The Alaska Whale Foundation (AWF) was founded in 1996 by a team of passionate individuals who wanted to shed light on the amazing behaviors of the endangered humpback whales in Southeast Alaska. The diverse team of biologists, educators, vessel captains and illustrators were inspired by Fred Sharpe’s early work on the social behaviors of the region's humpbacks. Together, they fueled an appreciation for the animals, and elicited the generous support of a individuals, organizations, and communities.

The original platform for research was RV Evolution, a donated 52 foot wooden vessel, which provided a means for following the whales and a floating home for the researchers.

The original platform for research was RV Evolution, a donated 52 foot wooden vessel, which provided a means for following the whales and a floating home for the researchers.

The Center for Coastal Conservation in Warm Springs Bay now serves as AWF's base of operations.  The center houses researchers and student volunteers, a large-whale stranding response team, and is a permanent location for a series of long-term projects to monitor the health of Alaska's coastal ecosystems

Nearly twenty years later, AWF continues to study marine mammals and their habitat, but with more resources, esteemed scientists and collaborators, and ambitious graduate and undergraduate student participants.  As well, the organization has established a permanent research base - the Center for Coastal Conservation - in a wild and pristine coastal ecosystem on Baranof Island.  Today, AWF is able to fully realize a mission that extends beyond research: to effect change through ambitious science-driven research, conservation and education programs.