Photos taken by Selket Kaufman


Restoring āina with community. Mālama Pono is a program that allows kamaʻāina, visitors and PacWhale/ PWF staff to immerse themselves in Maui’s sacred ʻāina, culture, and community. Pacific Whale Foundations’ Conservation and Outreach team has revamped the former Volunteers on Vacation program to continue to encourage and perpetuate destination stewardship while inviting our staff and members of our community to get connected with where we call home.

Through mindful visitation and behaviors, visitors and residents alike can create a deeper appreciation of the place they occupy space. If you are interested in joining us, please explore the Mālama Pono Calendar. We look forward to working alongside you in building a stronger connection to the place we call home.

Upon signing up, we will send you a confirmation email. This email will include an online waiver, what to bring and wear, where to meet, what to expect, and what we expect of our participants. Some opportunities may have an additional liability waiver from our partner organization hosting the opportunity.

Each opportunity will have between 3 and 15 participants and could include kamaʻāina, visitors and PacWhale/ PWF staff. While each opportunity will have its own requirements, generally, closed toe shoes, sun protection in the form of long sleeves and a hat, mineral based sunscreen and a reuseable water bottle are always recommended. PWF will provide water to refill water bottles, basic first aid supplies and snacks.


There are a range of opportunities that will take place anywhere from mauka (the mountain) to makai (the sea). Activities can include supporting ongoing conservation efforts, out planting native species, beach cleanups, and more! If you would like to suggest an opportunity to add to our calendar, please contact us at [email protected].

When possible, transportation will be provided by PWF but you may use your personal vehicle if preferred. Per Hawaiʻi child safety seat law, all children under 10 years old or under 5 feet tall are required to be in a booster seat.

Photos taken by Selket Kaufman

Current Partners

Kīpuka Olowalu:

Kīpuka Olowalu is an organization seeking to preserve the Native Hawaiian cultural site, Olowalu valley. Participant tasks vary depending on the Hawaiian moon calendar. Different tasks can include removing weeds and invasive plants on the property and learning about different native and endemic plants. Beyond protecting the Cultural Reserve, Kīpuka Olowalu also works to preserve the biodiversity and beauty of Olowalu Reef, a 1,000-acre reef habitat that provides food and shelter to a variety of marine species and unique coral habitat. Through proper planting and sediment mitigation techniques, Kīpuka Olowalu reduces reef stressors and helps maintain the integrity of the nearshore marine ecosystem.

Hawaiʻi Land Trust (HILT):

HILT works in three programmatic areas: ʻĀina Protection, Stewardship, and Connection. They prioritize the protection of coastlines, wahi kupuna (ancestral spaces), and lands that grow healthy food for Hawaiʻi’s people, and partner to conserve mauka forests and ranches. Participants will help with restoring habitat by removing invasive plants, planting native species, working in loʻi (taro) patches and more.

Grow Some Good:

Grow Some Good is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating hands-on, outdoor learning experiences that cultivate curiosity about natural life cycles, connect students to their food sources, and inspire better nutrition choices. Their mission is to cultivate a healthy community by strengthening local agriculture and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. As they expand their community agroforest at the YMCA on Maui, we will join them in growing a greener Maui! This will include maintaining a healthy garden through necessary weeding, planting, and other small improvement projects. Occasionally there are opportunities to help with their Farm to School program where participants would assist with local school garden workdays or plant kit assembly for students.

Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge:

Keālia Pond is a sanctuary for many native and endemic species to the Hawaiian Islands. The wetlands at Keālia pond is home endangered ae‘o (Hawaiian stilt) and ‘alae ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian coot), providing nesting, feeding and resting habitat. Feathered visitors from faraway places also make appearances. Participants will be contributing to habitat restoration work, protecting and enhancing the refuge’s native plant community. Volunteers will usually work alongside refuge staff to outplant and care for native plant species and remove invasive plants.

Maui Cultural Lands:

Maui Cultural Lands mission is to stabilize, protect and restore cultural resources. Their primary focus is reforestation within Honokowai Valley and Kaʻanapali area with native and endemic Hawaiian plants. Honokowai valley has numerous archaeological sites that date back to more than a century ago. It was believed to be a self-sufficient village, home to about 600 families. Participants maintain the Honokowai valley area, learning cultural connection with each task.

Common Ground Collective:

Common Ground Collective’s mission is to increase food security, economic and educational opportunities in Maui County. The goal, transforming Maui into a productive island and environment. Their work boosts local food production, increases economic security, promotes environmental education and increases the use of regenerative farming practices. Efforts to help common ground collective include helping them wash, weigh and sort fruit, and working in the Haiku House Common Ground Community Garden to grow food for residents in need.

Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project:

Maui Nui Marine Seabird Recovery Project focuses on seabird recovery, management and restoration within habitat areas around Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi. Their project protects the seabirds by removing predators and habitat-altering plants taking over the breeding colony. Participation could include restoring ʻuaʻu kani (wedge-tailed shearwaters) burrow areas at Hāwea point, Hoʻokipa and south Maui, or recording data during banding efforts.

Pacific Whale Foundation’s Community Beach Cleanups:

Plastic pollution is one of the five major threats to whales and dolphins, leading to contamination of marine eco-systems, habitat degradation and wildlife entanglement. Community beach cleanups exist to remove marine debris from ocean environments. Most of this debris originates from land-based sources, such as someone thoughtlessly discarding a cigarette butt or soda can. Participants collect and report marine debris while helping to keep Maui’s beaches and parks trash- and tobacco-free.

This program is funded by the PWF Maui Conservation Fund, which was created following the August 2023 fires from contributions donated from generous supporters worldwide. If you would like to fund our work, please donate here Maui Conservation Fund.