Love and respect for the environment
“The quality of human life is dependent upon the quality of our environment,” says Dr. David Krupp, Windward Community College Department of Natural Sciences Chair.
The department’s Pacific Center for Environment Studies (PaCES) supports environmental science education, research and stewardship at Windward CC. As part of this mission, in partnership with the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), PaCES offers its summer environmental science program for high-school students, an intensive hands-on research experience for juniors and seniors.
Headfirst into service
Each summer, 24 students live a six-week, college-like existence, with classroom, laboratory, and field instruction at Windward CC and the HIMB. Students participate in real-world research projects developed with the ridge-to-reef ahupua‘a in mind, culminating in a presentation of their work in an end-of-term symposium. When it’s all over, they’ll earn four college science and lab credits and a $1,000 scholarship.
Although a high GPA is not required for admission to the program, enthusiasm and interest in the environment are. Students are motivated to learn, and grateful for the opportunity. Through involvement in the summer program, students who may not have considered college an option realize that higher education is within their reach.
Opportunities in conservation and outreach
Jonathan Rosen was a PaCES intern in 2011, and served as a mentor to participants in the following two summers.
“PaCES sends its students headfirst into a battery of service projects,” he said, “such as lo‘i maintenance, native plant hillside restoration, invasive species removal, and Hawaiian fishpond maintenance. A lot of this field work truly pushes students to get down into the mud, dive in among the coral reefs, and feel the dirt between their fingers, simultaneously shattering students’ fears and discomfort toward nature and replacing it with love and respect for their environment.”
Rosen continued, “Its influence on my life is still prevalent five years later, as I am about to finish my BS in biology at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. That sense of environmental stewardship has followed me, and I now look toward opportunities to begin a career in environmental conservation and outreach education myself. My time in the PaCES program has instilled in me a lasting appreciation for my environment, making me a more avid hiker, camper, and community volunteer.
“I can devote my life to doing my part, no matter how small, in preserving this world for future generations.”
Mahalo to the generous donors who support this program including the Minami Community Foundation, Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund at the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Cultural Surveys Hawaii, Inc., HC&D, LLC and the Garden Club of Honolulu.