Fueled by the success of Pacific Whale Foundation’s pilot virtual Ocean Camps earlier this year, PWF presents Ocean Camp: From Screen to Sea, Oct. 5-9, an educational program for Maui first- through fifth-graders featuring both virtual and in-person ocean engagement.

“Given the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in and the importance of maintaining strong connections to the environment, we are excited to offer this unique mix of educational content to our keiki,” explains PWF Education Manager Robyn Ehrlich.

This innovative hybrid approach encourages local children to learn about marine environments and wildlife while remaining safe at home via a thoughtfully curated virtual program presented by PWF Education Specialists. In addition, registered students will board a PacWhale Eco-Adventures boat for a thrilling three-hour ocean experience guided by Certified Marine Naturalists. To ensure the health and safety of everyone on board, the vessel has been modified to accommodate proper social distancing of passengers, and all staff are trained to follow rigorous COVID-19 protocols. 

Centered around the theme, “When You Wish Upon a Sea Star,” the week-long session includes daily live-streaming science lessons, team-building games and other activities, expressive crafts and nature-based inquiry.  

The virtual portion features an hour and a half to two hours of daily face-to-face interaction with PWF’s professional educators and fellow campers via a password-protected online visual communication platform that encourages group participation. In addition, campers are given optional daily activities to engage in away from the computer, which they can share with the group the following day. 

The upcoming Ocean Camp session runs from 9am to approximately 11am Monday, Oct. 5, through Thursday, Oct. 8, with the in-person ecotour leaving Ma‘alaea Harbor at 8:30am (check-in time is 7:45am at PWF’s Ma‘alaea Ocean Store) on Friday, Oct. 9 (subject to change depending on marine conditions). As the maximum number of attendees per session is 15, early registration is strongly suggested.  

The cost to register is $100 per camper ($80 for PWF Members) and includes the ocean ecotour chartered from the nonprofit’s social enterprise, PacWhale Eco-Adventures. Through the generosity of PWF Members and donors who subsidized much of the overall cost, campers may invite one adult on the boat trip free of charge and one adult at a discounted rate of $20 or $16 for PWF Members. In this way, PWF hopes to make this distinctive hybrid educational adventure available to the extended Maui ‘ohana. 

PWF’s hybrid Ocean Camp is a great way to safely educate keiki about marine conservation from the comfort of home capped by a real-life ocean adventure where they can apply what they’ve learned as future environmental stewards.

For more information about Ocean Camp: From Screen to Sea or to sign up,  visit pacificwhale.org/education/ocean-camp, contact the Education department at (808) 856-8341 or email education@pacificwhale.org.