Big Isle nature centers join to enhance education


POSTED: Monday, January 05, 2009

HILO » The land, sea and sky are unified in a new educational agreement among three Big Island-based institutions.

Under an agreement signed last month, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, representing the land and volcanic activity, joined with Imiloa astronomy education center, representing the sky, and Mokupapapa Discovery Center, representing the sea, said Jim Gale, chief interpretation ranger at Volcanoes National Park.

Mokupapapa tells the story of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, embracing the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, said monument Superintendent Aulani Wilhelm.

Currently, each of the institutions explains a different facet of forces that ancient Hawaiians saw as a unity.

“;Although our governmental agencies and science textbooks divide the land from the ocean and the earth from the sky, the truth is that they are all part of a single system,”; said Jennifer Goto Sabas, representing U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye.

The national park is developing “;Junior Ranger packs”; that tell the story as a unified whole, including native Hawaiian perspectives, Gale said.

Although education starts with youth, enthusiastic children are expected to include their elders in the learning, he said.

The new cooperative agreement does not bring any immediate funding with it, but Sabas said formalization of the agreement does improve “;future funding opportunities.”;