Sand Sandblom was beyond the learning phase of the grab-and-go learning kit Friday.
Instead, he discovered the marine-mammal poster included with the kit made a fine telescope for focusing on other items like the origami whale model that was also included in the kit, letting the information on the 18-toothed whales by Aaron Swink of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources sail past the make-shift telescope.
Sand’s family was just one of a steady stream of Kukui Grove Center shoppers stopping to pick up a learning kit and signing up for future learning-kit notifications at the Kaua‘i Ocean Discovery center at KGC.
The learning-kit distribution was part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Get Into Your Sanctuary celebration, and done in partnership with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, the NOAA Fisherie and the DLNR DAR.
“The Kaua‘i Ocean Discovery is closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jean Souza, the Hawai‘i Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Kaua‘i program specialist.
“Besides coinciding with the Get Into Your Sanctuary Weekend, the learning-kit project continues to meet the needs of the community while the Kaua‘i Ocean Discovery remains temporarily closed,” she said. “We’ll have more distributions coming up so people can continue to learn about the ocean even if the center is closed.”
Swink represented the voice of the distribution, and capably presented answers to questions and tips on getting the most out of the kit’s contents, that included a Hawai‘i marine-mammal poster that Sand effectively discovered alternative uses for, humpback-whale and false-killer-whale information, tips and guidelines for marine-mammal viewing, a variety of activities regarding the Hawaiian monk seal, a listing of online resources, and an origami — or Japanese paper folding — whale, instructions and materials to create a kit user’s own origami whale.
Souza said the partners budgeted for more than a hundred kits, with the excess being available at Deja Vu Surf Hawai‘i, located a few doors down from the Kaua‘i Ocean Discovery center.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.