Petersburg Marine Mammal Center

Established in 1998, The Petersburg Marine Mammal Center is a nonprofit organization that offers education programs, assists research fields, and propagates research information and sightings of marine mammals in Southeast Alaska. They focus mainly on preserving and recovering humpback whales and public education about marine mammals in Southeast Alaska. They focus on four core initiatives: Education, Outreach, Research, and Marine Mammal Stranding response.

The idea of creating this Marine Mammal Center began in 1997 -summer to be exact-it was brought up originally in a meeting of individuals interested in the economic development of Petersburg. A local business owner shared a conversation he had while traveling with Dr. Jim Darling, a marine researcher. Dr. Jim said that the proximity Petersburg had to the whale habitat would make Peterburg a perfect spot to establish a maritime studies center.

Shortly after that, a few enthusiastic individuals agreed to the viability of such a venture, so it was determined that creating this Marine Mammal Center was worth a shot. The founders deeply motivated themselves with the philosophy “build it, and they will come.” And Rightfully so, the status of a nonprofit organization was achieved. They also received local economic developments, enrollment of the future members began, and like this, the Petersburg Marine Mammal Center was formed.

Since opening its doors in 1998, this Marine Mammal Center has kept growing its membership with locals, nonlocals, and organizations. This center is highly involved in research, development, and education. It has been signed to become an active member of the Alaska Marine Stranding Network, meaning they have a team of volunteers trained to assist large whales and other marine mammals. Their membership includes commercial fishers, teachers, scientists, charter operations, business owners, physicians, and other marine enthusiasts joining this organization.