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NOAA Ship Hi`ialakai Welcomes Hawai`i Teachers and Students Aboard for a Marine Science Education Cruise

Students participate in NOAA Ship Hi`ialakai Education Cruise
Fiona Langenberger, HIHWNMS

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary conducted an education cruise aboard the NOAA research vessel Hi‘ialakai. One hundred and fifty teachers and students from O`ahu, Moloka`i and Lana`i high schools spent a day at sea learning to conduct marine science research.

Short Video of the cruise.
Click here to view the video. Click here for the captioned version.
“The ship provides a perfect platform for students to participate in “real-time” marine science,” said Sanctuary Superintendent Naomi McIntosh.  “The sanctuary hopes that the experience provided by the education cruise will inspire Hawai‘i‘s students to pursue careers related to marine science and conservation”.

The 224-ft NOAA ship Hi`ialakai is one of three NOAA research ships in Hawai‘i.  Student education cruises have been hosted in the main Hawaiian Islands aboard the Hi‘ialakai since 2005.  The ship welcomed students and teachers onboard from the islands of O`ahu, Lana`i and Moloka`i.  In past years, the education cruise took place on Maui, Kaua`i and Hawai`i. Each year, the students participate in studies of plankton, sediment, water quality, multibeam mapping, and navigation.

Students participate in NOAA Ship Hi`ialakai Education Cruise
Jeffrey Kuwabara

On board the students are exposed to a wide variety of opportunities, careers and educational pathways in marine and ocean sciences and  they take part in hands-on, up-close, experiential lessons.  According to St. Francis High School Teacher Aaron Sekulich, “It's a great opportunity to get the kids out of the classroom and into the practical field environment. It will hopefully inspire them to get involved in pursuing a career in marine science. It would be great to get more students out on a cruise like this, this is 'real learning'.”

St. Francis 12th grade student Francesca Keethe stated that, “The cruise really gave me insights into marine biology. I liked the activity at the wet lab with the invertebrates most because it was so interactive and we were able to see them up close instead of learning about them from a book.”  Mililani 10th grade student Carissa Ochoco said that, “The cruise helped me make a decision to study marine biology because it gave me experience of what it’s like to work in this field.”

This year’s cruise took place from November 2nd – 5th, 2009.  Cruises take place annually and rotate from island to island. Find out more.
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