Education

Educating the public, from a scientific perspective, about marine wildlife and their ocean habitat is at the heart of everything we do at Pacific Whale Foundation. Early on, we recognized that public awareness and concern for the welfare of whales would play a vital role in helping to protect them. Since 1980, we have presented free talks, community events, and resource materials based on our research findings and advocacy efforts, a practice that continues to this day.

We also have a longstanding focus on our keiki (Hawaiian for “children”), recognizing that they are our future environmental stewards. We offer a variety of innovative educational programs and activities, including Keiki Whalewatch and Ocean Camp programs that provide science enrichment for pre-K to high school students. In addition, we offer credited internship opportunities for college and university students interested in marine research.

Our PacWhale ecotours are essentially floating classrooms, and through them we have been able to educate literally millions of people — sharing our message of whale protection and ocean conservation for nearly four decades. We offer a free Jr. Naturalist Program onboard most trips to teach children about the ocean, marine wildlife, and environmental stewardship. Jr. Naturalist Program activities change daily and include interactive games, fun fish i.d. cards, hands-on exploration with models and bio-artifacts, and a free activity booklet.

All our ecotours are led by certified Marine Naturalists who have college degrees in marine biology or related sciences. These dedicated crew members receive continual professional training through “Eco-U”, our rigorous certification program. In addition to providing expert commentary during trips and conducting the onboard Jr. Naturalist Program, our Naturalists staff our Ulua Beach and “Trail of the Whale” Information Stations along Maui’s coast, and participate in other public education initiatives, such as our Making Waves Lecture Series and our annual Maui Whale Festival.

OUR DISCOVERY CENTER

Pacific Whale Foundation’s Discovery Center is located on the lower level of our offices at the Maʻalaea Harbor Shops. It consists of two air-conditioned laboratory classrooms equipped for multi-media presentations and for science based learning, including microscopes, bio-artifacts and other educational materials.

The Discovery Center can also be configured into one large public meeting space (for up to 120 people), which we use for our Making Waves Lecture Series and other events. When not in use for our programs, the space can be rented and there is no charge for environmental non-profit groups. Free parking for is available at the Maʻalaea Harbor Shops.

PLASTIC POLLUTION SOLUTIONS

A classroom collaboration with the County of Maui Environmental Protection and Sustainability Division and Plastic Ocean Foundation to exchange educator learning techniques, expertise and resources that further develop Maui Nui intermediate and high school students into future stewards of our planet’s oceans.

Educational resources for teachers, click here

 

OUR EDUCATION TEAM

Robyn-Ehrlich
  • Chevron down Robyn Ehrlich Education Manager
  • Robyn began her career with Pacific Whale Foundation in 2005 as a Marine Naturalist immediately after earning her B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Maryland. After completing her Master’s in Science Education from the University of Florida in 2012, she taught high school and elementary school on Maui for nearly four years before returning to our team in 2016 in her current role as Education Manager.

    Robyn’s experience includes work as an educator at two Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited zoos on the mainland. She has also worked on several research projects, including both land- and boat-based humpback whale studies here on Maui. She has published a global fisheries lesson in the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Journal and presented a lesson on marine microbes at the NSTA national convention in 2015.

    Robyn is very honored to have the role of Education Manager, where she can use her teaching experience and expertise to inspire children to become stewards of their local and global environment.

Eco-Adventures
  • Chevron down Becca Lewis Youth Education Specialist
  • Becca joined Pacific Whale Foundation as the Youth Education Specialist in 2018. Becca’s love for conserving the natural world developed at a young age and inspired her to earn her B.S. in Zoology from Southern Illinois University. Following graduation, she served two consecutive AmeriCorps terms with NOAA Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary on the Washington Peninsula. While working within the Sanctuary’s education team she led K-12 education programs and helped manage marine debris clean-up efforts with Washington CoastSavers.

    Leading up to this role Becca was working on Hawai’i Island as a horticultural therapy instructor with adolescents, as well as volunteering with NOAA Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

    Having always been particularly passionate about cetaceans, Becca is thrilled to continue her journey of supporting ocean research, education, and conservation with Pacific Whale Foundation!