LAHAINA - Local environmental organizations on Maui, in partnership with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, are joining forces to offer a free Ocean Awareness Training class series to the community and commercial marine tour operators.
Sessions will be held in Lahaina or Kihei.
The West Side classes will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays (April 10, 12, 17, 19, 24 and 26) at Lahaina Civic Center. To register, visit www.oceanawarehawaii.org.
Ocean Awareness Training instructors include Liz Foote of the Coral Reef Alliance.
This free training will provide marine tour operators and community volunteers with up-to-date knowledge and interpretive skills to properly educate visitors about Hawaii's unique marine environment.
Each class is designed to provide up-to-date outreach tools and information, covering the basics for anyone out on the water or onshore talking with visitors, from community volunteers to professional water craft operators, guides and owners.
Course topics will include Green Sea Turtle Research, Oceanography 101, Coral Reef Ecology, Dolphins, Watersheds and Community Management Strategies, Mollusks of Hawaii, and How to Get Involved.
Trainers include Donna Brown, Marine Option Program coordinator, University of Hawaii Maui College; John Mitchell, education coordinator, Maui Digital Bus; Dr. Kyle Van Houton, Marine Turtle Assessment Program, and Irene Kelly, sea turtle recovery coordinator, with the Protected Species Division of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center; Elia Herman, state sanctuary co-manager; Alison Cohan, The Nature Conservancy Maui; Mike Severns, author of the new authoritative "Shells of the Hawaiian Islands;" Darla White, Division of Aquatic Resources; and Liz Foote, Coral Reef Alliance.
Participants have the opportunity to learn about volunteer positions as a sanctuary docent and with other island-wide volunteer programs, such as the Herbivore Enhancement Area in water surveys and the Kaanapali Makai Watch program.
Additional opportunities to assist certified professional guides and owners will be possible for those who complete this course.
Weekend field days will provide the chance for participants to receive hands-on experience with partner organizations.