The morning of October 29th found Kahalu`u Beach
Park under the guidance of National Honor Society students from Kealakehe High
School. These students became well versed in coral reef ecology earlier during the week, and arrived as certified ReefTeachers to volunteer their Saturday in order to educate visitors on proper reef etiquette. As top students of their class, these ReefTeachers immediately organized into several groups, led by class officers donning ReefTeach t-shirts.
The bay was in good form, with an outgoing tide and clear
waters for snorkelers. Two ReefTeach groups greeted snorkelers entering the bay while another group approached beachgoers enjoying the lovely sunny day.
Some students took advantage of theopportunity to cool off by entering the bay to conduct in water surveys. These surveys monitor the behavior of snorkelers by comparing visitors who have been educated by ReefTeachers to those who have not. Saturday’s results were clear. Snorkelers who had been taught spent zero to only a few seconds on the reef, while visitors who had not been taught spent up to thirty seconds or more standing, kicking, or touching coral.
Back on shore, the ReefTeach tent was manned by several students who answered questions about the program, and helped visitors identify fish, eels, and other creatures of the bay. As the temperatures rose, the group broke for lunch and shared experiences. When asked what their favorite part of the day had been, some remarked they enjoyed the in water surveys most, while others simply enjoyed talking story with visitors and sharing information.
Following the lunch break, everyone donned gloves and grabbed trash bags for beach clean-up! Trash items included plastic, paper, and cigarette butts. Everyone agreed that the day was a successful, productive one.
Not always the case for a Saturday!
Yet these students proved exceptional volunteers, educating a total of
95 visitors that day.
Mahalo for your kokua, NHS students. We look forward to seeing you again soon!
Photos by N. Goodden