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Public invited to whale sanctuary


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POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2009

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary in Kihei, Maui, will hold a grand opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday for a new learning center.

Among those expected to participate are U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye; Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA administrator and undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere; Allen Tom, director, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Pacific Region; Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares; Kimokeo Kapahulehua, Hawaiian cultural practitioner, and Naomi McIntosh, superintendent of the sanctuary.

The new 4,600-square-foot learning center, on the beachfront site next to the historic Ko'le'ie Hawaiian fishpond, provides expanded facilities for offices and classroom space for school groups and public programs.

The learning center will support the sanctuary's education, outreach and volunteer programs and research and resource protection activities.