School Education: The Monk Seal Foundation has a Department of Education approved curriculum for grades K-12 that we offer to schools in O’ahu, Moloka’i, and Maui. A veteran volunteer teaches a free and informative 45-60 minute presentation about Hawaiian monk seals, threats to their survival, current conservation initiatives, and responsible wildlife viewing techniques.
Docent Programs: The Foundation has docent programs at two local aquariums, Seal Life Park in O’ahu and Maui Ocean Center in Maui, where veteran volunteers host an education booth to inform residents and tourists of monk seal conservation efforts. The booths are designed to be informative to both adults and children. To reach the largest audience, we consistently attend Seal Life Park weekly and Maui Ocean Center bimonthly on weekend days.
Distribution of Educational Materials: The Foundation distributes educational brochures, pamphlets, and information cards to coastal hotels, condominiums, and businesses. This is important because these entities or their customers/residents are often the first to spot a monk seal coming ashore. By informing the businesses of what to do, we are better protecting the seals because the coastal businesses know who to contact and how. Some of the businesses have even evolved into our allies, training their staff to clear space for seals that haul out. This has resulted in seals frequenting specific beaches where they are consistently accommodated for, which is significant for the species’ recovery.
Annual Wyland Art Contest: We cohost the annual ‘Conservation through Art’ contest with the Wyland Foundation, of which the famous environmental artist, Wyland, is a judge. The contest is offered to all students in public and private schools in grades K-12. The goal of the contest is to engage and inspire students to learn more about the Hawaiian monk seal and its unique role in Hawaii’s ecosystem. The Monk Seal Foundation and the Wyland Foundation both believe a pivotal part of any conservation effort is building awareness among our future leaders.
Public Service Announcements: In collaboration with other non-profits and government agencies we produce and promote public service announcements about the status of the endangered Hawaiian monk seals and to promote responsible viewing of seals on beaches. The ads run from 2-8 minutes and feature video footage of monk seals coupled with facts and compelling messages. They have helped to change public attitudes and behaviors towards monk seals, as well as to enhance respect for the species.
COMING SOON: Podcast: The Monk Seal Foundation produces a podcast entitled Haswaii’s Most Endangered: Living on the Edge of Extinction. We interview leading scientists in the monk seal conservation community, our veteran volunteers, experts from NOAA, and representatives from other marine organizations. The podcasts are designed to bring awareness to the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal by relaying interesting stories from the field and divulging up-to-the-minute information from those most active in conservation efforts.
Outreach Events: We routinely attend events across the state where we are able to reach out to community members and build public awareness of monk seal conservation needs. Our staff and volunteers host booths supplied with informative brochures and pamphlets, intriguing visual displays and interactive props and games. These events serve as a key mechanism for us to educate residents about monk seals, listen to community members’ concerns, and spread our message to new audiences.