Mission: The organization's primary purpose is to protect & perpetuate the endangered hawaiian monk seal through: (1) education through public events, school programs & media relations to increase the local community & visitor awareness of the hawaiian monk seal; (2) by developing, training and maintaining a volunteer network; & (3) by assisting federal, state and non government organizations' efforts in the recovery of the hawaiian monk seal in the wild.
Programs: During 2012, the organization spent $38,143 in grant monies received from noaa. The primary objective of the grant monies is to enhance noaa's mission in the recovery of the hawaiian monk seal in accordance with marine mammal protection act and the endangered species act. The organization accomplished this by preventing disburstance of seals through public outreach and education during responses to monk seal events such as haul outs, molting, pupping, hookings and other injuries, sightings, relocations and husbandry via the recruiting, training & scheudling of volunteers to respond to the above events. The organization recruited and trained 210 volunteers who logged over 10,500 hours of volunteer beach response on the islands of oahu & molokai. The volunteers also manned booths at 11 fairs and other events and logged over 100 hours in school classrooms to present our educational dvd about the hawaiian monk seal. Seven volunteers were sent to the marine mammal center in marin, ca to receive advanced training in captive seal care. We also assisted noaa in their two bi-annual seal count days by recruiting, training & scheduling volunteer counters for those days.
I have been a volunteer with HMSRTO for the past couple of years.
In this time I have been dissapointed over and over again.
HMSRTO consists of a board made of a group of women who are highly disorganised and secretive.They do not disclose anything related to the organisation, its plans, its strategies other than to board members or people they consider "close". They do not care, reward or cater in any way for all those volunteers who are at the beach constantly.They do not train volunteers, inform them of protocols or even safety/liability issues.
Although they get a substantial grant from NOAA and other donations, they do not produce anything. HMSRTO get all the material from NOAA and do not give any of that to any of the volunteers. It is up to the volunteers to figure out how to do things and how to do outreach. You will rarely see any of the board members at the beach, doing the harsh tasks.You will see them though at events with NOAA or places with press.
Although they declare in their 990 Form 200 volunteers, the truth is they can only hold that amount of people during pupping events (2 months a year) and the rest of the year there are 15 volunteers if lucky. Those volunteers that do not enter the "club" of the Board members, are demeaned and ignored. They lie about their achievements to NOAA in order to justify the grant received.
As a summary, do not become a volunteer for HMSRTO or invest in them. This is a private club not an NGO.