Adopt a Beach



What is our goal? The aim of this program is to collect data while also removing the immediate threat of debris from beaches to protect the health of the ocean

What is the problem? Marine debris is one of the major threats facing whales, dolphins, turtles, and other marine life. We have been studying marine debris here in Hawaiʻi and know that it is a pervasive issue. Our hope is that this program will raise awareness within the local community and motivate our community to reduce their consumption of single use plastics and support legislative efforts to control the source of these items.

How do we do it? With this type of community science data collection, we will be able to collect data more accurately and consistently so that we can identify trends in marine debris accumulation around Maui County. The data will be used to guide and support relevant legislation and help identify education campaigns surrounding marine debris.

Are you a Maui County resident looking to give back to the ocean that provides us all so much enjoyment? Adopt a Beach!

See full map of currently adoptable beaches. If the beach you would like to adopt is not listed, please let us know! ([email protected])

What is your role as a community scientist?

1 beach for at least 1 year

Choose your preferred beach or shoreline to steward for at least the next year

12 cleanups in 1 year

Once per month, you will remove and record all man-made debris you come across

How to join

Before a cleanup

  • Schedule your one-time pickup of reusable supplies by contacting [email protected]
  • Head to your beach and start your marine debris cleanup and data collection

After each cleanup

  • Snap a photo of both sides of your data sheet
  • Email it to [email protected] by the 5th of the following month to be eligible for fun incentives
  • Recycle what you can and dispose of the rest responsibly. You can find items accepted in Maui County for recycling HERE

Participant requirements

  • Currently, participants must reside in Maui County.
  • Participants must sign up through for their chosen beach through our volunteer project system.
  • Participants must be willing to commit to at least an entire year of data collection. If you plan to take a vacation, or can’t make it one month, we understand. See FAQs below for what to do if you can’t make a cleanup.
  • Participants must watch the training video (above)


  • Frequently Asked Questions

    • How do I get permanent marker off my data sheet?
      A permanent marker was given so that your data would not smudge as you recorded. The marker ink can be removed via a number of methods, including nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, or any other mostly alcohol-based cleaner. Alternatively, if you have a dry erase marker, these work to erase permanent marker as well by just coloring over it with the dry erase and wiping away.
    • What if I cannot do my clean for one month?
      The program depends on consistent data collection and the beaches and marine life greatly appreciate having clean beaches. If you can find a friend and train them to take over your beach for the time period you are away we greatly appreciate it. If this isn’t possible please email and we will try to help you find an alternate.
    • What about supplies?
      Each program member will receive reusable supplies (gloves, bag, data collection sheet, pen) to conduct their cleanup and collect their data. If you lose one of these items, we encourage you to be creative and resourceful and search for some of your own reusable items to replace. If you cannot find a replacement, reach out and we will help you.
    • What is the best way to clean the beach?
      For marine debris research, we encourage you to use a “line transect” method – this looks like zig-zagging between the waterline and the shrub line as you go.
    • What if there are only a couple of pieces of debris at my beach?
      ALL DATA IS VALUABLE. We want to know debris trends across the island. If the trend is minimal debris, that is important, and we want to know!
    • What if there is more than what I can collect at my beach?
      DO YOUR BEST. At some beaches, you may find that there is a TON of tiny pieces of plastic. Please remove what you can and record an EXACT number, as opposed to “lots” or “tons”. For data purposes, we need a numerical value.
    • What should I wear?
      We recommend sun protection and gloves. Closed-toe shoes are encouraged on certain beaches. Beyond those things – up to you and your comfort level!
    • Want to help but can’t commit to helping once a month?
      Check out our Coastal Marine Debris Monitoring Program for an opportunity to contribute to our growing database — community science on your own time!


Mahalo to Our Adopt a Beach Sponsor: Atherton Family Foundation

Mahalo to Darlene Abt for her generous donation


Hawaii Visitor Update

Aloha, We Are Open!  Our PacWhale Eco-Adventures are open for booking as we welcome visitors back to Maui.  Quarantine restrictions were lifted on Oct. 15th for those following the state’s pre-arrival COVID-19 testing requirements.