Renovated Whale Sanctuary Visitor Center Blessed

February 23, 2012, 3:55 PM HST · Updated February 23, 4:01 PM
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Photo Credit: Paul Wong, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, talks about the importance of the renovated visitor center which takes advantage of the stunning oceanfront location and provides an ideal place for all ages to learn about Hawaii

By Wendy Osher

A blessing ceremony was held on Wednesday to recognize the recent renovation of a historic building on Maui, dedicated to whale research and marine education.

The renovations to the Visitor Center at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, take advantage of the picturesque oceanfront views of the south Maui coast, and the marine environment just offshore.

Home to the sanctuary since 1994, the Kīhei property has undergone a variety of improvements over the last few years.

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The visitor center will feature temporary exhibits while permanent ones are being planned, funded, and developed.

Future exhibits will highlight the work of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and others in protecting the sanctuary and the marine environment.

Photo Credit: Paul Wong, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, participated in a ceremony to bless the sanctuary’s new Visitor Center in Kihei, Maui with sanctuary advisory council member Kimokeo Kapahulehua.

Interpretive signs placed outside will highlight stories of the historic Hawaiian fishpond adjacent to the property.  Additional displays will explain how native Hawaiians lived in concert with the land and sea.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to visit the Sanctuary Visitor Center, open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A variety of special lectures and other free events are held on site.

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is administered jointly by a partnership of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The work of the sanctuary includes the protection of humpback whales through research, education, conservation and stewardship.

Also yesterday, partner agencies joined in blessing the new whale research vessel, the Kohola, at Maalaea Harbor, several miles to the West of the Sanctuary offices.

***Supporting information courtesy HIHWNMS.

Photo Credit: Paul Wong, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, participated in a ceremony to bless the sanctuary’s new Visitor Center in Kihei, Maui with sanctuary advisory council member Kimokeo Kapahulehua.

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