Posted on: March 6, 2012

PWF Naturalists Complete NAI Training

Twenty eight Pacific Whale Foundation's professional naturalists have recently received recognition as Certified Interpretive Guides through the National Association for Interpretation (NAI).

The naturalists received the certification after completing the NAI's 32-hour training program. The NAI program combines both the theoretical foundations of the interpretive guide profession with practical skills in delivering quality interpretive programming to visitors.
"We are very proud of our professional naturalists at Pacific Whale Foundation, for the level of education and experience they bring to the job, and their enthusiasm for participating in extensive ongoing professional training," said Patrick Merrill, Vessel Programs Manager at Pacific Whale Foundation. "To serve on our vessels, we require our naturalists to have graduate or undergraduate degrees in marine biology, environmental education or related science majors, and to participate in more than 100 hours of Pacific Whale Foundation training. This includes lifeguard, first aid, AED and oxygen certification; seamanship and vessel crew skillls; Hawaiian culture and history; marine mammal research techniques; and the latest information on Hawaii's marine wildlife and conservation issues."
"The NAI certifiation is in addition to this comprehensive training program," remarked Merrill. "We are very proud that our naturalists made time to pursue this certification during our busiest time of year; it is a reflection of their dedication and professionalism."
The NAI's 32-hour course includes:
•  history, definition, and principles of interpretation
•  making interpretive programs purposeful, enjoyable, relevant, organized, and thematic
•  using tangible objects to connect audiences to intangible ideas  and universal concepts in interpretive programs
•  presentation and communication skills
The naturalists completing the program are: Mark Corcoran, Jessica Rickard, Heidi Miller, Tyler Pascual, Dana Kalhoff, Morgan Smith, Josh Wittmer, Anna Lieding, Daimar Tamarack, Hollis Turner, Travis Farrell, Flora Drury , Marcel Vangils, Jaclyn Vanbourgondien, Christy Kozama, Ashleigh Gay, Catherine Rapanotti, Gina Shure, Serena Neff, Annie Hillier, John O'Leary, Jesse Davis, Lauren Campbell, David Yuan, Andrew Sulock, Dana Kalhoff, Ben Eisenstein and Blake Moore. 
Pacific Whale Foundation's Education Manager, Merrill Kaufman, also completed the training and received the NAI Certification. 
Pacific Whale Foundation professional naturalists lead whalewatches,snorkel tours to Molokini and Lana'i, dolphin watch tours, sunset cruises and other ocean ecotours. Each trip is typically led by a team of naturalists, so that guests have easy access to an expert who can answer questions or provide interpretation of the wildlife that's encountered. The naturalists also gather data about whale and dolphin sightings for Pacific Whale Foundation's research program.
To learn more about Pacific Whale Foundation, please visit or call (808) 249-8811 ext. 1.