This summer, ReefTeach volunteer support has been bolstered by groups of young adults from Wilderness Ventures, a travel program specializing in outdoor adventures and personal growth. Amidst a twenty-oneday trip busy with sea kayaking, hiking, sailing, snorkeling, and surfing these eager young adults spent three days experiencing Hawaiian culture and giving back to the community at Kahalu‘u Beach Park. Their trip also includes service work helping to build a home in Hilo.
The first group arrived on June 25th, laden with snorkel gear and ready to share. Over a period of three days they immersed themselves into life at Kahalu‘u. They toured the heiau restoration taking place at Kahalu ‘u. They distributed ReefTeach outreach materials to visitors and stood watch over basking turtles answering many questions from curious observers. These volunteers particularly enjoyed observing the behavior of snorkelers who had been ReefTaught and those who had not. They recorded this information while snorkeling in the Bay.
The second group arrived on July 8th and, in addition to participating in the ReefTeach training presentation, also enjoyed a fantastic presentation by Justin Viezbicke with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. They learned all about humpback whale behaviors and migration and viewed pictures of Hawaiian monk seals as Justin explained the importance of protecting this endemic species. The next two days were filled with ReefTeaching and snorkeling as they all had an opportunity to engage visitors and collect in-water data.
Their time spent working with ReefTeach contributed greatly to the health of the Kahalu‘u Bay. The in-water data collected by both groups proves invaluable as it demonstrates how effective ReefTeaching is. We are very grateful for this service work. Stay tuned for news of the final Wilderness Ventures volunteers visiting next week!