Sharing successes

LIHUE — Sabra Kauka, a Kauai kumu and environmental educator, will be presenting at the 2016 Environmental Education Symposium for the Hawaii Environmental Education Alliance (HEEA) July 13-15.

“I have asked myself what I can possibly share with other environmental educators at this symposium to make it worth their time,” Kauka said. “The answer I come up with is the importance of partnerships. We could not accomplish what we have without our partners.”

The theme of collaboration will be heavily woven throughout this year’s symposium. The goal of the event is to share successes with environmental education in Hawaii and the event is designed to support innovation, create networks and promote learning about best practices for environmental education.

Kauka said a long-time mentor, Pauline Chinn from the University of Hawaii’s Manoa College of Education, submitted her name to HEEA.

“She has, for years, advocated for several of us to present, write and publish our work,” Kauka said.

It will be Kauka’s first time presenting at the symposium and she’ll be one of 24 presenters.

On the third day of the symposium, two field trips will take attendees either to the wetlands of windward Oahu or to the Gill lands of the Waianae Mountains.

Both unique ecosystems will focus on restoration and care practices.

The HEEA is a statewide partnership of teachers, administrators, nature education groups, government agencies and non-profit conservation organizations. All of the entities have a shared passion to teach Hawaii communities how to care for their natural environment.

“We live on an island in the middle of the great big Pacific Ocean,” Kauka said. “It behooves us to understand how our natural systems work. This is not just for our generation, but for those to come.”

The fifth annual Environmental Education Symposium will be held at the Aloha Tower Marketplace campus of Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu.

“Hawaii is a unique situation with regard to environmental issues, and we have huge opportunities,” said Melora Purell, executive director for HEEA. “HEEA’s long-term goal is to create an environmentally literate public who can lead us forward to address these problems and take hold of these unprecedented opportunities.”

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