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Working at the Kilauea Wildlife Refuge has proved to be an exciting and broad learning experience. Each day different from the next – I’ve been able to gain new knowledge and perspective on native and nonnative plant and wildlife species, Hawai’ian cultural experiences, education event planning, and the consequences of over tourism and invasive species.

A huge part of my service experience has been learning about the importance of community education. Some of my favorite days of service work have been working with the children’s summer fun events on conservation and wildlife species. It provides kids on the island from various backgrounds, with engaging equal learning opportunities. Last week we helped host an event called “Whales at your library,” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration came with a 39 ft life size inflatable whale, complete with inflatable organs and outer skeleton details. The event had 6 rotating stations, each a different theme but all related to marine life and ocean pollution. I had the chance to run each station over the three days hosting different library events. It was an amazing opportunity to observe experienced conservation educators and improve our teaching skills for children 4-12.


Involvement in conservation and environmental science learning can sometimes feel overwhelming. Often the discouraging statistics on the severity of the climate crisis, and the dwindling numbers of many treasured animal species can leave little room to acknowledge the positive strides being made, and the small actions we can take to contribute. Being part of an event that works to educate children on the importance of their role in helping to save animals like the humpback whale, and reduce plastic pollution in our oceans and environment, proved to be very impactful and motivating. Getting the opportunity to interact and engage with kids, and seeing how much they care and want to contribute their efforts, made me more hopeful for the future of the environment. I also realized how important these learning opportunities would be for the community. If what was taught in one hour was impactful enough on the children, it could provide a wealth of information for cleanup strategies to instill in their own lives and bring back to their families as well.