Our Whale Watches and Affiliation with Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation
Whale watches aboard the Atlantic Queen II are not only educational – they are important for helping scientists learn about marine mammals, especially endangered species like finback and humpback whales. Each of our trips features commentary and discussion from a naturalist, who is also an educator and scientist from the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation (www.blueoceansociety.org). Blue Ocean Society is a non-profit organization based in Portsmouth, NH whose mission is to protect marine mammals in the Gulf of Maine through education, research and conservation. They are the only organization who has consistently collected data on Jeffreys Ledge – our local whale watching grounds – every whale watch season since 1996.
Our education team is made up of our experienced naturalists. There is also usually a team of interns and volunteers who come from around the world to share their love of the marine environment with you! During the trip out and back, we’ll provide children’s activities that may include a scavenger hunt, plenty of books to peruse, interaction with artifacts such as whale baleen, and take-home crafts such as whale bookmarks.
Research and Conservation
During the trip, Blue Ocean Society naturalists and volunteers collect data on the whales so that we can learn more about them, and share our knowledge with you! This data is compiled by Blue Ocean Society to develop our own catalog of local humpback, finback and minke whales, and is also shared with other organizations and resource managers to enable real-time information that helps us learn about and protect whales.
Data collected includes photo-identification of individuals, behavioral information, weather and sea conditions, and information on litter spotted at sea so Blue Ocean Society can advance our knowledge of whales, marine debris and help inspire others to protect the marine environment.
Meet Our Naturalists!
Jen Kennedy is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, and has been a naturalist on the Atlantic Queen since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a Master of Science in Resource Administration and Management from the University of New Hampshire. Jen would rather be out on the water than just about anywhere else, and looks forward to sharing the latest information on whales and the marine environment with you.
Abby Gronberg is the Programs and Volunteer Coordinator for Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, and has been a naturalist on the Atlantic Queen since 2012. Previously she was an intern for Blue Ocean Society in 2011. She has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Conservation and is currently working on a Master of Science in the integration of decision-making and ecosystem science at the University of New Hampshire. Growing up, Abby spent much of her time out on the water, and is happy to have a job where she can share her passion.