LIHU‘E — Jean Ogawa of Kalaheo was honored in Washington, D.C. by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Tuesday.
A volunteer at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Ogawa was one of 14 individuals across the National Marine Sanctuary system nominated for the foundation’s Volunteer of the Year award.
The recognition is part of Capitol Hill Ocean Week, an oceans-focused annual conference coordinated by the NMSF, a private non-profit organization supporting the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, states a release from the HIHWNMS.
Ogawa has provided volunteer support for numerous sanctuary outreach and education efforts on the island of Kaua‘i for almost a decade, fostering strong relationships with students and the Girl Scout program.
An educator, Ogawa has led activities to encourage ocean stewardship, including beach-based student workshops for the King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School and other school.
Additionally, she has contributed her expertise to the sanctuary’s management plan review and the proposed Kaua‘i NOAA/Sanctuary discovery center.
“Jean’s relationship with the sanctuary has helped foster the deep commitment and relevance the sanctuary has to its communities,” said Malia Chow, sanctuary superintendent. “Over the years, she has created new venues for sanctuary programs and she continues to recruit volunteers.”
The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is administered by a partnership between NOAA and the state of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The shallow, warm waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands constitute one of the world’s most important humpback whale habitats.
Sanctuary volunteers will be available, Saturday during the World Oceans Day event hosted by the Friends of the Hanapepe Public Library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hanapepe Public Library.