In an effort to recruit new volunteers for both ReefTeach and Citizen Science programs, ReefTeachers gathered on Wednesday, November 2nd to talk story with Lyman Medeiros of Big Island TV, CH 9. “ReefTeach is a public outreach program designed to educate visitors to Kahalu`u Bay about the fragile coral reef and the creatures that occupy it,” explained Nikki Goodden, Assistant Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator for the program.
In addition to educating the public, another program, Citizen Science, measures water quality of the bay.
Volunteers learn how to conduct water sampling and detect changes in salinity, temperature, pH, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen. Any changes in these factors might indicate increases in pollution, climate change, or unusually high nutrient input. Currently, both programs are in need of volunteers.
Mr. Medeiros captured volunteers in action, explaining the six main points of good reef etiquette:
Don’t step on the coral. Fish can feed themselves. Turtles are endangered and protected by federal and state law, so do not touch or harass them. Leave everything where you found it. Rub sunscreen in well and wait 15 minutes before entering the water. Throw trash in the trash bins so it does not end up in the ocean.
The video taken on Wednesday will be used to create ads that will air on Big Island Television, local channel 9. In addition, two radio spots are being created in the hopes that local residents as well as part-time residents will volunteer. “The more volunteers we have, the better we can educate visitors, which means a healthier reef for future generations to enjoy,” Goodden explained. “And volunteering time is very flexible. We have weekly volunteers, seasonal volunteers, students, and local businesses who adopt-a-day. Anyone can be a ReefTeacher or Citizen Scientist.
And it’s fun!”
ReefTeach shifts run from 10am to 1pm daily. Citizen Science water sampling is held on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 9am and generally lasts about one hour. In addition to educating visitors, ReefTeachers enjoy talking story in general, learning from each other and sharing experiences with guests. ”The first time I saw a coral reef over 30 years ago, it was love at first sight,” states volunteer Dave Shoup. “I really appreciate being able to help people safely enjoy this magical place while protecting a threatened and critical part of our environment. It’s fun talking story with visitors and fellow reefteachers in this beautiful place.”
For further information about either program, please contact The Kohala Center at 808 887-6411 or email at email@example.com.
Mahalo to Lyman Medeiros for his time and help in this important effort!
Photos by N. Goodden