Worldwide Voyage Update | Plastic Free Hawaii Beach Cleanup
The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) has teamed up with the United States Forest Service and Kōkua Hawaii Foundation to encourage fourth grade students in Hawaii and across the United States to go outside and explore public lands and waters. The three organizations came together today for a beach clean up hosted by Kōkua Hawaii Foundation’s Plastic Free Hawaii program at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Also participating in the cleanup was Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, who along with Plastics Free Hawaii works to bring about public awareness and action to reduce the amount of waste we produce every day, which in turn reduces the amount of plastics and other trash found in our oceans and on our coastlines.
The beach cleanup and habitat restoration today included 225 volunteers who removed almost 850 pounds of marine debris from the shoreline and outplanted 40 akulikuli and pohuehue which are native to the area. Of the 848 pounds of marine debris collected, 643 pounds will be included in the Method Ocean Plastic “beach to bottle” initiative, which creates recycles plastic debris from beach cleanups into new bottles for Method products.
In addition to celebrating mālama honua actions and initiatives focused on plastic and waste reduction, marine debris issues, and recycling, a major focus of the event was to promote the Every Kid in a Park program, and to encourage local educators to participate in EKIP via Kōkua Hawaii Foundation’s field trip funding and educational resources.
“The Every Kid in a Park program supports PVS’ Malama Honua mission to care for the land and to use the outdoors as a classroom for our children,” said Miki Tomita, director of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Learning Center. “Getting kids outside and into our public lands and waters is a first step to making them future leaders and stewards of the land,” she added.
Nationally, Every Kid in a Park was started by the White House to encourage fourth grade students to visit national parks and other federal lands and waters for free with their families and classes. Students and educators across the nation can go to https://www.everykidinapark.gov/ to download a free pass to hundreds of parks, lands, and waters for an entire year. Recently, world-renowned musician and conservationist Jack Johnson and his wife Kim made a commitment via their Kōkua Hawaii Foundation to fund $100,000 worth of field trip grants to Hawaii teachers, with the goal of reaching 17,000 fourth-grade students in the state to help them defer the cost of transportation and other supports for visiting sites like those involved in Every Kid in a Park. Applications for fieldtrip grants are available at http://kokuahawaiifoundation.org/fieldtrips; the deadline for applications is March 1, 2016.
“We hope Hawaii’s educators will take advantage of the field trip grants available through the Kōkua Hawaii Foundation, and take our kids out to visit our public lands and waters” said Tomita. “Our outdoor environments offer so many opportunities for our children and communities to learn why and how we can malama honua.”
Partner organizations included U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Surfrider Foundation, Kanu Hawaii, US Navy, US Forest Service, and many more!
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As the mainstay of support to PVS, our members are allowing us to voyage beyond the boundaries of Polynesia to inspire a global movement to care for our earth.