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Walden Magazine // Jul 01, 2010

From the Field

Saving the Whales, One Lesson at a Time

As told to Andrea Minarcek

Dr. Jim Lehmann and two others kneel next to the corpse of a pilot whale that died while being freed from a fishing net.

“WHENEVER ANYTHING WASHES ASHORE here in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador, we use it as an educational opportunity. This pilot whale died from a puncture wound in its side, probably inflicted by a fisherman trying to free it from his net. We showed the whale to local fishermen and walked them through safer ways to free whales or dolphins that accidentally get caught. In the long term, we’re working to obtain money to buy acoustical warning devices, which attach to the nets and send out a low-decibel ping to drive whales away. But even more importantly, we’re educating schoolchildren here about conservation. If they can learn to appreciate the environment as kids, hopefully they’ll treat it well as adults.”

—Dr. Jim Lehmann ’07, Doctor of Education (EdD)

President of the Foundation for the Center for Research of Whales