Maui News

Citizen science, Maui projects topic of Maui Nui free online presentation Wednesday

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PC: Courtesy Maui Nui Marine Resource Council

Presented by Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday will highlight community or “citizen” science and ways to contribute to conservation work. 

The free presentation, titled “Can a non-scientist do science? Global and local community science projects on Maui,” will be held via Zoom. Reservations are required by visiting this link.

Global citizen science projects relevant to Maui and long-running community science projects in Maui County seeking volunteers will be discussed. Guest speakers include Dr. Mark Deakos, Cheryl King, John Starmer and Jennifer Vander Veur. 

Increasingly, scientists are been asking for the public’s help to understand a wide range of topics — from earthquakes to water quality to where animals live, according to a news release. 

“If you want to make a difference in understanding the effects of climate change, protect native habitats and the species they rely on, or simply become more aware of the world around you, citizen science is a great way to get involved and make a difference,” John Starmer, chief scientist of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council and volunteer coordinator at City Nature Challenge on Maui, said in the release.

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Deakos, founder, president and chief scientist of the Hawai‘i Association for Marine Education and Research, will be focusing on his manta ray photo-identification catalog of more than 600 individuals.

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King will discuss two of her citizen scientist-related projects: SHARKastics, marine debris research and cleanups, and Hawaiian Hawksbill Conservation, the statewide in-water photo-identification catalog for critically endangered Hawaiian hawksbill sea turtles from 1998 to present.

Vander Veur, senior program manager of the Coral Reef Alliance of Maui Nui, works with volunteers who grow and plant native vegetation at key locations near coastal streams, which act as natural barriers and trap sediment runoff before it reaches the ocean and coral reefs.

The presentation is part of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s “Know Your Ocean Speaker Series” hosted on the first Wednesday of each month. The series is funded by the county’s Office of Climate Change, Resiliency and Sustainability and donations from individuals and businesses in the community.

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Maui Nui Marine Resource Council is a Maui-based nonprofit that relies on citizen volunteers for its Hui O Ka Wai Ola ocean water quality monitoring program at 29 locations along Maui’s shores.

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