State Senate pays tribute to Soundwatch's Koski

Former Soundwatch coordinator Kari Koski and Sen. Kevin Ranker, pose for a photograph at the podium of the state Senate chambers, in Olympia.  - Contributed photo
Former Soundwatch coordinator Kari Koski and Sen. Kevin Ranker, pose for a photograph at the podium of the state Senate chambers, in Olympia.
— image credit: Contributed photo

The Washington state Senate passed a resolution today, Feb. 2, honoring the career and dedication of Kari Koski, former director of the Whale Museum’s Soundwatch Boater Education Program.

Koski, who stepped down as director earlier this year, became the face of the Soundwatch program over the course of an 18-year career at the helm of the Whale Museum's boater education program, which strives to protect the Southern Resident killer whales by educating boaters about how their behavior on the water can impact the whales.

As part of the program, Soundwatch also tracks incidents in which boaters get closer to a killer whale than state, local and federal law allows. Koski was also recognized by the San Juan County Marine Resources Committee earlier in the year.

Sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, Senate Resolution 8684, was read on the floor and approved by the Senate without dissent.

“Kari’s dedication over the past two decades to the education of safe boating practices on whale-inhabited waters has proven invaluable to the San Juan community,” Ranker said. “Throughout her years of service promoting responsibility on the water, Kari has taught both visitors and residents the ideals of environmental stewardship and peaceful coexistence. Her years of dedicated service have won her the respect and admiration of colleagues and neighbors alike, including myself.”

Koski not only won the admiration of killer-whale advocates during her career, but drew the praise of government officials and enforcement officers, as well as members of the whale-watch industry. Her retirement party, Jan. 31, drew a capacity crowd to the Whale Museum.

“It’s a great honor to be a guest of the Washington State Senate today,” Koski said. “I wish the Legislature good luck as they grapple with ecological and public safety issues critical to the well-being of all Washingtonians. I would also like to thank the Senate for recognizing the importance of the education program and all those who continue to work so hard to protect the Salish Sea.”

Koski was joined at the today's ceremony at the state capitol by her partner, Doug McCutchen, preserve steward of the San Juan County Land Bank.



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