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HWF Education Programs

   > Hawaiian Coastal Ecosystems Outreach
   > Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach
   > Micronesia Expedition 2019
   > Marine Naturalist Training
   > Internship Program
   > Traditional Taro and Fish Farming Project
   > Think Island Initiative
   > Diving & Snorkeling Guidelines

> Hawaiian Coastal Ecosystems Outreach
Hawaii Wildlife Fund educators are excited to share our newest environmental education unit, Hawaiian Coastal Ecosystems, designed for middle school teachers and their classrooms. We are currently targeting 5th-7th grade classrooms statewide to share our newly developed unit.

To develop the program, we piloted lessons in 2016 at several Hawai'i Island schools and reworked the program over the summer. Since then, we have brought these lessons to another 26 classrooms, reaching more than 560 students to date.

Students get hands-on experience with scientific equipment, perform data collection and analysis, conduct hypothesis testing and direct observation of living organisms, and learn through role-playing. Culminating service-learning fieldtrips can also be arranged as logistics allow. HWF will bring the whole show to your school.

This program was made possible by a generous donation from the Massen Greene Foundation in memory of John DiFederico.

For more information, please contact HWF Education Coordinator Kallie Barnes at

> Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach
Hawaii Wildlife Fund initiated its Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach program on Hawaii Island this fall, bringing two HWF marine science mentors into 20 different elementary schools. They introduce ocean circulation, marine ecology, human impacts and other topics to students from 3rd-5th grade. Marine Debris Keiki Education & OutreachThe mentors work with teachers to coordinate student activities that meet the math and science benchmarks and "Common Core" standards for the State of Hawaii Department of Education for each grade level. These in-class lectures conclude with student presentations of potential solutions to reduce marine debris in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific Basin.
  The program culminates with a family "Beach Cleanup Day" at local marine debris hubs like Kamilo Point (Ka'u), Pololu (North Kohala), Kanekanaka Point (South Kohala), Cape Kumukahi (Puna), Kaipalaoa (Hilo), and O'oma (Kona). The program began with financial support from a HWF T-shirt fundraiser and will now be sponsored by NOAA's Marine Debris Program.
   For more info about this marine debris prevention program or to sign up a classroom, please email us at

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> Micronesia Expedition 2019
Start planning now for the trip of a lifetime, when you can join Hawaii Wildlife Fund's co-founder and marine naturalist Hannah Bernard on one of two conservation adventures she will be leading in Micronesia. The 2019 expedition dates will be April 5-14 (wait list only) and May 10-19.
   The expeditions will be offered in collaboration with Bluecology, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve marine wildlife and ecosystems through community-based programs. Bernard has led four previous Bluecology expeditions to Micronesia.
   This off-the-beaten path adventure is a wonderful mix of reef snorkeling in waters teeming with tropical fish, visiting inner reef channels where manta rays congregate, observing nesting sea turtles, experiencing traditional island culture, and contributing to a community service project.
   Participants will assist Bernard and her team in cleaning up marine debris and restoring nesting sea turtle habitat on the turtle islands of Ulithi Atoll and Yap, an island in the Federated States of Micronesia.

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> HWF Naturalist Training
Through our naturalist education program, HWF teaches thousands of residents and visitors each year about whales, dolphins, turtles, seals and the coral reef. We educate the public about threats to the marine environment and teach responsible boating and reef behavior.
   HWF conductsHWF naturalist training naturalist training classes through the EdVenture program, part of the University of Hawaii Maui College's Office of Continuing Education and Training. The "Hawaii’s Marine Naturalist Certification & Training" classes are held on the Maui College Campus in Kahului. In addition to classroom work, the program includes eight hours of field training onboard Kai Kanani sailing catamaran and other locations.
    Spring coursework and field training are underway, but students can sign up for the summer course by calling Evelina Bondar at (808) 984-3231.
   Tailored for the tour boat crew and naturalists, this class offers an overview of some of Hawaii's most visible protected marine life. It focuses on the animals' basic biological needs and distribution and teaches how to assist in their protection. Students may obtain a certification after meeting certain requirements.
   Hannah Bernard, who teaches the courses, has worked for the last 30 years as a marine biologist, naturalist, naturalist trainer, policy advisor, environmentalist, community organizer and dedicated advocate for the ocean. She is co-founder and president of the Hawaii Wildlife Fund.
   Hawaii’s waters abound with rare and interesting marine life such as dolphins, whales, sea turtles and monk seals. Yet few of our visitors know that these creatures are protected by state and federal laws and need ample room to go about the business of their own lives. Becoming a certified marine naturalist is one way for an islander to help our visitors enjoy responsible viewing of our special wildlife while keeping the wildlife from being loved to death.

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> Internship Program
Hawaii Wildlife Fund Internship ProgramHWF interns engage in hands-on field work through our conservation, research and education projects that focus on native wildlife protection, marine debris recovery and habitat restoration. HWF's rich program allows people of all ages — from high school to retirement age — to learn, to experience, to immerse themselves in island life and culture, and to make positive change in the world. Students may earn credit for high school, college or community service programs.

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> Traditional Taro and Fish Farming Project
Hawaii Wildlife Fund's Traditional Taro and Fish Farming Project brings volunteers into Maui's mountain rain forest to learn about traditional taro and fish farming practices. The volunteers visit Uncle Uncle Oliver making taro at his farmOliver and Antie Valerie Dukelow's remote and "off the grid" farm where they practice traditional management and land-use practices.

To help fund this educational effort, HWF received more than $10,000 in donations from the Bierer family and friends in honor of their late son, Nicholas. The program, formally entitled "Kahakuloa Valley Ahupua’a Restoration: Farming Taro and Farming Fish to Sustain Island Communities," was blessed and launched in the valley with a celebration of Nick’s life: Ka Halia Aloha, Nick.

HWF also received $30,000 in funding for this project from the National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific Islands Region Marine Education and Training Mini Grant Program. Bluecology is also partnering with HWF to bring students from 4th grade through college to the Kahakuloa Valley to work and learn.

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> HWF Think Island Initiative
© CARRIE ROBERTSONHawai'i Wildlife Fund increases public awareness about Hawai'i's unique reef ecosystems through outreach education efforts in the field, as well as in the classroom through films, handouts and lectures. HWF advocates the theme "Think Island":

  • When fishing/gathering - take only what you need, observe all laws and pono [correct] fishing practices
  • when snorkeling for recreation - do not feed fish and show respect for sea turtles and other marine life
  • take only pictures, leave only bubbles
  • Be akamai [smart] around the ocean and streams, watch the environment carefully so as not to disturb it and to protect your own safety
Since 1996, HWF Naturalists have been working on the tour boats and beaches of Maui distributing information and teaching visitors firsthand about proper reef etiquette. Those efforts provide direct education and assistance to about 40,000 visitors per year.

> Diving & Snorkeling Guidelines
Diver silhouette - photo by Carrie RobertsonTo help snorkelers, divers and boat operators care for the marine environment, Hawai’i Wildlife Fund developed guidelines for environmentally friendly ways to enjoy viewing the coral reef and its inhabitants. The guidelines have been adopted by many of Maui’s dive and snorkel companies.

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   Related Links
    > Volunteer
    > Curriculum

> HWF Field Guide to Marine Debris

> Honu Watch Rack Card
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