Right Whale Festival

George Wahl II

Photo by Brett Durda

When people think of Jacksonville they think of the Jaguars and events such as FL/GA weekend. What tends to slip peoples minds is the annual Right Whale Festival.

In 2009, the inaugural Right Whale Festival brought enthusiastic participation from sponsors, local vendors and organizations and the community, said public.sea2shore.org. Many gathered at Jacksonville Beach on Nov. 19 to build and share awareness of these beautiful creatures.

The North Atlantic Pod of Right Whales travels south to the Southeast Georgia, Northeast Florida region to breed each fall and winter. The festival is mainly to educate people on these whales and build awareness on the matter.

According to performancemultisports.com, the mission of the Right Whale Festival is to celebrate right whales and the beginning of the right whale calving season. The goal is to engage the community and heighten public awareness of both right whales and the importance of the area as the whales make their seasonal return to the waters off FL/GA coast – the only known North Atlantic right whale calving grounds. This one-day family festival will feature children’s activities, music, beach cleanup, a beach run and other activities geared towards informing and inspiring the community about right whales, their habitat and conservation needs

Right whales received their names from getting killed because they float rather then sink unlike all other dead whales. Right whales face constant threats, such as boat collisions and fishing gear entanglements, associated with sharing their coastal home with humans. With as few as 350 remaining, there are many local efforts to protect these critically endangered whales from extinction, said public.sea2shore.org.

JU’s ECO S.O.S group along with the Biology Honor Society, Beta Beta Beta, were among the groups there to help and put on the festival.

“I love the festival and look forward to it each year,” said sophomore Brett Durda, a member of both ECO S.O.S and Tri-Beta. “It’s a great event, and everyone has a great time. I really suggest that everyone check it out at some point.”