LIHUE — Kids can dive into the world of algae and coral, reef fish and other underwater animals through a four-day Reef Guardians camp running at three different times in July.
But it’s also a chance for keiki to learn how to be an active part of the nonprofit Reef Guardians Hawaii.
“Coral Reef Kids Camp participants get involved as citizens, as reef guardians,” said Robin Mazor, one of the camp organizers.
She continued: “Last summer they assisted in placing barriers allowing monk seals to rest undisturbed by beachgoers. They wrote the governor to ask for support of a reef fish protection bill which was passed by the Hawaii State Legislature.”
This summer’s sessions are set for July 10-13, July 16-20, and July 23-26. The program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is designed for good swimmers with some snorkel experience.
It’s the second year the ReefGuardians Coral Reef Kids Camp is in full swing and organizers are gearing up — literally with snorkeling gear donated by the Snorkel Bob Foundation.
Other partnerships include the Kauai Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Hui and Surfrider Kauai Chapter.
The 2017 Coral Reef Kids Camp had 90 participants in the series of four-day camps, with kids from Eleele to Haena learning ocean skills at different beaches around the island.
“Through Reef Guardians, the young participants’ ocean explorations are enhanced by instruction and studying habitats, habits and identification of fish, coral, invertebrates and algae,” Mazor said. “The children keep field notes, photograph, video, and make paintings inspired by their first-hand experiences.”
As they prepared for the 2018 Coral Reef Kids Camp, Mazor and fellow organizers Harry Rabin and Tom Woods said navigating flood debris and cloudy waters has been a major focus.
“The biggest challenge since last summer has been Kauai’s rainy weather and poor ocean conditions,” Mazor said. “Traveling to different distinct beaches is a strong aspect of the program and one requiring support due to the cost of the van rental and vehicle expenses. A goal of the organization is to acquire a 15 passenger van.”
The need for the van arose because Reef Guardians Hawaii wants to be able to transport keiki to different beaches as a group. The mobile program offers a unique opportunity to study and explore diverse locations, organizers say.
“Last year for some children, it was their first visit to discover the lagoon and reefs of Haena State Park or Anini Beach,” Mazor said. “The concerns of the children for the health of the reefs increased each day as they experienced and learned from the teachers, presenters and each other.”
The cost is $95.
Scholarships are available. To register for the Coral Reef Kids Camp, parents or guardians send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.