By Sara B. Sexton, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class, PMRF Public Affairs
Students from Kawaikini New Century Charter School, Kanuikapono Charter School, Kula Aupuni Niihau O Kekaha (KANAKA), and Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha attended Earth Day 2019 at Waiokapua Bay, Pacific Missile Range Facility April 26.
PMRF’s Earth Day is focused on the natural resources found on Kaua‘i, including vegetation and wildlife, to help students learn more about things found in their own backyards.
“I can’t image a better place to have an Earth Day celebration than Waiokapua Bay,” said Capt. Vinnie Johnson, commanding officer PMRF. “We have to protect our environment and our cultural resources so we have something left to remember our sense of purpose, our sense of place and our sense of ‘ohana.”
The students began the Earth Day event looking for local plants and wildlife at Kawaiele Waterbird Sanctuary with State Division of Forestry and Wildlife representatives. Sailors from PMRF assisted the students as they looked for native birds, such as the Hawaiian coot and Hawaiian stilt, and vegetation, like naupaka kahakai.
The students then traveled to Waiokapua Bay, also known as Major’s Bay, where they spent time at educational booths learning more about the natural resources on the island. The education booth presenters included The State Department of Aquatic Resources, Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources – State Parks, Save our Shearwaters, NOAA – Marine Mammal Response, Kaua‘i Endangered Seabird Project, Na Pua No‘eau Kaua‘i, PMRF USDA Wildlife Services and PMRF Weather Station.
“The schools and kids participating in today’s celebration were amazing,” said Tim Golden, lead meteorologist at PMRF. “It was an absolute honor to be a part of their education and an inspiration to spark the thoughts of change in their young minds.”
The PMRF team used the year’s theme of “The Year of Indigenous Languages” throughout the planning of Earth Day 2019. From wildlife to vegetation, Hawaiian language is incorporated at every step. The planning team used Waiokapua Bay in the title of the event to honor the place name for Major’s Bay.