DV-16-09 Downeast Whale Watch Training Program

Tanya Lubansky
Allied Whale and Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company   
tlubansky@unity.edu

Since 2004, Allied Whale and Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company have collaborated to provide recent college graduates with research internships on Bar Harbor Whale Watch tours. During tours, interns collect data and photographs of all large marine mammals, and act as educational assistants to the naturalist. In recent years, during exit interviews, interns expressed interest in having greater information at the beginning of their internship to allow them to provide tourists with more in-depth knowledge about whales.

This project funds expert speakers to host training workshops prior to tour season. These workshops provide a comprehensive overview, introduction, and foundational knowledge about the Gulf of Maine, its resources, wildlife, fisheries, and stewardship for interns, naturalists, and boat operators. Improving the educational quality on the whale watch boats in the area between Bar Harbor and Eastport is important: more than 100,000 people (more than 50,000 on whale watching tours alone) from Maine and around the world take boat tours with Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company. Hundreds of people take marine boat tours with small companies in Downeast Maine. Impacts from this project include the providing accurate information about the marine resources, fisheries, climate change to the public to raise awareness of the ocean environment.

Sea Grant funds: $4,885