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Hawai'i gets $248K for environmental education projects

Release Date: 07/18/2006
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(07/18/06) HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a $248,000 grant to the Hawai’i Nature Center for a Hawaii watershed environmental education program in the Wailua watershed on Kauai.

The funding will be used to expand the Hawai’i Nature Center’s “Hawaiian Watersheds from the Mountains to the Sea” program that allows teachers and students to participate in the center’s watershed curriculum. The three-part program consists of project oriented, hands-on and investigative wetland, forest, and coastal experiences.

“This program brings to Kauai a program successfully used on Oahu and Maui and created by environmental educators and classroom teachers,” said Susan Polanco de Couet, project officer with the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “The program keeps students well informed about their island’s natural environment, teaches science, but more importantly, teaches an environmental ethic -- making a personal connection with nature.”

The Wailua Watershed improvement project will educate 2,400 Kauai elementary school students about the watershed, plan an environmental facility at the Wailua Watershed Recreation Area, and work with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources on watershed trails, education and signs

As part of the project, the Hawai’i Nature Center will:

    • teach students about the forest’s role in the watershed, role of streams and rivers, reforestation, and geologic, biologic and human induced changes to the islands;
    • show students the unique role Hawai’i wetlands and marshes have in maintaining a healthy watershed and the problems caused by invasive species;
    • teach students the role humans have played in changing the natural environment and how the coastal areas as part of a watershed ecosystem supports life on land and in the ocean; and
    • engage students in restoration projects and teach them how they can create a better Hawai’i in their daily lives.

To learn more about the project, contact Gregory Dunn or Denby Freeland of the Hawai’i Nature Center at (808) 955-0100, email at oahuops@hawaiinaturecenter.org, or visit the Hawai’i Nature Center website at: http://www.hawaiinaturecenter.org

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