The conference and the awards were presented by the Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawai‘i with input from across the state from those working to create a sustainable agriculture sector in Hawai‘i.
PWF President and Founder Greg Kaufman accepted the award on behalf of the nonprofit organization’s 125 employees.
PWF, which is based on Maui, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) President and Founder Greg Kaufman recently accepted the “Hero of Agriculture, Food and Environment Award,” on behalf of the nonprofit organization’s 125 employees. PWF was honored as “An Environmental Supporter Who Does Their Work with Excellence” at a reception in Honolulu.
The award committee made special note of PWF’s Volunteering on Vacation program, which matches individuals and small groups interested in “voluntourism” with environmental nonprofit organizations, government agencies and Haleakalā National Park.
Since its creation in 2008, the program has connected over 4,000 volunteers to nonprofit organizations serving the environment on Maui. Resident and visiting volunteers have removed invasive plants, repaired sand dunes and native bird habitats, and worked at an Upcountry organic farm.
“The marketing, reservations and logistical support provided by the Volunteer on Vacation program makes it possible for these smaller groups to give back to the places they love to visit, while also meeting other like-minded people and learning about the local environment and culture,” the award announcement reported.
The Heroes of Agriculture, Food and Environment are given in memory of A. James “Jim” Wriston III and supported by his friends and partners: Stephen Nimz, Alan Gottlieb and Stephen Swift.
“Pacific Whale Foundation is honored to receive this acknowledgement of our successful Volunteering on Vacation program,” said Kaufman. “This program is now in its fourth year, and has been made possible through revenues raised by Pacific Whale Foundation Eco-Adventures and Pacific Whale Foundation’s Ocean Stores, plus an award from Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.
“We find that the guests on our wildlife watching ecotours are especially motivated to find ways to ‘give back’ to the local environment,” he said. “They are very appreciative of the Volunteering on Vacation program and the ease with which they can plug in to local volunteer opportunities.”
Kaufman also noted that PWF works to support local agriculture and businesses by specifying that the food served on its ecotours be obtained from local farmers and companies whenever possible.
“We’ve even changed our menu to reflect what's available locally—-whether it’s Maui Cattle Company, Maui Brewing Co. Beer, Uncle Louie’s Hotdogs, locally grown salad greens, and local papaya and pineapple,” he said.