Thanks to all who supported The Whale Project at the recent Bubble Feed Dinner. We raised $13,000 toward the life-scale bronze sculpture and fountain for Juneau's Waterfront. This monument will be a fitting tribute to the 50th anniversary of Alaska Statehood, just as another of Skip Wallen's Juneau landmarks - the "Windfall Fisherman" sculpture of the brown bear across from the Capitol and state courthouse - is a tribute to the 25th anniversary of statehood.
Thanks to whale charterers who donated trips: Allen Marine, Gastineau Guiding Company, Weather Permitting, Harv and Marv's and Dolphin Jet Tours. Whale watching brings $20 million a year into Juneau's economy, and we are proud to highlight these companies, who provide an extraordinary experience to 200,000 visitors and locals each year.
Thanks also to donations by Jack Tripp at Mt. Juneau Trading Post, the Taku Lodge, Flip Nicklin, John and Sonia DelGado at Urban Eskimo, John Hyde, the Jewel Box, Alison Browne, Thyes Shaub, Sharon Kelly, the 2009 Sitka WhaleFest, Bill Ruddy, Laraine Derr, Rosemary Hagevig, Bill Overstreet, Allen Marine captains Eric Morrow and Brian Vreeland, Karen Beason at Taku Graphics, North Star Gifts, Cindy Burchfield, Mark Kelly, Fred Sharpe of the Alaska Whale Foundation, John Fehringer, Ad Lib, Evon Zerbetz, Lambras, Alaskan Brewery, Sharon Barton, Candy Behrends, Annie Kaill's, Bears Lair and Gallery of the North.
Big thanks to The Whale Project board members Laraine Derr, who provided the salmon dinner; Nancy DeCherney, who met every challenge of bringing a catered dinner and audio visual show to an appreciative crowd at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center; Kay Diebels, who worked the gate and offered bricks for sale in the plaza which will surround the sculpture and fountain; Sharon Kelly for arranging the Silent Auction; and Bill Overstreet for being his usual visionary self. Also, thanks to Sharon Barton, who made hundreds of dark and white chocolate barnacles in the barnacle molds sculpted by Skip Wallen.
Both the Intermediate Model (an eight-foot whale sculpture which will be placed at the University of Alaska Southeast) and the life-sized (25-foot whale sculpture and fountain which will be placed on the Juneau waterfront) have fifty barnacles on the jaw - and if you look closely, eight of those stars will form the Big Dipper and North Star, the emblem on Alaska's flag.
Also, thanks to Leonard Johnson, who reordered the JACC after the event and told some great whale stories, too. Thanks, Juneau, for your support of this community project.
Kathy Kolkhorst Ruddy
Chair, The Whale Project