Opening the ocean at Kukui Grove

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Katie Nalesere of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources, right, offers keiki books from her keiki collection to Malia Nobrega-Olivera of the Hawai‘inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge Friday during the “11th-hour push” to ready the Ocean Around Us space for opening at Kukui Grove Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kathleen Ho’s Hawaiian monk seal created by students at Hale ‘Opio comes out of storage to be part of the display on monk seals at The Ocean Around Us program at Kukui Grove Center.

LIHUE — The Ocean Around Us is a collaborative effort between Kukui Grove Center and community organizations involved with the ocean environment. The unique learning space and exhibits will be available through Feb. 17.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawai‘inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service, state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources, U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility Natural Resources Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Kukui Grove Center have partnered to design and create an educational innovation space and program highlighting the oceans.

Following a blessing on Friday, the event offers the community a free, inter-active opportunity to learn more about the ocean, its habitants and the environment. This is demonstrated by student projects on marine mammals and turtles hosted by Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha students amidst informative exhibits.

Keiki activities engage young learners and adults in interactive learning about events such as pono fishing, led by Katie Nalesere of the state DLNR-DAR Jan. 27 in a space near the Kukui Grove Center exhibition area. There is also the Kinolau O Kanaloa Poster Contest where students in kindergarten through grade 12 focus on celebrating the kinolau, or bodily forms of Kanaloa, the ocean goddess.

“It is our hope that participation in the contest will play a part in encouraging aloha for the ocean and for the Kanaloa,” said Malia Nobrega-Olivera, the director of strategic partnerships and community engagement for Hawai‘inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge.

Today’s events include the training of the sanctuary ocean count volunteers, which is mandatory for the army of volunteers who will canvas the island’s shorelines for the first of three ocean counts on Jan. 27. The training is led by Jean Souza, the Kauai programs coordinator for the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Training takes place from 10 a.m. until noon.

During the training, Souza will also do a whale lecture open to the public. The presentation will be followed by the showing of “Humpback Whales,” an award-winning documentary by filmmakers MacGillivray Freeman Films, starting at 1 p.m. Filmed in Hawaii, Tonga and Alaska, the narration is done by Ewan McGregor, and is appropriate for people of all ages.

This will be followed by keiki activities centering around whales and fishes starting at 3 p.m.

Activities center around coral and the reefs that surround most of the island’s beaches, led by Nalesere, for the weekend of Jan. 26 and 27.

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