I moved to Oahu in 2015 as a military spouse. When I moved here I semi-retired from my banking job. My goal was to volunteer with animals or marine life and have an opportunity to give back. Joining HMAR as a volunteer has been the most rewarding and wonderful thing I have ever done! Doing my part as a field responder in order to help preserve the lives of the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal has fulfilled me like nothing else. I have learned so much about this wonderful species from the Director, our Sector Managers, and employees, as well as other volunteers who have been doing this far longer than I have. I am able to provide outreach to the local community, as well as tourists that come upon a seal resting area I may be working. It gives me so much joy to be able to answer questions and provide information about our beautiful Hawaiian Monk Seals, and also to be able to watch over them and provide valuable information to our organization on the identity, actions and behaviors I witness during the seals resting time on these beautiful beaches. My life has been forever changed because of Hawaii Marine Animal Response. My time on island is coming to an end soon and I will truly, truly miss working with these amazing Hawaiian Monk Seals and also with this amazing organization called Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMMA). Mahalo!
I was fortunate to become a volunteer on the beaches of Oahu watching over and educating the public about Hawaii's monk seals over a year ago. This opportunity was given to me by Hawaii Marine Animal Response whose director is Jon Gelman (originally Hawaii Marine Mammal Alliance). There have been many challenges including the amazing birth of a pup on a Waikiki beach after 50-60 years. From my work here and background in biology , I can vouch for HMAR being a positive influence in monk seal recovery. I hope you will support this effort for Hawaii's monk seals. There are various ways you can contribute, either as a volunteer on our beaches or with a donation to HMAR to help continue to build on the tools and resources available to aid in the Hawaiian monk seal recovery effort.
I became a HMMA volunteer to have the rare opportunity to spend time with and learn from the monk seals. The training was informative and my time spent with the animals has given me a greater respect for how delicate our ocean environments truely are. I was even more impressed by how well organized and run this organization is. It's is a pleasure to help out when I can!
I have worked as a volunteer on the beaches with Hawaii's monk seals since 2013, and have been impressed with the organization of Hawaii Marine Animal Response, and the director, Jon Gelman. HMAR, under Hawaii Marine Mammal Alliance, began overseeing the volunteer response in 2016 and the coordination of volunteers and the resources brought to the table have been very helpful. Between managing the unique challenges of a mother and pup in Waikiki, to volunteer surveys around Oahu and Molokai, to new tools to help volunteers respond to and report on monk seal behavior, HMAR has been a positive influence in the monk seal recovery. I hope you'll consider supporting Hawaii's monk seals, whether as a volunteer on our beaches or with a donation to HMAR to help continue to build on the tools and resources available to aid in the Hawaiian monk seal recovery effort.
Our primary reason for existing is to educate the public about the Hawaiian Monk Seal. Our outreach goes beyond the beaches where they haul out; we educate in many other locations, such as Sea Life Park, the aquarium, various sports venues, etc. As an endangered species, it is paramount to teach all who come in contact with them the importance of giving them the
respect they deserve. They have been here a lot longer than we have.
What I have learned about not only the monk seal but also marine life in general has been most rewarding and fulfilling. And the dedicated fellow volunteers have such a passion for what they do.
All in all I have thoroughly loved working as a volunteer. I hope more will make the time and become one too.
I am so privileged to be a volunteer for HMAR and be a small part of the conservation effort. I've met so many dedicated volunteers who inspire me and teach me about Hawaiian monk seals and other marine life. I am so blessed to be able to watch over the seals and work with the public, both locals and tourists, who seem so interested in also learning about individual seals and the population in general. Occasionally, a local will tell me they have lived in Hawaii all their lives and have never seen a Hawaiian monk seal. Educating that person about the monk seals and the individual seal just encountered is as exciting for me as it is for the local experiencing their first encounter with one. People leave after their encounter excited and wanting to tell their friends and families what they just experienced and learned and some even want to be volunteers to carry on these conservation efforts.
I am a Kama'aina of the Islands of Hawai'i. I grew up loving the ocean sports of surfing, paddling, but we never really learned about the sea life and our fragile ecosystem here in the middle of this incredible Pacific Ocean.
Since the monk seals started 'hauling out' on the Waikiki
shores in the summer of 2017 & when Kaimana pup was born at Kaimana Beach, I saw a very important need to become educated and to learn more about these sea creatures as many hundreds of tourists and local people would daily gather and share in the exciting experience of a new pup never before born at Kaimana Beach.
I had a lot of questions-legal in matter - and in the species itself. I asked a volunteer of HMMA/HMAR how to become a volunteer who told me of the website to go onto and I signed up immediately.
There was such a great response of people wanting to learn more about the Hawaiian Monk Seals that HMMA was holding extra classes to educate and inform people who might be interested. Everything i learned in the 4 hr intro session was ALL totally new & fascinating to me.
I continued learning by going on the NOAA website & hanging out and listening to the volunteers and staff talk to people. I became a volunteer, told my friends and family everything I learned as they were eager to be informed about the new additions of pups to our islands.
I shared with my friends in the fire dept and lifeguards who never knew all this information and they shared with others. I shared with my family, children and grandchildren and they were very excited by the information I had learned from HMMR/HMAR-NOAA which provided all new knowledge to them & they shared with many more. The tourists were always very appreciative for all the information about the Hawaiian Monk Seals.
Everyone has been so eager to learn about the HAWAIIAN MONK SEALS which shows me that the KNOWLEDGE that was shared with me from NOAA HMMA/HMAR HAS reached hundreds & hundreds more just from one individual. and HMMA lighting the path with the passion care great respect, awareness, understanding & instilling the greater harmony & manao (wisdom) between humans sea & land creatures while embracing a higher consciousness for our fragile Earth its vitale clean living waters & vitale clean fresh air all necessary to live on this Earth together as one living harmonious & safe unit.
NOAA-HMMR/HMAR should definitely receive the highest award and recommendation as a NONPROFIT & have increased funding for the generous work of time effort passion and patience by it's dedicated volunteers & incredible devoted loving fun staff.
Mahalo Nui Loa, Lynnette L Mau
I am a volunteer for HMAR and I absolutely love it, it's a wonderful organization! We get to meet lots of people and educate about Hawaiian Monk Seals. And better yet, spend lots of time with these endangered critters.
About two years ago I was walking along Diamondhead Beach and came across a Hawaiian monk seal. I got out my smart phone and found a number for the hotline to report a Hawaiian monk seal citing. I called the hotline (888) 256-9840 and they asked me lots of questions which I answered to the best of my ability. I then asked how I could volunteer and was told to logon to the website
www.h-mar.org and click on volunteer.
I signed up for their orientation program and became a volunteer. I met with Jon Gelman who heads up this program and went through the orientation process and that was that...I was a new volunteer!
I spent quite a few shifts last summer volunteering to look after a newborn Hawaiian monk seal pup named Kaiwi (Born on the Kaiwi coast). That experience was very exciting and rewarding and I was hooked. I enjoyed many shifts volunteering for HMAR and I only did so when it was convenient for my schedule.
The following summer another Hawaiian monk seal pup was born at Kiamana beach and I enjoyed volunteering my time during this very critical birthing and weaning stage. I was glad to have had a year of experience volunteering as this was a challenging experience due to the fact that Kiamana is such a heavily populated beach.
I have enjoyed every moment of volunteering for HMAR, Hawaii marine animal response. This experience has been very rewarding on many levels.
If you have some extra time and are interested in volunteering for a very worthy cause then I would highly recommend that you take a leap of faith and get involved.
I joined HMAR on my birthday this year and was trained and ready for field duty just in time to do 'pupwatch' with Rocky and Kaimana. Such a blessing to be involved in preserving and conserving these wonderful animals for mother nature.
HMAR is an awesome team of caring people who are concerned about the future of our environment. As part of the team, not only do I feel like I am helping an endangered animal species, but reaching out to the public to help them see the importance of preserving our natural resources. The tourists from all over the world as well as local people are thrilled when they see and learn about the Hawaiian Monk seal that has lived here millions of years before man, and is struggling to survive and co-exist with man. The volunteers spend many hours with the seals and have many joyful as well as tearful experiences to share. I'm very proud to be a part of HMAR.
When I was new to the island, I started volunteering with HMAR. It changed my life. I've been able to learn so much about the animals and watch them positively thrive in the public eye because of HMAR. Sensational staff/volunteers and extraordinary mission.
I've been working with HMAR since August and I absolutely love it! I'm learning so much about the Hawaiian Monk Seals, learning my way around the island and meeting so many awesome people! So glad I have this opportunity!
I actually stumbled upon HMAR by accident. I’m new to Oahu, work at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and on my weekends off, I’d go explore a different part of the island. On one of these such weekends I ended up at Kaena Point and happened upon RIP. A male Hawaiian monk seal. I knew nothing about monk seals but called the number on the plaque and spoke with Ella. I was able to get her all the pertinent info so that she could Id him as RIP and I was hooked from then on. I stayed there most of the day watching him and later he interacted with another unknown seal. Ella asked if I’d like to volunteer and I jumped at the chance. I went to orientation and immediately headed to Kaimana Beach to see Rocky and her 3 week old pup Kaimana. I spent every weekend the next 3-4 weeks there watching over them, helping the other volunteers with the SRA’s and talking to numerous people, both local and visitors who wanted a glimpse of mom and pup.
I then started my own shifts at Turtle Bay resort and Sandy’s beach and other places watching and learning about other seals.
I learned how fragile their lives are as well as how much just watching them enriched my life. These are great people and a great organization who’s soul purpose is the well being of endangered animals such as the monk seals and sea turtles. I am proud to be a part of such a great organization and hope that we can be a positive influence to add more great people to our family
As a marine sciences grad student from the mainland, when I first volunteered, I'd not yet seen a critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal; some native Hawaiians have never seen one! I've enjoyed every chance to volunteer by watching over a seal, and sometimes her pup resting on a beach or swimming nearby and, if I can, answering others' questions . The HMAR is a network of many extremely knowledgeable and helpful volunteers and managers to teach, coach, and encourage others for the benefit of these fellow creatures who need our protection.
I have found a place through HMAR to help save our Hawaiian Monk Seals and have the opportunity to talk and educate both locals and people from around the world. I have discovered beaches on Oahu i never knew existed and rediscovered others from childhood memories.
The people involved are caring and knowledgeable and all care about keeping the monk seals and other marine animals safe while allowing visitors the opportunity to see nature on our beaches. I love the outreach both in the classrooms and in the community, however it is the time on the beaches with the seals that enrich my life. Being involved in HMAR allows me to make a difference in the world while having fun out in the field.