seabirds such as Shearwaters, Jaegers, and Phalaropes are also attracted by these nutrient-rich waters.  Island beaches are covered with sea lions, including massive Steller’s sea lions, now on the Endangered Species List.

Each trip is led by an expert naturalist who assists with locating whales, identifying seabirds and other marine life, and who provide informative presentations throughout the trip on the islands and marine ecology of the area.

Bird and Marine Mammal Calendar

Spring- Summer (April-Aug):  Western Grebes; Black-footed Albatrosses; Northern Fulmars; Pink-footed, Buller’s, Sooty Shearwaters; Ashy Storm-Petrels; Brown Pelicans; Double-crested, Brandt’s, Pelagic Cormorants; Black Oystercatchers; Red-necked, Red Phalaropes; Pomarine, Parasitic Jaegers; South Polar Skuas; Heermann’s, Herring, Western, Sabine’s Gulls; Caspian, Elegant, Common, Arctic, Forster’s Terns; Common Murres; Pigeon Guillemots; Xantus’s, Craveri’s, Marbled (rare) Murrelets; Cassin’s, Rhinoceros Auklets; Tufted Puffins  Tufted Puffins and general bird diversity  better in May/June/early July.

Marine mammals are found both in the summer and fall.    Blue Whales, Humpback Whales , Minke Whales; Risso’s Dolphin, Pacific White-sided Dolphin, Northern Right Whale Dolphin; Harbor and Dall’s Porpoises.   California and Steller Sea Lions; Northern Elephant Seal, Northern Fur Seal, Harbor Seal, Sea Otter also possible.

For further information go to our 2015 Whale Watch trip page under Whale Watching Tab.

DETAILED TRIP INFORMATION:     http://oceanicsociety.org/farallon%20islands%20season

Duration: Approximately 8 hours.  In order to visit the whale “hot spots,” including the Continental shelf, and have enough time to observe the wildlife at the islands, an 8-hour trip is required.  Itinerary: Under the Golden Gate Bridge and west to the Farallon Islands. Full-day whale watching cruises depart from San Francisco at 8:00 am, and from Sausalito at 7:15 a.m. aboard the 56-foot Salty Lady, a Coast Guard certified vessel.

We look forward to seeing you on board and sharing this Special Trip with you!

March 2-13, 2016:  Baja California & The Sea of Cortez  “Whales and wildlife of the Forgotten Peninsula”

juan carlosJC-Blue Whale

Join Founder Juan-Carlos Solis and Quetzal Adventures on this incredible trip!

This is one of those trips that people talk about and remember always!

Slim as a blade, the Baja California peninsula jackknifes from mainland Mexico, creating a cleft filled by the Sea of Cortez. Every year, California Gray Whales migrate here from arctic waters-the longest mammal migration known. In the protected lagoon of San Ignacio, watch the Grays during their breeding, calving, and nurturing cycle.

JCContinue sailing around the tip of Baja in search of Fin, Sperm, Blue and Humpback Whales along with pods of Common Dolphins accompanied by Magnificent Frigate birds and Red-billed Tropic birds. Along the way, visit lovely and uninhabited islands such as San Jose and Santa Catalina. Awake to an incomparable sunrise, snorkel in an isolated cove, bask in Baja California’s seductive desert warmth, stroll its glorious beaches, and-best of all–wonder at its wildlife.

Juan-Carlos is very supportive of SF Bay ACS chapter and is  giving  us a donation for each person signing up on this wonderful trip. We look forward to seeing you on the trip!

For full details go to:  http://www.quetzaladventures.com/#!baja-2016/c24f1


Investigating the role of marine morbilliviruses in cetacean strandings near San Francisco Bay – July 28th at Saylor’s Restaurant

When: July 28th @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where: Saylor’s Restaurant and Bar, Upstairs Cabo Wabo room, 2009 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

Cost:  $5 Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

Dr. Claire Simeone

“Investigating the role of marine morbilliviruses in cetacean strandings near San Francisco Bay”

C. Simeone KogiaCetacean morbilliviruses have the potential to cause explosive outbreaks with high mortality, and have emerged as the cause of die-offs of striped dolphins in the Mediterranean, harbor porpoises in the UK and Netherlands, and bottlenose dolphins along the U.S. Atlantic coast. Interestingly, large-scale mortality has not been documented in the Pacific Ocean as it has in the Atlantic, even though evidence of morbilliviral infection has been detected in animals in the Pacific. Since 2000, the Marine Mammal Center has responded to nearly 500 cetaceans along the rescue range, and a small percentage of those animals have post-mortem findings that are characteristic of a viral disease such as morbillivirus. The ACS San Francisco Bay Student Research Grant has allowed us to test tissues for the presence of morbillivirus, to determine whether this virus may be playing a role in strandings along the California coast. Continue reading

The Whales of Guerrero Research Project – August 25th at Saylor’s Restaurant

When: August 25th @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where:  Saylor’s Restaurant and Bar, Upstairs Cabo Wabo room

2009 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

Cost:  $5 Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

Katherina Audley: The Whales of Guerrero Research Project


The Whales of Guerrero Research Project advances marine science in an ecologically-sensitive region of Mexico, which supports many large marine wildlife species, and provides sustainable economic benefits to impoverished local residents through education, ecotourism and capacity building.

KA4We work with Mexican agencies and universities to educate coastal residents about the value of their richly diverse ecosystem. Our approach respects local perspectives by using the cultural lenses of the community, instilling a sense of stewardship via meaningful education, arts, and conservation programs. We use humpback whales as a highly visible exemplar and entrance point to our conversations about marine wildlife.

Historically, local mariners were hostile toward marine mammals, viewing them as dangerous to boat traffic and as competitors for diminishing fish resources, while non-sea-going residents were barely aware of marine wildlife. In the last two years, we have improved local attitudes, and encouraged locals to embrace wildlife ecotourism as an economic boost to their livelihoods.

Our continuing objectives are to:
*  Conduct a community-driven research study of humpback whales and dolphins, with the assistance of local mariners, schools and community members who share sightings of marine mammals, and in partnership with visiting scientists and educators.
* Provide opportunities for Mexican graduate students to conduct marine conservation research, by supporting costs of research, lodging, and professional development.
* Train fishermen and boaters to offer informed, responsible ecosystem tours, with emphasis on sustainability and vessel best practices around marine mammals.
* Cultivate an interest in marine conservation through a variety of educational programs for all ages. Continue reading

Dead Whales Do Tell Tales – What We Learn from Post-mortem Examinations & Museum Specimens — September 29th at Bay Model Visitor Center

When: September 29th @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where:  Bay Model Visitor Center  2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

Cost:  $5 Suggested Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

Moe Flannery

Dead Whales Do Tell Tales – What we learn from post-mortem examinations and museum specimens

Credit: Sue Pemberton, California Academy of Sciences

As a member of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, along with the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, responds to any dead whale that washes up along the coast between the Sonoma/Mendocino county line and the San Mateo/Santa Cruz county line. Each carcass offers scientists the opportunity to learn about the health of whale populations and the threats that they face. By performing necropsies in the field, scientists collect valuable data about whale migration patterns, habitat threats, human impacts, and geographic distribution that help to inform critical conservation decisions and scientific research. Moe Flannery, Ornithology and Mammalogy Collection Manager, will share some of the stories uncovered during recent whale post-mortem exams along our local coastlines.

Continue reading

View Into Vocalizations – October 27th at Saylor’s Restaurant

When: October 27th @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where:  Saylor’s Restaurant and Bar, Upstairs Cabo Wabo room

2009 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

Cost:  $5 Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

Maren Anderson   “View Into Vocalizations”

maren-Calf surfacing_watermark

For the last 15 years, Cetos Research Organization has used underwater videography with a variety of recording set-ups that allow us to capture both video and sounds in our studies of Hawaiian humpback whales. While collecting data on sounds and behaviors, we also, when possible, obtain photo identification of humpbacks, and collect annual song samples by tracking and recording singers. Our priority is the social sounds and underwater behaviors of different humpback groups.

In the 2015 field season, Cetos focused on using non-invasive suction cup tagging on mothers, calves, escorts, and competitive males, in order to track movements and acoustics both above and below water. These tags have ability to take in acoustic information as well as positional movement underwater. Join Maren to hear about using their current research to understand Hawaiian humpback whales on a new level, as well as give a sneak peak into a current publication underway on calf susceptibility to ship strikes. Continue reading

Dramatic 24-hour Gray Whale Disentanglement off Laguna Beach, CA

Capt. Dave and his wife, Gisele, were headed to dinner with friends Friday evening at 5:30 PM when they received a call from one of their whale watching boats that a whale with a huge amount of gillnet wrapped around its tail flukes had been spotted. They quickly abandoned their plans and headed to Dana Point Harbor where they met up with volunteer members of Capt. Dave’s crew, Tom Southern, Mark Tyson and Steve Plantz and headed out in their whale watching boat to see the entangled whale and attempt to help it before it got dark. Continue reading