PRINCEVILLE — Robin Mazor of Princeville has been a cattle rancher, a beekeeper, an educator, a children’s museum director and a social worker.
She’s had many different eras in her life, and throughout all of them she has interwoven her deepest passions: education and the ocean.
Mazor founded the Kauai Children’s Museum in 1993 and retired as director in 2005. Since then, she’s remained dedicated to creating an inspiring life for herself and the people around her by teaching in different classrooms and being part of Reef Guardians Hawaii.
This summer she’s gearing up for a hands-on ocean education program for kids through Reef Guardians Hawaii and she took some time to sit down with The Garden Island to share the progress.
TGI: What’s on tap this summer for kids through Reef Guardians’ new program?
We are inviting curious ocean-loving children ages 10-12 who can swim, to dive into the sea with us during the month of June. The program will be conducted by a team of professional marine educators and skilled volunteers in and out of the water.
The training will take place at Kauai’s eastside and North Shore beaches. The full-day, one-week program will meet Monday through Thursday during the month of June. Students will explore and study the world of fish, marine animals, and algae. They will illustrate their discoveries through photography, drawing and painting. The curriculum will be taught from ecological, Hawaiian and scientific perspectives, encouraging values of stewardship, curiosity, and wonder as well as a quest for learning. Transportation and snorkel gear will be provided.
The program may also inspire the participants in further goals for themselves in their education and career. We hope that through enjoying this learning adventure, the young participants will identify as reef guardians, grow their knowledge and understanding, and contribute to the well-being of our community.
It’s about getting kids in the environment and in the water. We’ll also be talking about the environment from a Hawaiian perspective as far back as the Kumulipo, and doing some chanting and singing.
TGI: What drives you to educate kids about the environment?
I am motivated to give children direct experiences of the marine environment, to see their sense of wonder and their excitement in discovery. To watch them grow in understanding and appreciation, make meaningful connection to the world that sustains us. That’s what drives me.
How lucky are we here to have our beautiful coral reef playground? Isn’t it worth the effort to educate our children to protect and preserve it?
If we have enough people who realize how they behave when they’re in the ocean is important, they are aware of how they can protect it and keep it in a thriving state while still being able to recreate and hunt, that’s the goal.
TGI: What was the purpose of starting the Kauai Children’s Discovery Museum in 1993 and what was its impact?
What is more exciting than direct experience in learning? The effectiveness of learning by doing is not only proven, it is engaging, fun, inspiring, challenging, life building and creative. The purpose was to develop a community learning center to ignite and feed children’s curiosity and creativity. It was also to build community through volunteerism, partnerships and access to experiences that would otherwise be unavailable, like meeting astronauts. The exhibition productions were epic. The planetarium traveled all over the island from Hanalei to PMRF.
The ocean education programs introduced snorkeling and the love of the sea to keiki and certified teens in scuba, developing teen heroes who cleaned the rubbish off the reef in their free time. I often hear from people about their meaningful career launching experiences with the Discovery Museum. Have you seen The Physics Girl on YouTube? Millions of people have viewed her videos. She says we sparked her curiosity in science and her career.
TGI: What are some of the other things you’ve done in your life?
While I believe in focus, I also believe that variety is the spice of life. So my work has ranged from social worker to teacher (preschool through college), beekeeper, rancher, artist, photographer, museum director, researcher/evaluator for many hundreds of education programs state and worldwide, through Kauai Community College as grants manager I worked toward developing farmers markets and taught people how to grow food, and I continue to work as a non-profit business consultant. I serve on nonprofit boards, building educational centers here and in India. I host dance events. Travel worldwide. I am grateful for a creative life and career of service.
Being alive is more than your physical form — breathing in and out and having enough food — it’s about being inspired, it’s about the joy of life. Our bodies aid us to be who we are on this planet and we’re lucky to be here. It’s a great opportunity and the question is: what are we going to do with our lives?
When I started the children’s museum it became obvious to me that who I wanted to serve is kids and families. I have been doing that my whole life, but you grow in self-awareness as you get older and I realized that was who I wanted to serve in my life.
That’s what my life is about. It’s about serving children and families. I have other interests. For instance, I have an interest that we find a way that is smart to transform our rubbish into something positive.
TGI: There are rumors that you’re a mermaid. Can you confirm?
At Kapaa Elementary School I hear the kids discussing me. They fight over whether I am really a mermaid or not, and I can neither confirm nor not confirm that I am a mermaid. But, I can tell you this — I know there are many of your readers, young and old, who love the ocean and its inhabitants with a passion like I do, and in their hearts consider themselves mermaids. Some of us even have tails.
I have a pod. Most of them are on Maui but there are a few of us here on Kauai that have tails. We play games and blow bubbles when we’re underwater, like the way dolphins blow bubbles. My mermaid name is EffervescentSea. I usually just bring my tail out with my pod, though.
Info: firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.reefguardianshawaii.org.