PMRF, partners offer Earth Day activities for students

Janis Kimata, Barking Sands Fire Department trainer at PMRF, talks about fire safety and water rescue operations to local middle school students during Earth Day 2015 activities sponsored by the base. U.S. Navy photo by Stefan Alford

Janis Kimata, Barking Sands Fire Department trainer at PMRF, talks about fire safety and water rescue operations to local middle school students during Earth Day 2015 activities sponsored by the base. U.S. Navy photo by Stefan Alford

Pacific Missile Range Facility Public Affairs

PACIFIC MISSILE RANGE FACILITY – More than 250 students from two local schools participated in a variety of environmental awareness activities held April 22 at Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Barking Sands, Kauai in celebration of Earth Day.

Students from Ke Kula Niihau o Kekaha, a Hawaiian language charter school in Kekaha, and Waimea Canyon Middle School joined PMRF Sailors in a beach cleanup as well as rotating through a dozen educational stations set up by various government agencies and non-profit partner organizations.

“This Earth Day event promotes awareness of resources, conservation, pono behavior and teaches students how to care for their health and the health of the environment,” said event planner Jean Souza, National Oceanic Atmospherics Administration (NOAA) Kauai programs coordinator and Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS) volunteer coordinator.

“At PMRF, where there have been a number of notable environmental initiatives and where natural and cultural resources abound, this is an ideal setting for learning in an outdoor, shoreline setting,” she explained.

The nearby DLNR-managed (Department of Land and Natural Resources) waterbird wetlands sanctuary was also one of the stops where students were able to observe endangered birds in a natural habitat under the guidance of Division of Forestry and Wildlife specialists.

All of the students rotated through the education stations set up at Major’s Bay recreation area and participated in one of four field activities: beach cleanup, work at the Kawaiele Waterbird Sanctuary, seabird education at the base’s protected wedgetail shearwater colony, and learning about the seasonal changes affecting sand deposits on Kauai beaches and particularly at Majors Bay with earth scientist and sedimentary geologist, Dr. Chuck Blay.

In addition to Navy natural resources biologists and environmental specialists,

NOAA, HIHWNMS and DLNR, other organizations supporting the event with representatives providing hands-on learning included the Kauai Invasive Species Committee, Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii, Papa-hanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Kokee Resource Conservation Program and the Alu Like Native Hawaiian awareness organization.

The education stations featured programs and activities on pono fishing, bar-bless fishhooks, opihi studies, fishing regulations, impact of marine debris on wildlife, stop smoking, ahupuaa and moku education, weather and climate change, boats, native forests and plants, invasive species, and careers related to these fields.

“This is a great opportunity to provide our keiki with a better understanding of the cultural and natural resources where they live,” said Roland Sagum, PMRF Earth Day 2015 organizer and the base’s community planning and liaison officer.

“We are the host in being able to offer the settings and facilities in which learning can take place. The field activities focus on some of the environmental initiatives that PMRF has in place. However, we would not be able to provide such a wide scope of educational programs to our westside youth without the amazing support and partnership of the many community organizations involved,” Sagum said.

County of Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. made an appearance to tour the stations and talk to the students about the importance of caring for the island’s cultural and natural resources— emphasizing that environmental stewardship is everybody’s kuleana and starts with them.

Capt. Bruce Hay, PMRF commanding officer, remarked in his welcome to the students —”Today we observe Earth Day, but really, every day should be Earth Day.”

Lunch off the grill for the students and volunteers was donated by Sailors from PMRF’s Military Support Organization.

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Category: News