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Posted on: September 23, 2010
Recipient of "Heroes of Agriculture, Food and Environment Award"
Pacific Whale Foundation received a "Hero of Agriculture, Food and Environment Award," and was honored as “An Environmental Supporter Who Does Their Work with Excellence” at a special reception on Thursday, September 23 at the 2010 Hawaii Agriculture Conference in Honolulu. The conference and reception were held at the JW Marriot Ihilani Resort & Spa at Ko`Olina. The conference and the awards were presented by the Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawaii.
Pacific Whale Foundation President and Founder Greg Kaufman traveled to Oahu to accept the award. A non-profit organization, Pacific Whale Foundation is based on Maui and is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. More than 125 Maui residents are employed by Pacific Whale Foundation.
In its announcement about the award recipients the award committee made special note of Pacific Whale Foundation's Volunteering on Vacation program, which matches individuals and small groups interested in voluntourism with environmental nonprofit organizations, government agencies and Haleakala National Park in need of help. "Since its creation in 2008 this program has connected over 4,000 volunteers to non-profit organizations serving the environment on Maui," the award announcement notes. "Both kama‘aina and malahini, these volunteers have removed invasive plants, repaired sand dunes and native bird habitat and contributed to the work of an upcountry organic farm."
"The marketing, reservations and logistical support provided by the Volunteer on Vacation program makes it possible for these smaller groups to give back to the places they love to visit, while also meeting other like-minded people and learning about the local environment and culture," the announcement reports.
The Heroes of Agriculture, Food and Environment are given in memory of A. James “Jim” Wriston III and supported by his friends and partners: Stephen Nimz, Alan Gottlieb and Stephen Swift.
"Pacific Whale Foundation is honored to receive this acknowledgement of our successful Volunteering on Vacation program," said Kaufman. "This program is now in its fourth year, and has been made possible through revenues raised by Pacific Whale Foundation Eco-Adventures and Pacific Whale Foundation's Ocean Stores, plus an award from Hawaii Tourism Authority."
"We find that the guests on our wildlife watching ecotours are especially motivated to find ways to 'give back' to the local environment," he commented. "They are very appreciative of the Volunteering on Vacation program and the ease with which they can plug in to local volunteer opportunities."
Kaufman also noted that Pacific Whale Foundation works to support local agriculture and businesses by specifying that the food served on its ecotours be obtained from local farmers and companies whenever possible. "We've even changed our menu to reflect what's available locally -- whether it's Maui Cattle Company, Maui Brewing Co. Beer, Uncle Louie's Hotdogs, locally grown salad greens, and local papaya and pineapple."