top of page
Whale Wise Productions Hawaii

OUR TEAM

Whale Wise Productions Hawaii

JENN WAKEFIELD

Founder/Visionary/Producer/Underwater Videographer

Jenn Wakefield is a seasoned adventurer with a rich tapestry of experiences and skills. As a Professional Underwater Whale Photographer, her captivating images were featured online and in Paia Galleries from 2013 to 2016. Jenn’s deep passion for the ocean, particularly whales, has been her muse for decades. Since 2019, she has been sharing Maui's natural beauty and respect for the island with visitors as a Hiking and Adventure Guide.

Jenn's entrepreneurial spirit led her to found R.O.O.T.S. School, an off-grid experiential learning community in Haiku, where she managed all operations from 2003 to 2011. She also played a key role in establishing The Studio Maui, a movement and healing arts center, serving on the board and managing event marketing. Additionally, she co-founded Inner Waves Organics, a successful organic cotton yoga clothing line.

With expertise in underwater marine photography, weather interpretation, team management, and certifications in free diving and scuba, Jenn has brought a wealth of knowledge to her endeavors. A Maui resident for 30 years, her life of sailing and ocean experiences deepens her understanding of the island’s unique ocean environment. Jenn is also a proud mother of two young adults, who inspire her to create and foster learning of future generations.

ALLISON SMITH

Allison Smith is a highly experienced naturalist with a strong background in environmental education. With over 15 years of professional experience, she has dedicated herself to sharing her knowledge and passion for the natural world both on land and at sea. Allison holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in environmental education, which has provided her with a solid foundation to educate and inspire others about the importance of environmental conservation.

In her pursuit of expanding her skill set and deepening her connection with the ocean, Allison recently obtained her captain's license. Since 2014, she has been actively working as a naturalist and ocean conservationist in the Maui Nui basin, utilizing her expertise to promote the preservation of marine ecosystems and educate the public about the unique biodiversity found in the area. Her work on boats has allowed her to combine her love for the ocean with her dedication to environmental stewardship.

With her wealth of knowledge and experience, Allison strives to foster a sense of appreciation and responsibility towards the natural world in those she encounters. Her commitment to conservation and her ability to effectively communicate complex ecological concepts make her a valuable asset in the field of environmental education and marine conservation.

Allison Smith
Andrea Walls

ANDREA WALLS

Violinist

Andrea Walls is a Classically trained Violinist who began playing at the age of 8 years old. She also loves to improvise and is versed in many different genres including; Classical, Jazz, Pop, Rock, African, Latin, Middle Eastern, Indian & Turkish Classical Music and also Sound Healing. She has toured internationally & played with many Bands, Orchestras, Theatres, Dance Companies & even an interactive Circus for underprivileged children. She has recorded with many different artists & has collaborated on Soundtracks for films. Music has always been her passion & the most consistent healing force in her life! This is the reason she decided to devote herself to it!

Another major healing force in her life has been her profound connection with the Whales & Dolphins! Andrea is interested in educating people about the Cetaceans as a way to help protect them & the Ocean environment they live in. Collaborating with Jenn Wakefield & Kirsten Whatley has provided an opportunity to do this as well as combine her two most powerful healing forces by blending the Music/ Sound Healing with the stunning imagery of the Film so that everyone can feel the amazing presence of these beautiful beings!!

KIRSTEN WHATLEY 

Film Editor

Kirsten is a Hana-based filmmaker and editor, specializing in documentary, nature, and dance films. A lifelong dancer herself, she brings a lyrical style to her film work, using light, texture, and sound to give viewers an immersive, sensory experience. 

She most recently completed the writing and editing of the short documentary How’s Your Mom—award nominee at the 2023 Yorkton Film Festival and semi-finalist for the 2023 Lunenburg Doc Fest. She has also edited dance films for Dancing Camera, a movement film production company in New York. Her own experiential nature-based film, You Clapped Delighted, premiered at the Maui Film Festival 2021.

Previous to film, Kirsten worked as an award-winning writer, book author, book editor, and photographer on primarily environmental and cultural subjects. For 18 years, she was the director of communications for Hana-based nonprofit Ma Ka Hana Ka 'Ike.

KIRSTEN
Lauren Covey

LAUREN COVEY

Lauren Covey is a multidisciplinary artist with an MFA in Sound Art from Columbia University. Covey combines her artistic practice with her background as a peer counselor in the mental health field, recognizing the significance of sound in maintaining mental well-being. She is an associated artist with Culture Push and is currently working on her 'Sonic Portraits of New York' project that uses sound as a therapeutic tool to support marginalized communities affected by mental illnesses and incarceration. Covey collaborates directly with staff and participants from mental health organizations like Fountain House to capture the essence of their lived experiences through sonic compositions of the urban landscape.

LAUREN SCHACK BIONDI

Lauren Schack Biondi is a Philadelphia-based professional dedicated to infusing creativity and passion into the nonprofit sector. Originally from New Jersey, Lauren cherishes the vibrant food scene and rich cultural tapestry of the city she now calls home, where she lives with her husband, Jake, and their rescue American Bully dog, Crinkle.

 

Guided by her belief in a just and equitable world, Lauren has carved a path in communications and fundraising within the nonprofit realm. Her academic journey led her to study Philosophy at university, driven by a quest to uncover the hidden meanings of the world, humanity, and all living creatures. This deep understanding enables her to approach every situation with empathy and kindness.

 

Throughout her career, Lauren's work has positively impacted various sectors, including animal rights, sustainability, disability rights, violence prevention, and children's education. Her lifelong love for the sea, nurtured by her upbringing on the beaches of the Jersey Shore, finds a new dimension in her connection to Maui, which she discovered on a trip with her husband. She describes the island as her "home away from home," offering her a sense of solace and inspiration.

 

Lauren is thrilled to join Whale Wise Productions, where she looks forward to expanding its social media presence and connecting with individuals who resonate with its mission. Her dedication and expertise promise to elevate the organization's reach and impact, continuing her journey of making the world a kinder place.

Lauren Schack Biondi
Rob Parsons

ROB PARSONS

Rob Parsons has worked as a governmental and community relations liaison, serving Maui, Hawaii and the greater Pacific region in addressing sustainability, conservation and environmental issues. A skilled author and dedicated eco-advocate, Mr. Parsons has more than 180 articles published on a variety of topics, bringing vital information to community members and leaders alike.

In 2003, Mr. Parsons began service as Maui County’s first-ever environmental coordinator, appointed by Mayor Alan Arakawa. He established inter-governmental connections with numerous state and federal agencies, and bolstered intra-governmental relations within county departments, overcoming the tendency to, “work in silos.” In all, Rob served 12 years in this role, first assigned to assist the Department of Environmental Management, then in the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.

With the OED, Mr. Parsons helped oversee more than $3M annually in Environmental Protection grants. He also served on the Recycling Grants Review Committee, and on the Department of Water Supply’s Watershed Protection Grants Committee.

Mr. Parsons was appointed in 2015 as the Maui Representative of the Hawaii Environmental Council, a role he held through 2020. He has also served as the Chair of the University of Hawaii, Maui Campus Sustainable Science Management Advisory Group, and mentored several student interns from that program. He was a founding Maui liaison and acEve member of Hawaii Green Growth from 2013 through 2019.

From 2007-2010, Mr. Parsons authored a weekly eco-column titled the Rob Report, publishing more than 170 articles in Maui Time Weekly and other publications. He became the Hawaii liaison/consultant to Food & Water Watch on open ocean aquaculture issues. As part of a robust public outreach campaign to expose the potential dangers of the industry, he helped partner and launch the Pono Aquaculture Coalition.

Educated in the Midwest, with a BA in English from Denison University, Mr. Parsons has also taken the NaEve Hawaiian Legal Training Course. He is a 45-year resident of Maui, Hawaii.

TED GRUPENHOFF

USCG Captain and Naturalist

Ted got his start leading whale watches while attending UC Santa Cruz, where he earned his B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies in 1992. He has been involved in Marine education and conservatIon ever since. Shortly after arriving on Maui in 1995 Ted worked as a naturalist with Hawaii Wildlife Fund leading whale watches, in water snorkel tours and marine conservatIon slide shows. Ted worked with Splash ProductIons in the late 90’s as videographer aboard tour vessels, gaining valuable experience as an underwater videographer, and has served as Naturalist aboard cruise ships in Alaska.

In 1998 Ted earned his 100 ton USCG masters license and continued sharing his knowledge with visitors as Captain aboard tour vessels in Hawaii and Alaska including Pacific Whale Foundation and Allen Marine.

In 2016, he joined the NOAA research and response vessel Kohola as Captain. Working under HIHWNMS researchers Marc Lammers and Ed Lyman (and many visiting scientists), Ted has gained a vast amount of knowledge about humpback whale behavior, and valuable skills associated with approach/take of cetaceans under NMFS permits. Ted has filled many research roles on the vessel including photographer, pole cam videographer, in water photo/videography and data recording.

As Co-InvesIgator (level 3 responder) and under the direction of Ed Lyman, Ted has participated in over two dozen responses to entangled humpback whales as captain of the Kohola (MMHSRP permit 24359) resulting in many successful disentanglements.

Ted continues to use his vast knowledge of the marine environment and humpback whales to further conservation and education efforts around the world.

Ted Grupenhoff
Vini Pimenta

VINI PIMENTA

Vinicius Pimenta, known by the nicknames "Vinnie" or Vini, originates from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and at 40 years old, made the relocation to Maui in 2013. His time on the Hawaiian Islands nurtured a deep passion for videography, leading him to establish Shoots Productions, an 808 Lifestyle Videography company inspired by the captivating essence of the region. Vini's creative work can be explored on his YouTube channel, YouTube.com/Shootsproductions

As a video creator, Vinicius derives immense satisfaction from crafting compelling stories. He believes that the fusion of storytelling, motion, and audio forms an art that transcends boundaries. Additionally, he holds FAA certification as a drone pilot, expanding the range of his videography capabilities. Vini has a strong background in building and installing theaters to meet the needs of all types of situations.

Prior to his videography pursuits, Vinicius spent five years immersed in Maui's waters, serving as a Naturalist and Snorkeling Guide. His exceptional comfort and knowledge of the aquatic

realm are evident, particularly regarding the whales that migrate to Hawaii each winter.

Currently, Vinicius's professional engagements encompass not only his own company but also his contributions to Theatrix and the MACC in their video department.

bottom of page