Save the Whales is one of the most dedicated and impactful non-profits in the Monterey Bay area. They are a solution-oriented organization that promotes change through education and direct action. By raising awareness about marine mammals and human threats to these beautiful creatures, Save the Whales inspires people of all ages to reconsider their everyday activities for the greater good. Their secret to success is a creative, hands-on approach that resonates with children, teens, and adults from all backgrounds.
I first learned about Save the Whales as a member of the public. Tom had set up a table at Whalefest with krill, baleen, and even whale poop! I was completely mesmerized by these items and extremely impressed with Tom’s knowledge on the subject. From that day on, I knew I wanted to be a part of Save the Whales. During my three years with Save the Whales, I found a sense of purpose through service to my community. My activities ranged from tabling events, school assemblies, litter cleanups, gluing emblems onto storm drains, labeling harmful household chemicals, and analyzing survey results.
To this day, Save the Whales is the most caring and exciting organization I have ever worked for. They treated me like family, respected my individuality, and even helped me with transportation. I am prone to epileptic seizures and therefore am not allowed to drive. Maris always checked to make sure I had transportation and, when I did not, she would drive me to and from work herself. I received nothing but kindness and compassion from Save the Whales and, thanks to them, I am now able to embody these traits in the workplace.
Thank you to all the wonderful people at Save the Whales! Monterey Bay needs this amazing organization.
I started volunteering with Save the Whales through my service learning class at CSUMB. I was very excited help with an ocean conscious organization, and got to participate in adding "no dumping" emblems to storm drains around the Monterey area. I love that I can walk by them today and see a little piece of what I did, as well as a reminder to everyone who walks by it that what we do on land impacts the ocean.
I also got to help at multiple Whalefest events where Save the Whales has an amazing life-size inflatable Humpback whale. I love helping and seeing as the kid's faces light up when they learn they can go inside. It is truly a unique and amazing experience, and a great opportunity to start teaching kids about marine debris and what they can do to help.
Save the Whales is a fantastic organization to volunteer with a variety of education programs and community services. I have loved working with the staff and helping the environment and the community around me.
It was a pleasure working with Save the Whales. They gave an inspiring lesson on the vaquita and my first graders decided to sell popsicles to raise money to help them. The whole school got involved and we ended up raising about $1,200.00. Our local newspaper covered the story.
Save the whales has many educational tools to make students and the public feel like their experiences are all real and memorable. Not just looking at photos or lectures. A watershed presentation, Sea Turtle, Otters, and whales which my favorite is Dee the Beautiful Whale. For those who haven't seen her she brings the amazing size of a Humpback Whale to reality, she's a 43ft long inflatable Humpback Whale. This fascinating and engaging Whale is mostly used in schools so students can really capture a Whale's size and understand our connection to Whales since we're both mammals. To add even more excitement you can go inside to see her organs in order to really grasp their size compared to our own and our similarities to them.
There is something truly special about watching the faces of all those who get to see her inflate for the first time to capture the magic of being in the presence of a Whale (since we can't and don't want to capture a real Whale) this brings a special connection to those who live away from the ocean. Dee doesn't just captivate students, all ages love to be around her. Some of the students have never been to the ocean so Dee makes learning real. On top of seeing her you can hear Humpback singing their magical songs, touch real Baleen, and make the connection of how we can help these majestic creatures by picking up trash on the land.
All of these amazing hands on tools of learning and teaching makes Save the Whales stand out from other nonprofits. They prioritize not just teaching to teach but truly connect with the students and all those listening and inspire them to make a difference everyday.
Save the Whales is the most amazing nonprofit. It's run by very knowledgeable folks who are passionate about the ocean and it's inhabitants. STW has wonderful educational programs as well as "Take Action" steps that engage anyone wanting to help make a difference preserving our oceans, for example, with the Balloon Ambassador program. You can find this board member sporting whale attire any day of the week!
I had the pleasure of working with Save the Whales in many different roles off and on for about 5 years and it was one of the most fulfilling and educational experiences that I have been a part of. Save the Whales helped me to not only become more educated and passionate about reaching out to our community members regarding the health of our marine habitat but also our involvement as individuals and responsibilities to keep it safe, clean and healthy.
Save the Whales helped me grow my network of colleagues in the Monterey area to excel in my passion for the marine environment. I was able to gain knowledge about working with the city and county to help the National Marine Sanctuary as well as build leadership, communication and organizational skills to succeed.
Save the Whales gave me and experience that I will forever be grateful for, and skills that will be with me for my entire career. It was a valuable turning point in my educational path.
I've worked for other nonprofits where the administrators and co-workers were unprofessional, unorganized, condescending, and uncaring. NOT SO with Save The Whales! My 1st volunteering exposure to them restored my belief that there are truly good, dedicated people in nonprofits! I was immediately impressed with their careful scheduling of volunteers by keeping people's needs in mind. Their whole focus is to help the planet locally and globally. Further, they help create kindness and respect for every being and part of our environment one person, one cause, one school, one event at a time. Children, students, and adults are exposed and educated about how our everyday actions impact the world. The mom and daughter founders have given their lives and have sacrificed much by putting animals, other beings, and environment first. They never give up and they lead by example, always on the alert for how they can help more -- locally and globally. Bravo to this amazing nonprofit!
Maris is a dedicated, passionate founder of Save the Whales. Her entire goal is to educate others on marine mammals and their conservation. How amazing is it that her childhood dream became a reality. This is truly a grass-roots organization at its heart and soul.
Save the Whales is such an amazing organization. I was lucky enough to volunteer and work with Maris and Amanda and some of their other teammates as well. Save the Whales organization is not just about whales, while working with them I did many different events that promote sustainability and love for our planet. Some events included beach clean-ups, taking students to the beaches and teaching some small experiments with the ocean water, helping at a local garden, and as seen in the picture linked, working directly with schools to show and tell kids how amazing whales are:)
Save the Whales (STW) has been very supportive of the Butterfly Garden in Del Rey Oaks, CA. At our pre-pandemic workday, STW arrived with a team of eager volunteers. Each were passionate to advance outreach for Integrated Pest Management and Pollution Prevention by demonstrating weed control using sheet cardboard methods, with recycled chip mulch overlay, planting native pollinator-friendly species, and erecting a barn owl box. STW’s volunteer efforts made a real difference and impact. Their staff also helped facilitate and implement Stormwater Pollution Prevention grant objectives by researching and obtaining native pollinator plants for the Butterfly Garden. Sustainable Del Rey Oaks is very grateful for STWs support and their education efforts to prevent pesticides from entering our creeks, rivers, and the ocean.
Chair, Sustainable Del Rey Oaks
Save The Whales (STW) is like no other. Their impact is phenomenal, both locally and globally. Co-founders Maris Sidenstecker I & II have dedicated their lives for marine mammals and the oceans in general. They are inspirations on how each of us can make a positive impact. Whether stenciling stormdrains, litter assessments, Low Impact Development Workshops, Green Gardening outreach in stores, to community exhibits and surveys, school presentations, and radio, TV, print, and online ads, they do it all, and masterfully.
STW seamlessly collaborates with other like-minded entities and non-profits to magnify their messages and stretch funds. Their extensive connections are put to good use with local municipalities, politicians, media personalities, environmental superstars such as Jane Goodall. STW works with many municipalities in the Monterey Bay to conduct stormwater outreach and education. STW has been recognized for their many accomplishments by various cities, most recently, The City of Greenfield for helping to save the Vaquita porpoise from extinction.
STW was honored to receive $8,000 from an elementary school student in Texas who was bullied when she turned the focus from being a target of bullying into a fund-raiser for STW. Her inspiration allowed STW to purchase a full-size humpback whale inflatable replica. This whale named, "Dee", is 43' long - people can enter her to view her organs! This has been an amazing outreach tool to inspire personal responsibility to save whales and our oceans in general. Humpbacks are the anti-bullies of the seas by fending off orcas from other marine mammals and fish such as Mola molas.
Working side-by-side STW for over 10 years has been a privilege. I can't say enough in this format to substantiate this fact. Maris is the real deal. Her heart, soul and being are "all In" saving whales and our planet. I'm with her. Hope you are too.
I have supported Save the Whales (STW) for over 30 years, and have been a board member for the last 10 years. As a marine biologist and educator, I have witnessed first -hand the amazing work of STW to fulfill its mission to preserve and protect the ocean and its inhabitants. The founders, Maris Sidenstecker I and II, along with staff and volunteers, have a deep, unwavering passion for their mission and have met and surpassed the goals and expectations of STW. Over the 44 years of the existence of STW, it has educated thousands of students through its bilingual education programs and informative website, it has influenced marine policy, and has acted as an information hub for those who work with whales and dolphins world-wide. In addition, they have worked with communities statewide to monitor for and educate citizens about clean watersheds. STW has led through their actions and has not been afraid to stand up to large corporations and agencies on behalf of cetaceans and the ocean’s inhabitants, both nationally and internationally.
I am proud to be a board member of STW, one of the most transparent and honest organizations I have served on, and I feel privileged to work with an organization that continues to inspire and teach so many to be effective ocean conservationists.
My volunteering experience was not what I expected. The leadership seemed unorganized, and employees frequently made promises they could not keep (specifically, about their ability to provide transportation, and their willingness to work around student schedules). I was forced to give a previous review - in which I had to post a picture - and I felt I could not be completely truthful since the review would not be anonymous. After giving what I felt was a very generous review, I received an email from an administrator berating me for said review. I found this to be extremely unprofessional, and will not be volunteering with them again.
Our school had the presentation Sea Turtles and Debris. Tom did four classes of third gradera at Ohlone Elementary. My students were engaged, asked questions and did not want presentation to end. The activities, visuals and artificats the presentor brought allowed students to understand the content better. We are a title 1 school and 85 % of the students are English learners and they were able to comprehend the content because of presenter's ability to use prior knowledge and his interactions with rhe students. My students decided to do more research on sea turtles and other sea creatures, I have no hesitation in asking him to come back next year. Thank You from all of us at Ohone Elementary and the Pajaro Community.
I am a Teacher at Ohlone School. Tom came to do a presentation on marine animals. He presented to all the third graders at Ohlone. We are a TITLE 1 School and have many students with limited English skills. Tom presentations were educational and accessible to all students. He used hands on activities and visuals to reach all students. The students learned so much from his presentations that they started a Save the Earth Club at Ohlone.
I can't say enough good things about Save the Whales. Maris is always on my mind as I struggle to find my place in the science world. My experience with Save the Whales is the most professional and exciting experience I have ever had, and I am realizing more and more that watershed science and ocean advocacy will always be my greatest passion.
I started with Maris as a volunteer in 2016 as part of my service learning requirement at CSUMB. After working with Save the Whales for one semester, I was hired as an outreach intern. This was the first real job I had in the sciences and it launched my career in ways I never could have imagined.
My three years with Save the Whales gave me the experience necessary to teach an undergraduate Biology course at a California State University. It has also opened opportunities to work with state and federal agencies to preserve our watersheds and marine habitats. Most importantly, however, it allowed me to serve my community by making science more accessible and advocating for our marine friends.
A wonderful non-profit with a great mission. They are currently working on many projects that focus on local wildlife, storm water issues, single use plastics, and trash cleanups. Save the Whales does education programs for Monterey County schools with an emphasis on South Monterey County. Education programs include "DEE", the 43' inflatable humpback whale, watershed model, and building butterfly gardens to help the western monarch butterfly population. The gardens while also be used to help teach proper storm water behaviors. I am proud to be a part of Save the Whales.
I volunteered with Save the Whales Fall 2019. I had a wonderful time working with everybody on the Save the Whales team. It is a very positive and fun environment to work in. I really enjoyed working with the children in Soledad and working on restoration projects. It was a great learning experience and they are an amazing organization.
I had a good experience with Save the Whales through my service learning class at Cal State Monterey Bay. The staff was very friendly, approachable, and kind. The scheduling was a little confusing, but staff was very good about answering questions, and replying quickly.
I had the amazing opportunity to work with Save the Whales Fall Semester of 2019. In this experience, through education and serving, Save the Whales focuses on educating the public, especially kids, on the importance of marine species. Save the Whales has taught me how to inform others about the impact people have in the Monterey County and how we as a community can get together to make changes. I enjoyed every activity, from trash pickups, to helping create a butterfly garden, to inflating a huge actual size whale and teaching kids the physiology of whales. Maris, Amanda, and Dan have shown how much they care about our community and I am happy to have volunteered for them.
I am an instructor of Marine Science service learning at CSUMB and every semester, I encourage my students to choose Save the Whales as a service learning partner. Their experiences volunteering with Save the Whales have been wonderful - they have plenty of opportunities to work in different communities and schools throughout the County, work with the most passionate volunteers and educators, and help make a difference. I feel great knowing that my students are putting their energy and talents into such a worthy cause and in return, they learn so much.
The photo below shows some of my students at the beach with a whale rib bone and vertebrae. This was taken after they took field trips to the beach with underserved students from Soledad and had them use binoculars to look at birds and marine life, do water monitoring, and build a blue whale on the beach.
Research shows that providing students experiences that connect them with nature at a young age is one of the best ways both to improve academic performance and emotional/social maturity across the board, and to instill an environmental ethic and interest in science. Underserved communities often have less access to these important outdoor education opportunities, particularly here in Monterey County where underserved communities are generally located farther from the beaches, and their school districts often lack the funding to take them to the coastal environment. Save the Whales works with schools throughout the county, making an important dent in this gap in access to outdoor and nature experiences. They also do vital work cleaning up the community, from beaches to urban areas, to make sure pollution doesn't make it to storm drains and the ocean.
My experience with Save the Whales has been one I won’t forget. Last spring, a fellow artist and I painted concrete trash bins at a local park in the city of Marina. I feel fortunate for the opportunity to help beautifying the community and having a creative outlet for my art to get out there.
Currently working with Save the Whales on future projects for later this year. I’m excited.
I volunteered with Save the Whales from January 2019-May 2019 through CSUMB's service-learning institute. I loved volunteering with them! The activities that I participated in included educating the general public on marine debris and sound pollution. I also did beach/park clean-ups and worked with Dee the Humpback Whale (pictured below). I enjoyed my work with them! I plan on volunteering with them again.
I started volunteering with Save the Whales through the Service Learning Institute at CSU Monterey Bay. I loved the work they do and the work I got to do with them so much, that I stayed on as a volunteer even after my semester with them ended.Most of my volunteer work with them has involved educating elementary school students about watersheds and how, even if you don't live on the beach, your actions directly impact the ocean and it's beautiful inhabitants. I have also volunteered with them for many other community events, which lead to my favorite photo from a beach clean up of a giant piece of litter that read "Do Not Dump In This Area" (very ironic). To this day, I continue to volunteer with Save the Whales whenever I can because I believe in their message and all the work they do.
The Save the Whales program inspires students to take action in protecting the environment. Our young students can explain and demonstrate how the litter in their city, located hours away from the ocean, can pollute the ocean and threaten the lives of marine animals. During the day, my students take initiatives to pick up litter on the playground to stop it from going down the storm drain. They are also mindful about recycling to reduce the amount of trash that we generate every day. I’ve also learned from the parents that their children are also taking initiatives at home to protect the environment. The hands-on learning led by the passionate staff at Save the Whales has enriched our school’s science curriculum. Save the Whales is making a difference in our community! Thank you Save the Whales!
Before I had started attending CSUMB as an Environmental Studies undergrad student, my goals and plans after graduating is to focus on coral reef restoration. Given that I was immensely fascinated by coral reefs and the whole fish community living and thriving within. All I ever imagined was being in my two year undergrad course and a gaining knowledge and experience solely on coral restoration. However, that changed drastically when I was given the privilege to perform my service learning hours with the non-profit, Save the Whales. I learned things I never imagined I would in college, gained the best experiences that I never knew I needed. Having the opportunity to work with the public with children and the rest of all ages, has made me realize the huge impact education has on our planet. The significance of educating the people, especially children, comes at a very great level-perhaps, maybe even greater than the work I imagined to accomplish focusing on coral restoration. If one person like myself, would do all that I know to do in order to reverse the bleaching corals, it still simply would never be enough if no one else is aware of it. No one would agree that the work I do is vital to the earth and their own health, if they do not know what is at stake. It would almost seem useless if we do not share our knowledge and progress with others. Sharing my knowledge through story-telling allows others to relate to my passion and creates empathy for them to make their own difference in our planet. The more that I do this, the more people will be inspired to do the same. Working with Save the Whales has not only given me the most important lesson of what it means to do service and to actually make a difference, but they have also given me a platform to spread my wings and let my inner light shine. I am eternally grateful for the incredible friends, mentors, knowledge, and skills that I have been given by working with Save the Whales. I hope that I could continue to do the job post graduation and make a career for myself that is just as fulfilling as working for Save the Whales. I know in my heart that when I graduate this spring, the biggest and most impactful thing I will take away from my school years is having the chance to work with Save the Whales. Thank you, Maris.
I volunteered with Save The Whales for my university's upper division service learning class and it was a fun and unforgettable experience. All the employees are so nice and helpful and their passion to protect marine animals is very evident. The most impactful experiences I encountered was the ones that involved dedication and collaboration such as the butterfly gardens and beach clean ups. I believe it is an experience that the future generations should have to more accurately understand the world and appreciate the hard work it takes to maintain the environment.
My time with Save The Whales as a student volunteer from CSUMB was one of the most fulfilling and educational experiences I have had during my time in college. As a transfer student to CSUMB, my experiences with Save The Whales introduced me to the community that I had so newly joined. Maris, Amanda and Dan all welcomed me to their organization warmly, which is something that I will always appreciate and remember. Doing events focused on educating the public and students throughout Monterey County introduced me to where I was living and taught me about the people that are in my new community. While I educated the public about the science behind Save The Whale's mission, I was also being educated about where I had just moved and felt confident and oriented in my new journey in Monterey County.
Save The Whales teaches the public and the youth of Monterey County about the importance of each one of us in and how our actions can make a difference for our environment, the health of the ocean and it's waterways. Through hands-on activities, we are able to show our community members about how steps along the way can help protect the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the ocean beyond. This information can truly make a difference in many people's lives and their day to day choices.
Save The Whales also uses their education to promote creativity through their projects and field trips. Their education plan truly shows kids that they are able to do anything they want in the future- whether that be a scientist or an artist. This helps the children they are working with feel motivated no matter what they love to do.
The Save the Whales program has become part of our Frank Ledesma Elementary School’s family. The in-class programs and outdoor field trips continue to lay a strong foundation for encouraging successful learning and building positive attitudes that can subsequently lead to improvements not only in environmental stewardship but in student academic achievement and motivation. While the geographic distance between Monterey Bay and Soledad is relatively short, the cultural distance is long; many of the children in our school have never been to the ocean, and have little to no understanding of their connection with the coast. Listen to the teachers:
“The students were engaged in climbing, touching, feeling the exterior and interior of a ‘real’ whale. It brought the concepts of recycling and pollution into reality with the use of Dee the whale that they could fully experience (both inside and outside). Students remembered the content presented in an earlier Save The Whales program and applied that knowledge when meeting Dee. “
Amy Bowen, 4th Grade Teacher, Frank Ledesma Elementary
“Every student was fully engaged and attentive. Every part of the presentation helped students learn about whales because of the hands-on and strong presentations with student participation components throughout the program. Unlike textbook-based learning, the hands-on experience help students retain and internalize learning. The most valuable aspect of this program is that students are beginning to take ownership of what they have learned. I believe that the students will become caretakers of the ocean.“
Sung Shin, 5th Grade Teacher, Frank Ledesma Elementary
Frank Ledesma Elementary School supports a diverse population of students both culturally and socio-economically. Our school is a Title l school, and a large percentage of our students come from low-income families. The opportunity for these children to get outside and interact with the natural environment will enhance their learning and broaden their horizons. We encourage any generous donors to continue the funding of Save The Whales’ program. This program touches lives beyond anything we had imagined. Thank you very much!
Richard Radtke, Principal, Frank Ledesma Elementary, Soledad Unified School District
We love Save The Whales! Tom Kieckhefer came to all of our 6th grade classrooms October 25th at Lincoln Elementary to do a presentation on Marine Mammals and Marine Debris. It was obvious to see how passionate and dedicated he was about the Save The Whale's mission to educate students about ocean animals, their habitats, and pollution. The presentation was very well-done from the details in the presentation to the items of mammals displayed on the table. Tom definitely invoked curiosity and awe in whales, dolphins, and other mammals in the ocean as they learned about them. It was nice that the kids were able to take a quiz to reinforce what they learned about from the presentation. We are so thankful that Tom was able to accommodate all of our classes in one day and also provide us with grant funding. Please continue to support this amazing organization as it speaks to shaping the value of protecting our ocean and earth through our future leaders!!
Save the Whales has been a wonderful organization to partner with over the last years. They have generously shared their expertise and knowledge with our students, including bringing Dee the inflatable whale, partnering with our school for Community Project and helping to organize a beach clean up. We love the partnership we have created with Save the Whales and look forward to continuing the relationship with them.
I have had a great experience working with Save The Whales. I'm passionate about the protecting the ocean and it has been a rewarding to work with individuals who feel the same. I believe the work they are doing for and with the community is amazing especially all the outreach they do involving local schools. Before working with Save The Whales, I wasn't comfortable working with kids. But I had the opportunity to work with kids teaching them about water sheds showing them how water flows from the mountain to the ocean, turbidity, and how a pH scale works. They responded well to the information they were given and excited to learn about how they can help the ocean. It was rewarding to see kids concerned about ocean and helped me grow confidence in myself with working with kids. It warms my heart to know that this organization does so many outreach programs to many different schools all over Monterey and surrounding counties. I have nothing but good things and experiences working with Save The Whales and I will continue to work with them.
MAOS (Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Science) staff, parents, and students have worked alongside Save the Whales during the annual Whalefest held on Fisherman‘s Wharf in Monterey for the past few years. As an Oceanographic Academy at Monterey High School, we have many students interested in marine life and ocean preservation.
We have greatly enjoyed working with Maris to help raise awareness of the importance of protecting the oceans. Maris is very passionate and dedicated to helping raise awareness about the endangerment of whales and other species.
We look forward to working with Maris and Save the Whales in the years to come!
MAOS Administrative Coordinator
I had the opportunity to work with Save the Whales and I can safely say that It was a truly enriching experience. I have always been passionate about protecting the ocean and all if its inhabitants, working with a likeminded organization was so refreshing. The excitement that Save the Whales brings to kids and communities in regards of conservation is incredible. They are serving communities across the Monterey County including those are farther inland. They are teaching kids about how regardless of where you are located, their actions still make an impact on the ocean. This opportunity not only made me realize how crucial community outreach is, but how much I enjoyed it.
I was given the opportunity to volunteer with all demographics of the community and it was incredible. Every person needs to have accesses to this vital information. Save the Whales truly serves the community and is passionate about what they do. This is evident in their tabling events, school events, and all other community events in which they participate.
Not only did I help the community, I gained a lot from everyone I was working with. All of the interactions I had with the community, especially with the elementary school kids will stay with me forever. Working with kids made me realize how important it is to keep them informed on what is going on in the world around them. They truly care and if we can make an impact on them when they are you, it will likely stick with them forever. Nurturing and keeping their passion alive for knowledge and conservation is truly important and Save the Whales is doing a great job at this.
Tom came to educate the kids in our school and did a great job of engaging them in the material. We are so grateful for his knowledge and enthusiasm. It's great to find environmental educators who are passionate and give great info without scaring the kids. Great job! Thanks so much.
Volunteering with Save The Whales has been nothing shy of amazing. In the beginning, Save the whales was the organization that I volunteered with for one of my projects at CSUMB and now (2 years after graduation) I continue to volunteer for this amazing nonprofit organization and will continue to do so for years to come. Nothing but great experiences and even better people.
Volunteering with Save The Whales was one of the highlights of my graduating semester at my university. They offer a variety of programs that you can choose to help with, from teaching kids about the Watershed to teaching kids about Sea turtles. There was always something new to learn with every event that I was able to attend and help with.
I also really liked the flexibility of being able to essentially choose your own schedule, they emailed out a list of dates and events which made it easier to schedule service hours, and I enjoyed not being tied down to a specific time slot of hours every week. Save the Whales is a great organization and if I was still in Monterey Bay I would have loved to continue volunteering for them, they really do a good job of serving their community and I am so thankful for the opportunities they gave me.
I never knew volunteering with SavetheWhales would be such an eye-opening and unforgettable experience. At the beginning of it all, I picked working with SavetheWhales as part of my service learning class. I assumed (and hoped) that I was going to be working by myself; all the things that are opposite of a service learning. Then, I found out that I would be working with small children and my heart dropped in my chest. I don't have any patience and teaching children is another work altogether.
However, I persisted and told myself that everything would be okay. Oh, how right was I. My first volunteer experience was going to the Arroyo Seco National Park and helping to teach the kids about the animals that lived there and what was a water shed. Other events were cleaning up part of the Salinas River and teaching grade schoolers about whale anatomy and ocean pollution through Dee the Whale. The pictures below are from these events.
I learned I had a knack and enthusiasm for teaching kids; they listened to me and got excited when I asked them a question. They soaked in everything around them, eager to learn and discover. I even got a hug from a kid!
None of these experiences would have been possible without SavetheWhales. They taught me to go outside of my comfort zone and be able to use knowledge from my classes to teach grade schoolers in a way they could understand.
I will be volunteering with SavetheWhales again and I recommend anyone who wants to do volunteer work, volunteer with SavetheWhales. You will not regret it.
To Maris, Dan, Amanda, Nikki, Christie, Mika, Abigail and Keegan, thank you so much for the opportunity to work with you all in SavetheWhales. I will be coming back soon!
Tom from Save the Whales came to our school and gave a great presentation about whales and sea turtles. His presentation was very hands-on and the kids loved it! They were very excited to learn about the ocean environment and taking care of it. We hope to see him every year!
I am a Third grade teacher in Salinas and have had the privilege of having Tom come to our school to teach the students about whales, otters, sea turtles, and ocean ecology. His presentations are hands on, with lots of activities and actual whale bones and baleen. He shares videos, models and pictures with the students and they are very engaged and interested in everything he shares with us. A lucky child gets to put on the whale costume.
They love his presentations.
I am writing on behalf of students at a local elementary school who participate in our after school program. To be honest, many of our students do not have opportunities to explore nature and the world around other than what we bring to them at the school level.
I reach out to Thomas, Save the Whales, every year. He brings the ocean to life for our students. There is not much more to say other than, when you have 2nd graders repeating key phrases about protecting our resources that Thomas and Save the Whales taught them--- well, need I say more.?
It is a wonderful way to expose the students to different aspects of our ecology, and to be in awe of the wondrous nature around us.
My experience with Save the Whales has been a very enjoyable and fulfilling one. Every event that I have participated in from beach and park litter clean ups, emblem gluing, to tabling at Fiesta del Mar at the Monterey Bay Aquarium has cemented my feeling a part of the community here on the Monterey Peninsula. Not only that, but volunteering with Save the Whales has supplemented my academic work significantly. The conservation education efforts of Save the Whales greatly impact the community through creating awareness and fostering engagement with the local environments.
First, I would like to mention how I learned about the Save the Whales Program.
I was waiting at a Doctor’s office when I noticed a beautifully designed flyer in Spanish: “La Bahia de Monterey Empieza en tu Calle”.
Since I work with Latino students and their parents at a local elementary school in Santa Cruz, I decided to take this information with me to our Parent Meeting and to ask them if they would be interested in learning more. They were very curious and excited about this possibility.
I called Save the Whales to ask if they would like to come to hour school to make a presentation about “Monterey Bay Begins on Your Street” to our Latino Parents. The lovely Maris was very helpful, and arranged a presentation for us.
Save the Wales came to our parent meeting with a Watershed Model of the Monterey Bay to illustrate how the bay really starts on their street. The presentation was very engaging, the visual aids were excellent, and the instructors--including, a young graduate student, who acted as the Spanish translator--were knowledgeable, funny, and fantastic.
This presentation was an eye-opener for the parents, because it was a hands-on presentation, where parents actively participated in the presentation. Some of their comments were: “now I can understand what my son was talking about”;
“I did not know that by lifting a water bottle lid I can help so much”; “I will not wash my car on my driveway anymore”; and, “I will watch out for garbage in the park”.
The presentation was such a total success that other schools in district are interested in have the same presentation at their schools.
As an educator, I am so thankful to the Save the Whales organization for coming to our Latino Parent Meeting and teaching us about the importance of helping to keep our environment clean. Our parents were very thankful to the Save the Whales organization for this opportunity.
A big thank you to Save the Whales!!
Each time our students have the opportunity to attend a classroom presentation from Save the Whales, everyone very much appreciates all that they have learned. Because we are a homeschool program, parents and students have the opportunity to continue learning, whatever topic has been presented. We have been very fortunate to be able to participate in these presentations and look forward to inviting Save The Whales whenever our schedule permits.
Monterey County Home Charter School, Salinas
Students in grades K-8 at the Monterey County Home Charter School were very excited to have the special presentation, Amazing Sea Turtles, to look forward to during the winter break. The information, video, and hands on turtle shells and skulls were especially interesting to students. We look forward to inviting Whales on Wheels to our school again.
I have had the privilege of serving as an intern at Save the Whales for two and a half years. It has been an honor to be involved with an organization that touches the lives of so many, human and non-human. I have never met someone who does as much to help animals as Maris. She is an exemplary human being in that she is completely selfless and will stop at nothing to make the world a better place. She works tirelessly and is directly involved with every aspect of STW, whether it is doing administrative work, speaking in classrooms, or kneeling next to a storm drain to attach an emblem.
As an intern, I have been involved in many different projects and I am always amazed at how multifaceted STW proves to be. I have spoken in classrooms and at public outreach events such as Whalefest, participated in litter-cleanups, affixed emblems to storm drains, labeled non-toxic chemicals in Orchard Supply and Home Depot, collected and statistically analyzed public intercept surveys, and contacted local car washes to suggest a voucher program. One of the most touching experiences I've had with STW was hosting a field trip for South County schoolchildren, many of which had never been to the beach. As the children eagerly posed for a class photo, a pod of dolphins appeared in the background. It was as if nature was smiling in approval.
I can honestly say that Save the Whales has changed my life. I have learned humility, compassion, and respect for nature. I have learned that there really is no such thing as "one-time use" or "throwing away". Plastic does not just go "away". It persists in the environment and its effects can be devastating. Working with Save the Whales has also made me realize my passion for science education, and it is now my career goal to teach biology at a university.
Monterey Bay needs Save the Whales. Maris is the voice of marine organisms that cannot speak for themselves. She teaches children and adults alike to love animals and to protect them by changing destructive habits. She helps people make informed decisions about the products they use and teaches them how to reduce their carbon footprint. It has been an absolute honor working for Save the Whales, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this organization.
The City of Gonzales and its “Gonzales Grows Green” Community Sustainability Initiative depends on Save the Whales to support our goals of providing high-quality environmental education and outreach to our community. They engage with our community in ways that are relevant to both our geographic location and demographic makeup.
While there is much focus on our oceans (as there should be), many inland communities such as ours face pressing issues such as litter, blight, illegal dumping, stormwater contamination, and lack of understanding of the importance of waste reduction, reuse, and recycling. Whether it is our summer library program, summer day camps, after-school programs, a weekend community cleanup event, or community event in our park, Save the Whales finds unique ways to complement and add depth and context to our efforts to educate our community on our specific environmental challenges.
The programs and staff of Save the Whales are my go-to education partners. Their education programs are fun, engaging, and hands-on! When connected with our library’s summer program this past year, over 100 parents and children showed up for the event (a huge turnout for our small community). Their programs help participants consider both the negative and positive consequences of their actions on a local and global level. Their programs offer practical solutions for change that empowers individuals in our community to be collective agents of change.
I am a 2nd grade teacher in Castroville, CA. My students got to experience the program on sea otters by Save the Whales. My students had an amazing time learning about sea otters, touching sea otter artifacts, acting out sea otter behavior, and dressing up as a sea otter. I am very thankful for Save the Whales doing these presentations for students and look forward to having Save the Whales visit again.
We have had the privilege of having Save the Whales present at our school for two consecutive years. Tom has presented an excellent watersheds presentation for our fifth grade classes. He is very flexible regarding scheduling and communicates the expectations and presentation needs well in advance, allowing ample time to prepare for his visit. The greatest part of his presentation is that he ensures each student (sometimes there are 30 children per class!) gets a turn to contribute to the presentation and project. He talks in a way that engages the students and is very patient. Tom is very knowledgable and was able to answer all of the questions the students presented them with. The students were so thrilled that there were actual artifacts that they could touch! The students fully understood the purpose and lessons being taught in the presentation. So much so, that numerous students have reported changes that their family has made at their own houses because of something they learned in the watersheds presentation. Multiple students have asked when we might be able to have a presentation from Tom again!
Working with save the whales has been a great experience. Being able to teach the latino community has been eye opening experience for myself and the community memebers that we educate. Most of the parents and children that I have spoken to are thankful for informing them about the marine and terrestrial enviornmental concerns that we being to their attention.
Educating children about marine life was one the most first goals I set for myself and I appreciate Save the Whales for allowing me to accomplish this goal. In working with Save the Whales I was able to gain a greater respect for my Latin culture and Spanish language as I was able to communicate with the Latin community about pollution, pesticides, and La Vaquita as most of this information is not a central topic in our communities.
The presentation has been key lesson in talking about the protection and conservation of marine wild life. Students are able to see and hold various marine bone replicas as well as real ones. They see first hand the impact plastics have in our oceans and how they can help change. Thank you for the years of service to students in this county and helping them become responsible global citizens.
I am a 4th grade teacher in Monterey. Save the Whales came to my school to do a program on sea otters. It was informative, interesting, and the kids loved it. There were lots of interesting facts and anecdotes, and I learned quite a bit. The kids really enjoyed themselves with the hands-on realia and the cool slides and presentation.
I was very happy to have this wonderful presentation for my students, and hope to see Save The Whales again next year. Great presenters, great program!
We brought Save the Whales down to the San Diego area to work with our 4th and 5th grade classes a few years ago. They were very professional and really worth the costs associated with their visits. I still have teachers asking about having them return, but unfortunately we haven’t had sufficient funding to have they repeat their visit. I highly recommend them for their great work with kids and education, and for their excellent science interpretation.
Save The Whales is an amazing educational experience! Tom brought the Whales on Wheels workshop to my high school in Santa Cruz. He presented an interactive and engaging seminar that kept students interested and participating the entire time. His dedication to nature and depth of knowledge is phenomenal. My students loved that he brought so many items for them to identify and explore. I found the workshop to be an excellent addition to my Environmental Science and Life Science courses, and a fantastic way to bring nature to the classroom. I serve an at-risk and low income population, so the fact that these programs are offered free to Santa Cruz schools makes it an even more fantastic opportunity. I highly recommend Save The Whales for any educator who wants to increase student involvement, activate learning to diverse student populations, and connect young people to nature in all its glory.
Tom has been coming to our school, Bay View, for the past two years. I was extremely impressed with his preparation, organization, and willingness to present this important information to our fourth graders. My students were completely engaged 100% of the time! I have recommended this presentation to all other 4th and 5th grade teachers. Thank you for a great experience.
Save The Whales is a phenomenal non-profit. Not only are they educational but they are interactive and very scientifically accurate taking marine mammal natural history, science and policy to the public in creative and innovative ways. Truly an educational non-profit touching many children/schools each year. They are also very involved in current marine mammal issues such as the Vaquita and helping to heighten the awareness of this nearly extinct marine mammal. Kudos to Save the Whales - truly making a difference.
Save the Whales' "Sea Turtles" presentation was a great hit here at the Gonzales library!
In south Monterey county, residents rarely go to the beach. Issues concerning our oceans aren't high priority because the education isn't there. We know agriculture and rural lore, but we forget we are literally at the edge of the country. Our location is a great gift, and we ought know more about caring for it.
Tom and Amanda were very informed and well prepared, and they did well with the demands of a varied audience (different ages and different levels of English language proficiency).
I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking for a presentation that drives home the importance of maritime preservation and educates, while being fun.
I had a great experience with Save the Whales! This is a great organization that really captures people of all ages through education and information. As a service learner, I was able to educate kids on the safety of marine animals, and work hands on in making a difference with putting emblems on storm drains. I was even able to dress as a sea turtle as shown in the pictures to really connect with children on a friendly level. Save the Whales is a great organization for all ages, and is a great pick for service learners, especially those in the environmental and marine sciences.
I had an awesome experience with Save The Whales! I really enjoyed educating elementary school students from Salinas about water quality, MBNMS, and blue whales! Never a dull moment with this knowledgeable, professional, and LIVELY group of truly genuine people. One thing I would like to stress is the importance of Save The Whales' services. I witnessed firsthand the absorption and retention of knowledge by kids after several weeks of Save The Whales field trips. We live in a beautiful area with so many natural resources needing protection - inspiring the next generation about environmental stewardship is always a fun and sustainable process with Save The Whales!
My fourth grade students were very excited to see a gigantic life-size humpback, and to learn the story behind Save the Whale's newest learning experience, "Dee" the whale. Maris and the Save the Whales staff are enthusiastic, wonderful people who engage the children in learning about whales and about how our everyday choices can impact marine mammals. In an interactive 45 minutes, the staff covered everything from whale anatomy and whale sounds to watersheds and storm drains, and how everything ends up in the ocean. Students experience going inside "Dee" the whale to see her inner anatomy and to understand how pollutants, trash and plastics can impact the health of even the biggest mammals. The consequences of our (human) actions have never been easier to understand. The children will certainly remember this hands-on lesson and this amazing experience for the rest of their lives. Thank you, Save the Whales!
For years now, the Gault Elementary third graders have been spellbound while learning about sea turtles and the issues they face in the Amazing Sea Turtle educational outreach program. Students get up close and personal with Turtle skulls, shells and other realia which enriches the program too.
Save the Whales was the best thing to ever happen to our school. It's expensive to take students on field trips but Save the Whales come to us so all students can learn to conserve the ocean environment we live in, here in Marina. They use hands on items that relate to the new NGSS science standards and makes science fun. My special need students especially love the Save the Whales program and holding real animal bones. When my students come back as alumni they always tell me how much then enjoyed when Save the Whales came to class
I was partnered with Save the Whales through my service learning class my senior year at California State University at Monterey Bay. Let me tell you, working with Maris and all the other incredible volunteers was an inspiring experience. Collaborating with my and the surrounding communities helped me connect people with the importance of protecting the world we live in. With Save the Whales I have helped educate and encourage students in elementary and middle schools to be aware of their impacts on the environment and marine animals. Each of the members and volunteers of Save the Whales work hard each day to promote sustainability and environmental awareness. Thank you for helping me grow and make the world a better place.
Volunteering with Save The Whales through Service Learning at CSU Monterey Bay has had quite the impact on my life by helping me to collaborate with respectable science communication professionals and to find where I belong in the sea of opportunities in which the world of science has to offer. Save The Whales has also helped me understand that science communication is the key to employing a closer to world wide leadership in environmental protection. Through fairs, tabling, classroom education, social media, and many other sources, Save The Whales shares their passions for endangered species and the environment.
The Save The Whales staff is extremely passionate about environmental education and protection. They take the time to spread that knowledge and passion to children in many (including underserved) communities. They truly care about everything they work on and make it their life. I wish to do the same and I am happy to say that I will be continuing to work with Save The Whales in the future for my Capstone Project.
Thank you Save The Whales!
An excellent organization with incredible amounts of passion and direction. Maris is an absolute delight and truly puts the wellbeing and education of others above anything else. I like to think of her needs as self-transcendence. "Transcendence refers to the very highest and most inclusive or holistic levels of human consciousness, behaving and relating, as ends rather than means, to oneself, to significant others, to human beings in general, to other species, to nature, and to the cosmos." I would highly recommend the work that Save the Whales does for the community.
This organization defines what it means to care for the environment and its inhabitants. I am honored to have volunteered my time with them and will continue to do so. Save the Whales is an incredible organization inside and out.
I've recently had the wonderful opportunity to work with Save The Whales. Everyone there has been beyond professional. The amount of help I've received for my own professional as well as personal growth has been insurmountable. I've made countless connections on top of being able to truly feel like I have been able to be part of something much greater than myself. I look forward to working with them in the future and helping them to better our world.