Ocean Warriors is an award winning, hands-on nature-based experiential science and mentorship program that has been working with middle school and high school students in North and South Kohala. Since 2008, 620 kids have been exposed to some portion of the Ocean Warriors curriculum, of which 265 students have participated in Ocean Warriors in-depth programming for either a full year of camping and field trips, or our summer Ocean Camp. Of 92 year-long students, 27 returned for two years or more (almost 30%!), continuing beyond the initial 6th grade year to become junior leaders, helping with incoming 6th grade students. In 2015, our first set of high school seniors who began in 6th grade graduated.
Ocean Warriors is helping build an engaged youth for Hawaii. Our students have been involved with 96 environmental or community service projects. Beyond direct involvement, students have been part of bigger solutions, having raise $1.3 million toward open space protection funds, saving 27 acres of vulnerable wild spaces!
What do students do during Ocean Warriors?
Ocean Warriors offers science, outdoor skills, and mentorship experiences through regular watershed-based field trips and camping trips.
- The focus of the Ocean Warriors program is to conduct hands-on learning to investigate and better understand local lands and waters. Students then apply their knowledge toward real-life and meaningful efforts to protect, safeguard, restore, or clean up areas within their local watersheds.
- Many of the experiences also include water-based activities, such as camping, sailing, kayaking, collecting water samples from shore or on watercraft, and snorkeling to count fish and monitor coral reef conditions. These activities further connect Ocean Warriors participants to the natural world around them, to instructors, and to other students in the program, creating fun memories and deepening student motivation and commitment to caring for the environments they know and love.
- Beach and natural area stewardship activities involve pulling weeds, planting trees, picking up trash, and other natural area caretaking and restoration activities.
- The combination of activities gives participants perspective on how science, recreation, leadership, teamwork, and community participation fit together. Students emerge with an understanding of the positive and negative effects people have on the environment, and what can be done by themselves and together with their community to make a positive difference.
Ocean Warriors mottos:
Over the years, Ocean Warriors students have come up with focal ways to think about their goals and efforts in the program. These mottos have stood the test of time and continue to guide and inspire new generations of students. We believe these demonstrate the core feelings and goals of the program better than anything else. They are:
- We care. We learn more. We work with others to take action!
- Thankful hearts. Helpful hands. Careful Thinking.
- I can make a difference. Our team can make a difference. Our community can make a difference. Let’s get started!
- Take care of each other. Take care of our community. Take care of our lands and waters. Take care of our world.
Thanks to a grant from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Bay and Watershed Education and Training (BWET) grant program, we will be offering six 12-week intensive programs for 6th grade students from 2017-2019. Students in each of these programs will hold community events to share what they have learned and how others can get involved in local environmental protection activities. Stay tuned!
Keep track of these students
on the Ocean Warriors facebook page!