With a rapid growth in global whale and dolphin watching in the wild, there is concern that the industry may develop unsustainably with minimal regulations. One of the many ways that companies are developing in a responsible manner, is through using cetacean watching as a platform to educate, inspire and raise awareness amongst tourists and locals about the importance of the ocean environment. When undergoing the Whale Heritage Site process, education is considered a key aspect of your journey to becoming fully accredited. This does not have to be solely through boat-based cetacean watching, but can be through other local initiatives such as museums and education centres.
Research, Education and Awareness
Cynde McInnis is a fantastic example of where education is used effectively. Cynde works as an Education Coordinator for Cape Ann Whale Watch, Massachusetts, and is the owner at Whalemobile, a school’s outreach programme. She truly understands and values the importance of education for protecting cetaceans and their habitats. Along with Genevieve Johnson, Cynde has developed an effective education programme for when on-board a cetacean watching boat, that takes into consideration five phases: anticipation of the event; travelling to the site; on-site experience; travelling from the site; the recollection phase and follow up.
Cynde’s company Whalemobile is targeted at children as a school’s programme to educate and inspire them to become ocean advocates. When visiting schools, she often brings along her life-sized Humpback Whale, Nile, to create an impactful and rememberable educational experience for the children.