Ocean Awareness Training program to be offered in Lahaina
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.
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.
A three-week series of lectures and workshops will be held beginning Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lahaina Civic Center.
Designed to provide up-to-date outreach tools and information, each class will cover 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 humpback whales, dolphins, other large and small whales found in our waters and reef fish ecology.
Trainers include Ed Lyman, marine mammal response manager with the National Marine Sanctuary; Dr. Daniela Maldini, chief scientist for Pacific Whale Foundation; Donna Brown, Marine Option Program coordinator at the University of Hawaii Maui College; John Mitchell, education coordinator for Digital Bus; Dr. Sarah Mesnick, science liaison for NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center; and Nicole Davis, Maui Marine Mammal Response Program coordinator and monk seal specialist with NOAA’s Fisheries Pacific Island Regional Office.
“The Ocean Awareness Training course was an excellent experience! This course should be mandatory for all tour guides and operators that care about the environment and want to have the latest info about our local marine ecosystem,” said Paul Noble, owner and operator of Maui Kayaks.
Classes will be held Oct. 11, 18 and 25; Community Action projects are set for Oct. 13 and 27 and Nov. 1-2; and a Volunteer Networking Potluck will be held Oct. 29 Kahekili Beach Park from 9 a.m. to noon.
For information, or to register, visit www.oceanawarehawaii.org/ or call Bo Petty at 879-2818, extension 22.
In related news, the public is welcome to participate in the National Marine Fisheries Service’s tenth semiannual Main Hawaiian Islands Monk Seal Count.
The event is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers will spend a few hours along Maui’s beautiful coastline looking for endangered Hawaiian monk seals and maybe even cleaning up the their shoreline habitat.
Volunteers should attend one of three pre-count meetings; the schedule is Wednesday, Oct. 5, from 6 to 7 p.m. at Lahaina Civic Center; Monday, Oct. 10, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary in Kihei; or Thursday, Oct. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lahaina Civic Center (this meeting is also part of Ocean Awareness Training and will include a longer presentation on Hawaiian monk seals).
To register, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and note which meeting you plan to attend. Past seal count volunteers can simply contact Davis via e-mail.