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PWF Earns WorkBoat Environmental Award

Nonprofit recognized for its multifaceted Green Practices Program.

February 16, 2012
Anne Rillero , The Maui Weekly

Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) recently received the Judges Special Recognition Award for Comprehensive Environmental Management through the 2011 WorkBoat Environmental Awards competition.

According to WorkBoat, the Environmental Awards in Comprehensive Environmental Management are for initiatives in the marine industry that are over and above regulatory compliance. WorkBoat magazine and are resources for commercial marine professionals and provide the latest news and information about the industry.

The WorkBoat staff provided the Judges Special Recognition Award to PWF in recognition of its multifaceted Green Practices Program, which works to: 1) reduce energy usage and the carbon footprint of PWF's ocean ecotours; 2) model responsible wildlife watching; 3) reduce landfill waste and prevent marine debris; 4) test and showcase environmentally sustainable practices that can be utilized throughout the maritime industry.

Article Photos

Pacific Whale Foundation’s ecotour vessels make it a practice to stop and retrieve marine debris that’s found at sea. Whether it’s a drift net or a runaway balloon, the debris is used to teach guests about the growing problem of marine debris in our planet’s oceans. Photo: Pacific Whale Foundation.

They noted that PWF's tours educate more than 300,000 guests about marine conservation each year. All profits support research, education and conservation programs to protect the ocean environment. Programs supported include marine science field trips and lab programs for school children, cetacean research, and Volunteering on Vacation, which links visitors with environmental service opportunities.

"This is an honor to be recognized nationally for our ongoing efforts on our ocean ecotours to protect the marine environment," said Greg Kaufman, president of Pacific Whale Foundation. "As a nonprofit environmental organization, we have a green, sustainable philosophy that is the governing factor in every aspect of our ecotour operation."

"Our bottom line is our mission of protecting our oceans through science and advocacy," said Kaufman. "Yes, the purpose of our PWF ecotours is to raise funds for our research, education and conservation programs, but the real bottom line is to educate hundreds of thousands of people every year about the marine environment, and model the best practices for doing so in an environmentally responsible manner."

WorkBoat's awards recognize successful efforts to incorporate environmentally sustainable practices into company/agency's daily maritime/industrial operations, plus innovation, leadership and/or commitment towards environmental stewardship.

Greg and Merrill Kaufman were recently invited featured speakers at a United Nations Environment Programme Workshop on "Marine Mammal Watching in the Wider Caribbean Region," which was held in Panama City, Panama, from Oct. 19-22.

Greg presented a keynote talk titled "Doing Well By Doing Good: How to Develop an Economically Viable and Ecologically Sound Whalewatch Operation."

Merrill's address focused on "Whale watching as a Platform for Education and Discussion," which highlighted Pacific Whale Foundation's commitment to providing high-quality educational experiences based on sound science to the 300,000 guests that embark on the organization's whale watches and ocean cruises each year.

PWF is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting our oceans through science and advocacy. Through educational whale watches and ocean ecotours, PWF educates the public about the ocean and also raises money for its research, education and conservation programs. These programs include humpback whale research projects in Hawai'i, Australia, Ecuador, Tonga and other parts of the Pacific, as well as studies of odontocetes (toothed whales and dolphins) off the coasts of Maui and Lana'i. PWF also provides marine education programs and environmental learning field trips for thousands of local schoolchildren on Maui, and works on numerous marine conservation issues.

To learn more, visit or call (808) 249-8811.

An avid whalewatcher, Anne Rillero is the communications manager at Pacific Whale Foundation.


The WorkBoat Award is the latest of a number of recognitions presented to PWF for its environmental initiatives. In December 2010, PWF received the prestigious United States Coast Guard William M. Benkert Marine Environmental Bronze Award for Excellence for outstanding achievements in marine environmental protection.

Pacific Whale Foundation also received the "Hero of Agriculture, Food and Environment Award: An Environmental Supporter Who Does Their Work with Excellence" at the 2010 Hawai'i Agriculture Conference in Honolulu. The organization has also received the Hawai'i Tourism Authority "Keep It Hawai'i" Lehua Maka Noe award, and was named to Islands Magazine's "Hot 100" Blue List of the world's top ecotourism choices in 2007. In 1988, PWF won the "Investing in the Environment" Award from Island Business Magazine. The organization also received the "Best Environmental Attraction" award in the 2011 The Maui News' "Best of Maui" Readers' Poll. PWF was voted "Maui's Best Activity Company" by the readers of Maui Time Weekly in 2011 and the "Best Environmental Nonprofit" in the 2010 Maui Time Weekly poll.



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