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New training opportunities for Makai Watch community volunteers

By Staff | Apr 23, 2015

HONOLULU – Helping the State of Hawaii bring more effective management of Hawaii’s nearshore marine resources is the goal of the Makai Watch Volunteer Program, which is assisting the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) by acting as the “eyes and ears” of conservation enforcement in the community.

The goal of Makai Watch is to enhance the management of nearshore marine resources by providing community members opportunities for direct involvement in management activities.

Makai Watch Volunteers who wish to participate in the program in an official capacity will need to complete the volunteer training and pass a certification test.

The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and Division of Aquatic Resources, in collaboration with Makai Watch Volunteer Program partners and funders, are offering an updated statewide training series this summer, following official recognition of the State of Hawaii Makai Watch program by the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

This designation recognizes Makai Watch’s compliance with the newly established requirements of the state program.

The Maui training will be offered on Saturday, April 25, at the Kaunoa Senior Center in Lahaina from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The training includes an updated version of the Observation and Incident Reporting Training Series released in 2011, along with a newly developed Awareness Raising and Outreach component known as ‘Ike Kai (to know, feel, understand and comprehend the ocean).

This component addresses common regulated species found in Makai Watch areas, ocean management tools (both traditional and modern), and cultural awareness when engaging resource users.

“The ‘Ike Kai curriculum was an opportunity to weave in the cultural awareness involved with the management and enforcement of nearshore resources,” said Edward Luna Kekoa, statewide Makai Watch coordinator.

“Many Makai Watch volunteers interact with local families and fishermen, and by sharing some of those cultural sensitivities, we believe those interactions will be more positive and productive.”

The Makai Watch Program is an officially recognized DLNR program in partnership with nongovernmental organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Kua’aina Ulu Auamo, Hawaii Wildlife Fund and Project S.E.A.-Link, with funding provided by Conservation International Hawaii and the Harold K. Castle Foundation.

For more information on the training series, or to learn more about the Makai Watch program, contact Luna Kekoa at (808) 349-6095 or Edward.L.Kekoa@hawaii.gov.