Students Explore Wetland Habitat at Keālia Pond
A group of fourth grade students from Pōmaikaʻi and Kamaliʻi Elementary Schools spent the day on Thursday, discovering the wonders of the wetlands at Maui’s Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge.
Led by biologists, naturalists and other industry professionals, students observed Hawaiʻi’s endangered wetland birds and migratory visitors firsthand at the 704-acre bird sanctuary on Maui’s south coast.
The group of 127 students also learned interesting facts about the area’s native plants and watershed ecology through fun, hands-on activities.
This included the collection of data using GPS and mobile devices, and creating story maps to raise community awareness about issues affecting local watersheds.
The visit was made possible with support of funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology program.
“It was the perfect opportunity for our keiki to learn directly from wildlife experts, not only to make them more aware about different STEM careers but also, to teach them to become stewards of our islands,” said Isla Young, WIT K-12 STEM Director.
Industry partners that participated in the field day included: Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge; East Maui Watershed Partnership; West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership; Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project; Leeward Haleakalā Watershed Restoration Partnership; Natural Resource Data Solutions; and Hawaiʻi DLNR, Division of Aquatic Resources.
Women in Technology is an initiative of the Maui Economic Development Board whose mission is to promote STEM throughout the state with hands-on and project-based service learning.