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Free ocean stewardship orientations offered in Kona

MEDIA RELEASE

Community invited to learn about current challenges to marine ecosystem health and how to help

The Kohala Center’s Kahalu‘u Bay Education Center is holding two free ReefTeach orientations this month to educate members of the community on how they can help protect and heal Hawai‘i’s fragile coral reef ecosystems.

The orientations will be held on Saturday, September 21, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the Mayor’s Conference Room at the West Hawaii Civic Center (74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway), and on Tuesday, September 24, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Kahalu‘u Beach Park (78-6710 Ali‘i Drive). Attendance is free and advance reservations are not required.

With a mass coral bleaching event currently underway across the Hawaiian Islands, the sessions are being offered to give community members information they can use to reduce their impact on coral reef ecosystems, and to share that knowledge with their families, friends, fellow community members, and visitors.

Led by Kathleen Clark, The Center’s marine stewardship and education specialist, the sessions will educate attendees about the importance of marine ecosystems to communities in Hawai‘i and around the world. She will also provide basic information about the biology of coral reef ecosystems, how to engage respectfully with marine life, current threats to coral reef health, and what people can do to reduce stress on these vulnerable and vital natural resources.

Kahalu‘u Bay Education Center offers on-site education every day that Kahalu‘u Beach Park is open, reaching more than 53,000 park visitors and community members each year through its ReefTeach community outreach and volunteer program. ReefTeachers are “ambassadors of aloha” who welcome residents and visitors to the park, teach visitors proper reef etiquette, help them reduce their impacts on water quality and the fragile marine ecosystem, and conduct monitoring and data collection to track the bay’s health.

For more information, contact Kathleen Clark at kclark@kohalacenter.org or (808) 887-6411.

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