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Current position of the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers. Dates and times use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans

July 08, 2015

S-260 Aloha ‘Aina Concludes

Aloha ‘Aina faculty

Aloha Aina

Above: Our final class photo on the HPU campus. Below: Aloha ‘Aina – 2015 class representative Katie Hoots

Hello and Aloha from the island of Oahu and the beautiful windward campus of Hawaii Pacific University.  The final student has left the HPU campus and we must sadly draw the curtains on this academic adventure.  The final week back onshore at Oahu has been a busy one, as students complete their final projects and write their final papers.   But no worries, there was a balanced share of free time and an appropriate celebration of July 4th!

After 10 days at sea we had a fair bit of data, plus numerous samples, that required processing and analysis.  This all took place on the HPU campus with the help of the 3rd Assistant Scientist Laura Lilly, who commuted daily from the ship to help in the lab ashore – thanks Laura!  Dr. Carrie Jones (HPU) and I were ever present to help students make sense of their data.

In between the hours spent looking through a microscope, sieving sediments, conducting chemical analyses, and plotting graphs for their oceanography papers and poster presentations, the students also met in their Island Groups to synthesize all they had learned about the revisions to (and controversy surrounding) the Hawaiian National Marine Sanctuary.  Each student group represented a specific Hawaiian Island and argued for a particular set of revisions to the Sanctuary regulations, preparing to present their position during our final symposium on Tuesday.  When not working on their OC projects you could find students meeting with Dr Jack Kittinger (Conservation International), Dr Kehau Watson (Honua Consulting), Dr Brenda Jensen (HPU) and Zane de la Cruz (our indispensible TA from Lanai).  For three days straight the students diligently worked on their projects and had not a moment to spare to work on the blog?!?!?

Come Saturday, July 4th the students were ready to take a break which they did by spending a few hours at the local Swap Meet (think acres of Flea Market with a Hawaiian flare!), followed by a tour of the Pearl Harbor museums and memorials including the USS Arizona, a picnic and movie (Top Gun) overlooking Pearl Harbor, and finally topped off with an impressive show of fireworks!

Sunday and Monday were a mix of continued mentor meetings and free-time for the students so they were well rested and ready for their final Aloha ‘Aina Symposium which included a full day of Marine Sanctuary presentations interspersed with an enlightening poster session summarizing all the collected oceanography data.

The day ended with a dinner celebration full of traditional Hawaiian food including:  poi, Kalua pork, lomi salmon, chicken luau (stewed taro leaves), and haupia.

The celebration came with a slideshow of the entire Aloha ‘Aina experience, a graduation ceremony with hand-made leis (thanks Carrie!) and the handing out of SEA alumni pins, election of the class representatives (congrats Robert Ramos and Katie Hoots), and a final class photo!

Speaking for all the faculty we were delighted to see how far the students have come.  They have learned so much.  But their successes would not have been possible without the help, support, guidance, and mentorship of so many collaborators who deserve our many thanks:

Dr. Andrew Greene  (HPU volcanologist), Malia Chow (NOAA, HHWNMS superintendent), Doc Burrows (Ulupo Heiau and Kaiwainui Marsh), Danielle Hull and Mamo Leota (He’eia Fishpond), Kaila Alva (Waimea Valley), Kepa Maly, Simon Seisho Tajiri & his crew of wonderful teachers on Lana’i, Ekolu Lindsey (Maui watershed restoration), Darla White (DLNR, Kahekili Reef survey, Maui), and the staff and docents of the Mokupapapa Discovery Center in Hilo, the National Park Service on Haleakala, and Hawaii Volcano National Park.  We would also like to thank Ua Ritte and Hano Naehu from Keawanui Fishpond, Molokai for teaching our students about their fishpond restoration project.  And finally, an enthusiastic thanks to the Aloha ‘Aina crew onboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans.

The Aloha ‘Aina faculty

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