HANALEI — About five months ago, the Hanalei Watershed Hui and several partners created Ahupua’a Explorations as way to engage, entertain, and teach the children of the North Shore when they weren’t in class.
Now, the afterschool program has transitioned to a summer program and Maka’ala Ka’aumoana, executive director of the Hanalei Watershed Hui, said parents whose children were involved during the school year are hoping the program continues.
“We’ll re-apply for the grant and we’re hoping to continue the program,” Ka’aumoana said.
Ahupua’a Explorations is a new educational program that combines science with Hawaiian cultural knowledge to teach kids grades four to seven about their respective watersheds.
The program also delves into stewardship activities and community efforts — and it gives kids an opportunity to get out and explore Kauai.
Tuesday, the 15-20 students involved in Ahupua’a Explorations hit the water at Pine Trees with the local surf school Hanalei Wave Riders for lessons. Ka’aumoana said the kids were having a blast learning new techniques.
“It’s good to partner with the businesses in the community and to see the (surf school) industry doing well,” Ka’aumoana said.
While half of the group of kids was in the water, the other half was grouped around Kalani Flores, a teacher from Kapaa Middle School who was offering his time to teach the kids.
Ka’aumoana said water safety is important and the program brought in experts from various veins in water safety to talk to the kids before Tuesday’s surf lesson.
“They’ve been taught CPR and water safety over the last few weeks,” Ka’aumoana said. “Even though most of these are Kauai kids and they’ve been in the water before, we’re teaching them new techniques.”
The kid went on a kayak trip before Tuesday’s trip and there are a couple more field trips down the line for the students at Ahupua’a Explorations.
“The goal behind this is to give kids access to experience and get them away from playing video games all the time,” Ka’aumoana said.
Ahupua’a Explorations is the result of a partnership between the Hanalei Watershed Hui, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and the Department of Land and Natural Resources- Division of Aquatic Resources.