LIHUE — Katie Nalesere of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources was in her element talking about coral with students from Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School on their field trip to the OceanFest site Tuesday at Kukui Grove Center.
Nalesere returns Saturday as the 2019 Kauai OceanFest — the Ocean that Connects Us opens for the final weekend with a theme of protecting the health of coral reefs and the ocean environment. Nalesere, an education specialist with DLNR-DAR, will offer an “Eyes on the Reef” training that is designed for snorkelers of all ages to learn more about Hawaii’s corals and how to identify and report potential threats to reefs Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at KGC.
Following Nalesere’s presentation, there will be a keiki make-and-take ocean crafts and activities station from 1 to 3 p.m. This weekend’s activity sees keiki being invited to make models of Hawaiian corals out of air-drying clay.
The Eyes of the Reef Network is a community reporting network for coral disease and bleaching, marine invasive species, the crown of thorns seastars, and fish diseases.
Nalesere will be joined by visiting educator Kristen Kelly of DLNR-DAR, who will speak on endangered false killer whales today at 6 p.m.
Kelly will also speak on discovering marine debris and its impacts Saturday at 10 a.m.
The Kauai OceanFest has been taking place over the past four weekends as an educational collaboration between the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Pacific Islands Region, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, the University of Hawaii at Manoa Hawai‘iniakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, DLNR-DAR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Kilauea Point Natural History Association and Kukui Grove Center.
The exhibit area that opens today from 4 to 8 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday features displays, a life-sized, papier mache monk seal created by local artist Kat Ho, live monk seal cam, sea bird mounts, and a pop up benefiting the Kilauea Point Natural Hisatory Association featuring interactive toys and books.
“The February annual sanctuary ocean count takes place Saturday” also, said Jean Souza, the Kauai programs coordinator for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. “I won’t be at the Kauai OceanFest since I’ll be out with the count. But, during the month, seven partners have shared their passion for the ocean along with their knowledge. This is the final weekend.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.