Science & Research Director, Wild Orca
Dr. Deborah Giles (she goes by her last name) received her PhD from the University of California Davis in 2014. Her master’s thesis and PhD dissertation both focused on the federally listed southern resident killer whales. Formerly the research director at the Center for Whale Research, she is currently a resident scientist and lecturer at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs, where she teaches Marine Mammals of the Salish Sea and Marine Biology. Since 2009 Giles has been the vessel captain for Dr. Samuel Wasser’s project – University of Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology – utilizing a scat detection dog to locate floating killer whale scat to monitor the physiological health of southern resident killer whales.
Starting in 2010, Giles also began work with an ongoing collaborative project with Cascadia Research Collective and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service deploying acoustic suction-cup recording tags on killer whales to measure received noise levels by whales. Giles is the killer whale scientific adviser for the Orca Salmon Alliance, a program advisor for Killer Whale Tales, and is on the Steering Committee for the Salish Sea Ecosystem Advocates (SalishSEA).
Director / Writer / Producer, Plumb Productions
Jessica Plumb is an award-winning filmmaker and writer, known for exploring the relationship between people and place. She is the Producer, Co-Director and writer of Return of the River, a feature documentary about the restoration of the Elwha River, and the largest dam removal in history. Recognized with a dozen festival awards, including “Best Storytelling” by the International Wildlife Film Festival, the film was reviewed as “hell-raising documentary filmmaking at its best”. Her short environmental films and video installations, described as video poetry, have screened in galleries and theaters throughout the United States and internationally. Plumb directs a video production company that creates educational and promotional films for clients. Her freelance writing has been published in the Seattle Times op-ed pages, Mountaineers Magazine, and Boston Sunday Globe among others. Before moving to the Olympic Peninsula, she worked in Boston and Beijing, and served as interim editor of the Yale China Review. Plumb holds a B.A. from Yale University and an interdisciplinary MFA from Goddard College.
Director, Puget Sound Restoration Fund
Betsy Peabody is executive director of Puget Sound Restoration Fund (PSRF), a nonprofit organization founded in 1997 to restore marine habitat, water quality and native species in Puget Sound. She is also President of the Pacific Shellfish Institute, a research organization developing and disseminating scientific information to foster sustainable shellfish resources and a healthy marine environment. In 2012, Betsy served on the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, and continues to be actively involved in efforts to mitigate the effects of ocean acidification. In 2013, she collaborated with NOAA to establish a conservation hatchery at NOAA’s Manchester Research Station dedicated to restoring native shellfish and other living marine resources. Betsy has a bachelor’s degree in English from Stanford University – and a strong appreciation for the role that marine resources play in our human story.