Ensuring the long-term health of marine mammals and coastal ecosystems

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 behavior of the region's humpbacks. Together, they fueled an appreciation for the animals and elicited the generous support of individuals, conservation organizations and Alaskan communities.

Decades later, AWF continues to study marine mammals and coastal ecosystems, but with more resources, established scientists and collaborators, and ambitious graduate and undergraduate students.  As well, the organization has developed a permanent research base 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.

Help us achieve our mission.  Your support will make a difference


Andy Szabo

Executive Director

Elsa Sebastian


Steve Morello

Vice President

Don Holmes


Jim Brennan


Pat Sharpe

Board Member

Fred Sharpe

Board Member

Jim Nahmens

Board Member

Mary Daugherty

Board Member

Martin Van Aswegen

Graduate Fellow


Mail: PO Box 1927, Petersburg, AK, 99833
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Alaska Whale Foundation is a federally-registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by US law.
All images, video and acoustic material collected under National Marine Fisheries Permit Number 19703.