Our Story

Pacific Whale Foundation was established in 1980, in response to concerns that whales around the world were moving perilously close to extinction, as a result of decades of widespread commercial whaling.

Early on, we recognized that public education would play a vital role in helping to enact protective laws and sanctuaries for whales.

Pacific Whale Foundation researchers began offering free talks for Maui visitors and residents, describing the knowledge they were gaining from their field studies of whales. It's a tradition that we continue today, through the free talks and presentations conducted by our researchers throughout the year, and our free Making Waves Lecture Series, held at our Discover Center, downstairs at The Harbor Shops at Ma'alaea (next to Maui Ocean Center). To learn more about upcoming talks, please visit our Events Calendar.

educating schoolchildren about whales and the oceansWe also intrinsically understood the importance of educating schoolchildren about whales and the oceans around us. Children are tomorrow's voters and decision makers. It is imperative that they understand the complexities of the ocean ecosystem and the urgency of protecting our planet's marine resources.

We offer educational programs for preschoolers through college graduates, for Maui visitors and residents alike. You can read more about these programs in this section and through our events calendar.

Our most significant educational impact is through our ocean ecotours. We value the opportunity to take guests out to sea, to go "face to fin" with marine wildlife and to come away with a better understanding of the value of the ocean environment. To date, we've successfully educated more than 3.5 million people about the ocean through our Pacific Whale Foundation Eco-Adventures.

Through the generous support of our members, and a very special group of our Living Ocean Legacy Wall supporters, we have built and outfitted Pacific Whale Foundation's Discovery Center, overlooking Ma'alaea Bay, downstairs at The Harbor Shops at Ma'alaea. Two laboratory classrooms are equipped for multi-media presentations (and combine to form one large public meeting room). Microscopes, water testing tools and other science equipment is available here, for our hands-on science learning programs for students. Learn more about the Pacific Whale Foundation's Discovery Center >