Monday, May 2, 2016

CEP: Community Education Program Interview with Casey Ching

Name: Casey Ching
Title: Kupu Americorps Intern/CEP Program Lead

What is the Community Education Program?
Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology’s Community Education Program on Moku o Lo’e (Coconut Island). Its purpose is to bridge the gap between the science at HIMB and what it means for the community. The program allows the community insight and access to the facility through tours, outreach, overnight programs, labs, school programs and homeschool programs. Hands on labs and activities allow the community to get a marine biologist experience while spreading awareness about how it benefits the community.

“We really appreciate learning about the ocean. We gained a new respect for Marine Life! Mahalo!” – 7th grade class, Hawaii

“Thank you for giving us your time. In addition to marine life, I learned that you also study how humans affect the ocean. I was excited to learn about fish, animal behavior and the marine environment; I am thinking of becoming a Marine Biologist myself now!” – Alisha, Hawaii

Why should the community be excited about the Community Education Program?
The Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology is an amazing place. It is the only tropical research institute  in the world where researchers are right on a coral reef. They can collect samples from the reef and run the entire genetic sequence in our state of the art facility immediately after. These are some of the best scientists and marine science on the planet. And the Community Education Program reflects this. These programs gives students and the public the opportunity to participate and understand the science our research institute. The program has an activity for everyone. Whether you are interested in learning the history of the island, seeing animals or learning how to do science.  

“Thank you so much for our incredible trip to Coconut Island. All six of us, grandparents, parents and kids – will remember the tour, the shuttle boat, sharks, sunshine and your friendliness for years to come!” – Mike, Oregon

How can a tour or activity be requested?
Through an email or phone call, inquiries about services offered can be requested.
Email:, Phone: 808 235 9302

“Wow! Yesterday at Coconut Island will definitely be high on our Oahu list of favorite memories. We were educated and highly entertained throughout the day!” - Linda

What is HIMB’s end goal with the Community Education Program?
We want to create a training pathway for our local students so that the become the next generation of marine scientists, managers and conservationists. We want the public to support them. Our Community Education Program strives to protect and maintain the surrounding eco systems, making them pristine for research while increasing interaction with the community.

“It was great seeing the children so excited and engaged outside the classroom, they loved every minute. It was perhaps the best field trip ever!” – Beth and Students, Hawaii

What is a favorite memory for you?
It is every time I see a face light up when a connection between local eco systems and the science behind it is made. The excitement that comes from the experiments during plankton labs, where students see the microscopic creatures close up is very rewarding. Also, being so close the eco systems provides opportunity to learn something new each day.

“A wish can be very powerful for a child who is facing a life threatening medical condition. It is a positive, uplifting experience and its benefits extend far beyond the wish itself. Thanks to your support, we were able to provide Annie and her family with memories that will last a life time. We truly appreciate your support to grant the wishes of as many eligible children in Hawaii as possible. Mahalo!” – Stephanie  

Interviewed by Miranda Chilelli

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