Program Update

hpa marine studies update- 4/29/2024

I Hope everyone is doing well. I wanted to send an update on some of the work we have been doing recently! Please, as always, let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or want photos! Love to celebrate our work. Mahalo, Laura

Volunteer opportunities for our students

Over 18 service “events” have been offered through our program this semester with a total of 414 collective student volunteer hours completed this semester. Volunteer work is primarily in our Sea Turtle Research Program, coastal cleanup efforts and fishing line processing. 

Sea Turtle Research Program (STRP) research events

This semester we have conducted a total of three on-island research trips (Hilton lagoon, Kaupulehu and Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park). In addition we have completed our fifth trip to the Republic of Vanuatu. Our partners at all these facilities have been gracious hosts and appreciated the knowledge gained regarding the honu existing in their areas. 

Marine Biology 

This semester we have our vertebrate zoology course with a focus on human ocean interactions. Through place-based and hands on activities students are learning about Hawaiʻis various marine vertebrates. We have our final field trip this semester on Tuesday. Of course, the spring break Fiji trip was also a beautiful extension of our marine biology studies. 


We have completed three larger coastal cleanups this semester (Spencer’s, Kamilo Beach, and South Kawaihae Harbor) two of which included student led sea turtle information booths. In addition, I presented at the Ocean Fair this past weekend celebrating HPA’s efforts!

With capstone we have enjoyed our work with 4th  and 8th grade students. 

Advanced Scuba Course

We have 5 students completed their advanced scuba course now and have been enjoying their afternoons in the ocean! 

Scuba Club

Now that swells have calmed we are offering 3 shore dives on the weekends for the remaining 3 weekends and 1 night manta boat dive chartered with Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii.

Fishing Line Recycling Program

We have collected ~10.4 miles of fishing line and have quite a bit more to process! We placed two more bins – this time in Kona – and things are going well wtih our volunteers. Our students are processing line and feeling good about their contributions. 

Workshop with Rachael Z Miller

Sunday we had a very inspirational workshop with Rachael Z Miller, National Geographic Explorer and Co-Founder of the Rozalia Project for Clean Oceans. She is visiting HPA for three days today teaching Laura Jim, Robyn Scarth, Erin Kawakami, and Ali Marchildon (along with 6 high school students) on the CSI for the Oceans project assessing microplastics in water and in the air. She will be visiting 8th grade classes today and Tuesday.

Coming up

Laura and Marc will visit UH Hilo’s Capstone presentations on Thursday in order to support presenter Rachael Pecoraro whose project we supported as well as to learn about the various research projects being completed at this level – looking at opportunities for growth at HPA! 

In addition, our work on Marine Explorations Academy is building up as we near our summer sessions! We are lucky to have Kim Martins, Robyn Scarth and Tani Cordova supporting the program this year!

Mahalo nui loa, Laura