Maui Swim for Science Event Attracts 50 Participants
An estimated 50 community members, resource managers, scientists and conservationists participated in a talk story and Swim for Science event on Earth Day at the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management area in West Maui.
The event sought to address environmental concerns and conservation successes of the area. Participants said the reef offshore of Kahekili Beach serves as a model for watershed management and turning the tide on coral reef decline.
The event was held in conjunction with the March for Science event held earlier in the day at UH Maui Colllege and the national Smithsonian Institution’s Earth Optimism Summit.
The group shared reasons for their interest in the environment before gathering signs written on waterproof paper and tarps. They then lined up in a sand channel next to the shallow reef and swam, snorkeled, and went SCUBA diving past underwater cameras to capture the event.
Officers of the Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement also participated and answered questions about their work. Participants of the event further talked about how to engage in communicating with elected officials in supporting resource management and enforcement.
Event organizer Dr. Emily Kelly of Scripps Institution of Oceanography said she was encouraged by the enthusiasm of the attendees and the questions her research team was asked. “We don’t always have the chance to interact with the public when we’re at a site conducting fieldwork. The timing of our Maui trip and the Earth Optimism Summit was a great opportunity to have everyone together to celebrate the optimism we have for this reef as a result of the efforts of community members, managers, and enforcement, and to share the latest science we have for the reef,” said Kelly.
Darla White, Special Projects Coordinator at the Division of Aquatic Resources, who participated in the event said, “How we do things on land is important to the ocean that sustains us. I’m optimistic because the Ridge to Reef Initiative has brought many partners together, including agencies and communities, and we’ve shown that if we each do a little, we can all do a lot.”