LAHAINA - Local environmental, research and educational organizations on Maui are joining forces with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to offer a free Ocean Awareness Training six-class series to commercial marine tour operators and the community.
This free training will provide participants with up-to-date knowledge and interpretive skills to properly educate visitors about Hawaii's unique marine environment.
The first three evening classes will be held Oct. 9 (Hawaiian cultural perspectives), Oct. 11 (humpback whales) and Oct. 16 (monk seals) at Na 'Aikane O Maui Cultural Center at 562-A Front St. near the Shigesh Wakida Tennis Courts.
Endangered Hawaiian monk seals will be covered in a class on Oct. 16.
The last three classes will be held Oct. 18 (local odontocetes), Oct. 23 (humpback songs, reproductive strategies and mammal identification on the water) and Oct. 25 (West Maui ecosystem topics and how to get involved) at the Whalers Village Museum.
Classes are set for 6 to 8 p.m. Participants may attend one, a few or all six classes. To register, visit www.oceanawarehawaii.org/.
Classes are designed to provide the latest research information and will cover the basics for anyone out on the water or onshore talking with visitors, from professional water craft operators, guides and owners to community volunteers.
Course field events will provide the chance for participants to receive hands-on experience with partner organizations.
Those who complete all six classes and a field event will receive a C.O.R.A.L. Certification Card (Care of our Culture, Oceans, Reefs and Animal Life).
All have the opportunity to learn about volunteer positions as a sanctuary docent or other activities, including fish, coral and water monitoring surveys and the Kaanapali Makai Watch program.
Instructors include Ke'eaumoku Kapu of Na 'Aikane O Maui, Dr. Daniela Maldini of the Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission, Ed Lyman of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Nicole Davis of National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, Dr. Sarah Courbis of the state Department of Land & Natural Resources, and Dr. Meagan Jones of the University of Hawaii Maui College and Whale Trust.
For more information, call Patty Miller at 1-888-55-WHALE, extension 258.