Inspire Keiki to Reduce their Local Marine Debris Footprint
 HWF pilots new marine debris curriculum (Photo Credit: HWF).
HWF pilots new marine debris curriculum (Photo Credit: HWF)
Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund (HWF) and the NOAA Marine Debris Program partnered to engage the keiki (children) of Hawai‘i, both inside and outside the classroom in order to learn about marine debris impacts and forge creative solutions to these problems.

What’s the project?
Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund is working with educators to inspire local school children to become stewards of their natural surroundings and step up to take personal responsibility for the increasing global marine debris problem. This project invests in Hawai‘i keiki and encourages them to create constructive solutions as part of small scale and global movements. Students participate in hands-on activities that target the required science and math benchmarks for the State of Hawai‘i Department of Education. Through exposure to marine debris problems, interaction with professional science mentors, and analysis of marine debris collected from local beaches, this project will connect marine debris to students and their own daily behaviors.

What does it accomplish?
HWF is developing local marine debris awareness and prevention curriculum for grades K-5, which will be distributed to about 20 schools on Hawai‘i Island. Approximately 3,000 students then will create colorful hand-painted wood signs for beach cleanup stations and paint trashcans after learning about marine debris and how each person makes a difference.
A community-based approach in education and action is vital in working towards a solution for marine debris. HWF is organizing several family community clean-ups so that the students will be able to spread awareness to their family and friends and experience the difference they've made.

Who is involved?
Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation through research and education. They are actively engaging the community in research, education, and conservation projects to actively protect Hawaii’s fragile marine ecosystem and community. HWF is partnering with the NOAA Marine Debris Program on this project as part of NOAA’s Marine Debris Prevention through Education and Outreach grant.

What's something unique about the project?
The program will culminate with a family beach cleanup day at several marine debris hubs including Kamilo Point in Ka'u, Pololu in North Kohala, Kanekanaka Point in South Kohala, Cape Kumukahi in Puna, Kaipalaoa in Hilo and Ooma in Kona. Kamilo is notorious for its marine debris accumulations and has been impacted for decades.