Education Programs

Learning about the ocean is fun -- for kids and adults -- with Pacific Whale Foundation.

Here are some of the classroom, field and vessel programs that Paciic Whale Foundation offers to students on Maui:

Keiki Whalewatch: 
Program for school classes combines a dedicated 1.5-hour whalewatch with a 90-minute grade-level specific classroom presentation with related developmentally appropriate activities. Offered for students pre-K through grade 12 from January 1-April 30. More than 7,500 students have participated in this program since June 2008. If you are a teacher interested in information on this program, please contact education@pacificwhale.org.


Project Oceans with Pomaika’i Elementary:
This professional development program is designed to support teachers in integrating marine science education into their curricular programs. The program focused on helping teachers interpret the environment and habitats surrounding their school and incorporated field trips around the school, to Waihee Refuge and to Ma’alaea Bay (for a whalewatch). Teachers met nearly every week with Pacific Whale Foundation’s teacher trainer to collaborate and prepare lessons for each of the three design units. Each unit was broken down to incorporate Hawaiian State Standards, National Science Standards and The Essential Principles of Ocean Literacy. Project Oceans served the entire kindergarten cohort which included six teachers and their 120 students throughout the 2010 – 2011 school year.

Some of the outcomes were that teachers reported students developed greater observation skills and were more in touch with natural phenomena in the schoolyard. Teachers saw a trend in nonfiction book checkouts from the library. Families reported doing more at-home research on topics children were exploring at school at the kindergarten level. Overall the teachers became more attuned to the value of science experimentation and the development of critical thinking skills. 

Middle School Field Science Partnership:

A weekly experiential marine science program for grades 6-8 with vessel-based field and lab modules. Utilizing the tools and techniques of field science, students progress through a scope and sequence that included physical oceanography, navigation and way-finding, ecology and marine biology field studies. This program is co-taught by KCS teachers and education staff of Pacific Whale Foundation. This year, the goal of this program is to make it exportable, as a tool to help other whalewatching operators world-wide partner with schools in their area. A total of 1,382 students have been served by this program during the past three years. Offered on Fridays when school is in session, September- May, 3.5 hours per week.

On-site Naturalist Programs

Coral Reef Information Station at Ulua Beach

Pacific Whale Foundation's free Coral Reef Information Station at Ulua Beach in Wailea is staffed by an expert marine naturalist who helps you learn about the fish and marine wildlife that you'll see while snorkeling at this popular reef. Free use of fish i.d. cards and reference books. Open 8 am to 11:30 am daily except Wednesdays and Sundays. For info, call (808) 249-8811 ext. 1.   

Whale Information Station at Papawai Point

Am experienced Pacific Whale Foundation naturalist will be present seven days a week from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM from mid-December through mid- April at Papawai Point in West Maui to provide free information about humpback whales and help people to spot humpbacks from this extraordinary whalewatching location. Look for the lookout turnoff from the Honoapi'ilani Highway (Route 30) approximately 3 miles northwest of Ma'alaea Harbor. For more information, please call (808) 249-8811 ext. 1.  

Discovery Labs:

Inquiry-based lab programs of 60-90 minutes in length. Programs include comparative invertebrate lab, dissections, tidepool investigations, coral reef ecology. Offered for students pre-K through grade 12 from October 1- April 30. This program has served 1,488 students since June of 2008.

Keiki E.C.O. (Educating Children Outdoors) Day:

To bring students and teachers together with environmental educators, naturalists and their peers to actively participate in nature-based learning and to be inspired to participate in environmental stewardship on Maui, Pacific Whale Foundation hosts Keiki E.C.O. day in February at Kalama Park in Kihei. This is an annual free outdoor education day for Maui school classes, in partnership with nonprofits, government agencies, and community groups including Maui Invasive Species Committee, East Maui Watershed, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, Community Workday, Kïhei Charter School, Haleakalä National Park and Hawai‘i Nature Center, farmer Vincent Mina and Pacific Whale Foundation's research, education and conservation staff. School classes choose from a variety of exploratory stations in advance, to create a customized program to suit their classes’ interests and meet some of the state curriculum standards for their grade level. More than 250 schoolchildren have participated each year since 2010. Free bus transportation was provided for school groups with support from Kokua Foundation in 2010 and Pacific Whale Foundation in 2011 and 2012.

Specialty Youth Education Programs:
Serve K -12 aged groups upon request, including visiting outer-island students, Seabury Hall Winterim students and scout groups. Approximately 1,437 students were served since June of 2008.

Ecuador Educational Programs:
Pacific Whale Foundation’s Ecuador Project team, based in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador, conducts marine education programs for schoolchildren in the region. During 2008, Pacific Whale Foundation conducted educational programs about whales for 948 students, at 21 different schools in 10 different communities, employing puppets, humor and free copies of the book Elena la Ballena (written by Pacific Whale Foundation Ecuador Project Director Cristina Castro, and published by Pacific Whale Foundation). This is one of four books Pacific Whale Foundation has published in Ecuador to give away free to the kids. In schools where 50 students share a single classroom and single teacher, these books are especially appreciated.

Youth Education Programs:
Programs delivered by Pacific Whale Foundation education staff to children in the community and children who are visiting Maui on vacation.

Pacific Whale Foundation Ocean Camp:
Provides a safe and educational program for children of working parents and others who seek enrichment activities for their schoolchildren in grades K -5 during school vacation. The camp program promotes science-based learning about the ocean. Campers also experience field trips and activities such as surf/windsurf lessons, tidepool explorations, beach fun, snorkeling, hands-on science experiments, sports and games, arts and crafts and visits to Maui Ocean Center. The camp is located at Pacific Whale Foundation’s
Discovery Center in Ma’alaea. Effort: There are 9 to 12 week-long sessions during the course of the year, including summer break, winter holiday break, spring break and fall break. Learn more by clicking here: Ocean Camp.

Education Program Participating Schools and Institutions
2011: Kamehameha Schools, Haleakala Waldorf, Waihee Elementary, Smart Start Preschool, Whale Camp - Heather Harding, Kihei Charter School, Pukalani Baptist, Preschool, Maui Language Institute at UH Maui College, Lihikai Elementary, Children's Garden Preschool, Kamehameha III, Pukalani Elementary, Horizons Academy, Girl Scouts, Ka'ahumanu Hou Christian School, Wailuku Elementary, St. Joseph School, Haiku Elementary, Montessori School of Maui, Holy Nativity, Global Village Hawaii, Elon University, Hawaii Baptist Academy, Redwood Adventist, Upward Bound at UH Maui College, Westcoast Connection, University of Dayton, Boys and Girls Club, Maui Youth and Family, Elon University, Lokelani Intermediate, Haiku Elementary, Kihei Elementary, Maui Christian Homeschoolers, Emanuel Lutheran School, Horizons Academy, Waihee Elementary, Pukalani Elementary, Kamalii Elementary, Doris Todd School, Ka'ahumanu Hou Christian School, Kihei Charter TEAMS Acaddemy, Waolani Judd Nazarene School, Wailuku Elementary, Haleakala Waldorf, Fun 2 3 Preschool, Sacred Hearts School, St. Anthony Jr./Sr. High School, Hana School, Children's Garden Preschool, Pomaikai Elementary, Hawaiian Mission Academy, MEO Youth Programs, Whale Camp - Heather Harding, Gan Eden Chavurah 
 
2012: Kamehameha Schools, Haleakala Waldorf, Waihee Elementary, Smart Start Preschool, Whale Camp, Kihei Charter School, Pukalani Baptist, Preschool, Lihikai Elementary, Children's Garden Preschool, Kamehameha III Elementary School, Pukalani Elementary, Horizons Academy, Girl Scouts or Hawai'i, Ka'ahumanu Hou Christian School, Wailuku Elementary, Haiku Elementary, Montessori School of Maui, Global Village Hawaii, Hawaii Baptist Academy, Westcoast Connection, Boys and Girls Club of Kahului, Maui Youth and Family Services, Lokelani Intermediate School, Haiku Elementary, Kihei Elementary, Maui Christian Homeschoolers, Horizons Academy, Waihee Elementary, Pukalani Elementary, Kamalii Elementary, Ka'ahumanu Hou Christian School, Kihei Charter TEAMS Acaddemy, Ka Hale A Ke Ola Resource Center, Wailuku Elementary, Haleakala Waldorf, Kahalui Hoingwanji Preschool, Princess Nahiena'ena Elementary School, St. Anthony Jr./Sr. High School, Hana School, Children's Garden Preschool, Pomaikai Elementary, Holy Nativity School.
 
Recipients of No Child Left Indoors Scholarships: Kihei Elementary, Pomaika'i Elementary, Waihe'e Elementary, Ha'iku Elementary, Ka Hale A Ke Ola Resource Center, 14 individual students

Family Activities:
We also offer Moonlight Tidepool Explorations for people ages 6 and over, as well as Stargazing Cruises and Full Moon Cruises.

Through our Volunteering on Vacation program, families can visit off-the-beaten trail locations that are rich in Hawaiian cultural history, and make a difference by helping with weeding, planting or other projects. You can also arrange a beach clean-up at your own schedule. Best of all, it's free -- and you get a free totebag for three hours of service.

Pacific Whale Foundation's Eco-Adventure tours offer free onboard Jr. Naturalist Programs for kids, as well as special low rates for children. Our whalewatches and snorkel trips provide free tickets for children ages 6 and under (one free child per paying adult). Learn more by clicking here.

Throughout the year, Pacific Whale Foundation also offers events and programs for families, including our Run and Walk for the Whales in early February, our Whale Day Celebration in mid-February, our Wild Dolphin Sand Sculpture Contest in early August and holiday cruises for Halloween, the 4th of July, Easter and Christmas. Be sure to check out our events calendar!

Adult Education Programs and Professional Development Programs:
Pacific Whale Foundation provides adults with the opportunity to develop professional skills for careers relating to the ocean environment. Over the years, Pacific Whale Foundation has also provided professional training to private companies and their employees. To discuss possibilities, contact education@pacificwhale.org. 

ECO-U/ Vessel Program Staff Training:
A comprehensive program for the ongoing development of the professional marine naturalist. We design and implement mission-based interpretive programs that are delivered by highly trained staff with documented credentials. Through regular evaluation and mentoring of our staff, we aim to constantly evolve our programs to most effectively meet the mission of Pacific Whale Foundation and model a global standard of excellence in marine interpretation.

“Be Whale Aware”/ Marine Wildlife Watching Best Practices Outreach:
To educate vessel operators and other ocean users about the most responsible ways to operate in areas where whales and dolphins are present, Pacific Whale Foundation conducts its annual “Be Whale Aware” training programs, free of charge, to members of the Maui community. The program includes classroom training and an at-sea practicum, plus take home reference materials. The “Be Whale Aware” guidelines advocate that vessels follow all state and federal laws regarding approaches to whales, and in addition, maintain a lookout from December through May when traveling in areas where whales are present, adopt reduced speeds, avoid approaching whales from in front or directly behind the animals and take other steps to reduce the risk of collisions.

Marine Mammal Guide Training Program, Ecuador’s Machalilla National Park:
Professional training program on marine wildlife and good environmental practices for vessel operators and guides operating in Ecuador’s Machalilla National Park. Presented by Pacific Whale Foundation Ecuador Project Director Cristina Castro and and M. Scheidat. 1999. Also presented by C. Castro in 2008, for Level I and II guides.

Marine Mammal Guide Training Program, Galapagos National Park:
Professional training program on marine wildlife and good environmental practices for vessel operators and guides operating in Ecuador’s Galapagos National Park. Presented by Pacific Whale Foundation Ecuador Project Director C. Castro. 1999.

Marine Mammal Guide Training Program, in the Antarctic region.
Offered as part of the Fifth Latin American Symposium on Antarctic Research and Ecuadorian Scientific Symposium II Polar, held in Salinas, Ecuador. Presented by Pacific Whale Foundation Ecuador Project Director C. Castro. 2009.