The success of Pacific Whale Foundation’s pilot Virtual Ocean Camps last month has inspired the nonprofit to offer additional sessions through July at almost half the cost of regular sessions. Acutely cognizant of COVID-19’s economic impact, PWF remains committed to supporting our global community during these challenging times by providing schoolchildren in grades 1-5 engaging educational content and ocean awareness while observing critical safety standards as we weather the pandemic together.

“Given the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in and the importance of maintaining strong connections to the environment, we are excited to extend our Virtual Ocean Camp at a reduced cost,” acknowledges PWF Education Manager Robyn Ehrlich.

PWF Education Specialist Rebecca Lewis, who serves as Ocean Camp instructor, worked closely with families and PWF leadership in developing this new virtual program that keeps keiki excited about ecology and marine conservation. Each uniquely themed week-long session includes daily science lessons, team-building games and other activities, expressive crafts and nature-based inquiry.  

The format features an hour and a half of face-to-face interaction with PWF’s professional educators and other 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 instructor and other participants the following day. 

“We had a blast participating in Pacific Whale Foundation’s Virtual Ocean Camp in June,“ says Kiaora Bohlool, whose daughter Kiana recently completed a Virtual Ocean Camp session. “Not only did we learn about some very memorable marine- and earth-related topics, but also enjoyed great games and fun connections with kids from around the country during the virtual interaction segment, followed by really cool crafts and creative [offline] activities that Kiana and I did together.“

The next Virtual Ocean Camps take place July 13-17, 20-24 and 27-31 with sessions at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., each lasting approximately two hours. Registration for individual weeklong sessions is now only $45 ($36 for PWF members). Each session can accommodate up to 15 students. For information on each session’s specific theme, visit pacificwhale.org/education/ocean-camp.

“All sessions comprise several activities designed to keep kids hopping while they’re learning,” Ehrlich explains. “We’ll have hands-on opportunities for movement either conducted while standing up near the computer or doing something like a scavenger hunt throughout their house. What we don’t want is children just sitting in front of the computer screen listening to someone talk for an hour and a half.” 

Spots are still available for the remaining Virtual Ocean Camp sessions. For more information or to sign up for a session, go to pacificwhale.org/education/ocean-camp, contact the Education department at (808) 856-8341 or email education@pacificwhale.org.   

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With a mission to protect the ocean through science and advocacy and to inspire environmental stewardship, Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) conducts Research, Education and Conservation programs. Founded in 1980 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the world’s whales from extinction, PWF now solely owns social enterprise PacWhale Eco-Adventures, which offers fee-based programs and services to help support the nonprofit. Combined with memberships, donations, charitable grants and a remarkable group of dedicated volunteers, PWF now reaches more than 400,000 individuals each year through its Maui and Australia offices and research projects in Ecuador and Chile.