Public Outreach Programs
Sanctuary Ocean Count
Get involved in the sanctuary's signature project, the Sanctuary Ocean Count. Volunteers count whales and record their behaviors from over 60 designated shore sites on the islands of O`ahu, Kaua`i, and Hawai`i. Approximately 1,500 volunteers participate in this fun event each year. This popular outreach effort continues to grow each year and has become a favorite project of many Hawai`i residents and tourists. Beginning in 2003, the Sanctuary Ocean Count project expanded to provide opportunities for local schools to participate in this annual census of humpback whales.
Ocean Awareness Training - Maui and O`ahu
Ocean Awareness Training offers the public, naturalists, volunteers and marine tour operators on Maui and O`ahu the essential interpretive skills and content necessary to be prepared to educate Hawai‘i visitors about marine resources in Hawai‘i.
The course includes information on nearshore oceanographic processes, roles and relationships on the reef, seabirds, marine mammals, sea turtles, ocean safety, Hawaiian culture and more. A variety of ocean organizations on Maui and O`ahu work together to sponsor this informative program.
Community Events and Lectures
The sanctuary sponsors and participates in a variety of community events around the state each year. During the last five years the sanctuary participated in over 150 community events, reaching over 100,000 people with important messages about NOAA and the sanctuary. These community events range from the annual Kaua`i Family Ocean Fair to local earth day events on each island.
The sanctuary hosts Tuesday and Thursday "45 Ton Talks" as well as a monthly lecture series that covers a variety of topics at the Maui Visitor Center. Other lectures are also held at various times throughout the year across the state. See the calendar of events for current listings.
Humpback Whale Month
Each year the sanctuary celebrates February as Humpback Whale Month. This special campaign varies from year to year, but includes such things as art contests, special events, lectures, video presentations and lunchtime whale watches that take place at various locations around the state. News articles, website announcements, and radio and television segments have promoted the effort, and informational materials have been provided to libraries, bookstores, and cafes throughout the state.
The Sanctuary Classic in Hawaiʻi is a summer-long fishing photo competition to promote safe and responsible (pono) fishing practices and to perpetuate the transfer of knowledge to sustain our marine resources from one generation to the next. The contest begins on World's Ocean Day and ends on Labor Day. Young and old are encouraged to submit their favorite fishing photo taken within the boundaries of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary or adjacent waters for a chance to win great prizes! Learn more about the Sanctuary Classic.