Whale Trust's School Programs
Whale Trust is committed to inspiring the next generation to get excited about protecting the oceans by providing them with first-hand opportunities to learn about whales and the ocean environment.
A Day in the Field with Lahainaluna High School Students
Three high school students from Lahainaluna High School joined Drs. Jim Darling and Meagan Jones for a day of whale research off the coast of Maui. Although two of the students have been working in the high school's biotech lab to determine the sex of individual whales using DNA from skin samples and to measure steroid hormones such as progesterone or estriol in blubber samples collected by Whale Trust, the students had yet to experience whales and the fieldwork portion of the project firsthand. The third student, Tihani Cadiam Moore filmed and produced a video of the student's experiences in the lab and in the field and was featured on HIKI NO, the nation's first statewide student news network on PBS Hawaii.
One student wrote of the experience: "I had the time of my life. I honestly could not contain my excitement, and I appreciate it more than you know." Meagan and Jim felt similarly Ė it was one of the most rewarding days spent on the water in a long time. Indeed, the team was so inspired by the student's work that the Bill Scott Memorial Fund was launched to help support research engaging local students in marine science projects. The project is a collaborative project between Whale Trust, Makana Aloha Foundation and Lahainaluna High School to provide internship and mentorship experiences to local students in the marine sciences.
Congratulations! UH-Maui Student, Amber Simon, Receives Award for Work with Whale Trust
Amber Simon, a University of Hawaii-Maui College, Marine Options Program (MOP) student joined Whale Trust for a few days in the field to investigate what a "day in the life of a whale researcher is like". Amber learned it was "anything but normal" when the first day out the team discovered a small leak in the gas tank and was forced to abandon the research effort to work on the boat instead. But after a few days with the team, Amber had a good feeling for the research itself, from the lulls between groups to the strict protocol involved in animal behavior research to the sheer excitement of when everything comes together!
Amber was honored with the John P. Craven award for from UH-Maui for Most Inspired and Inspirational Presentation at the University of Hawaii's Annual Marine Options Symposium. The article she wrote based on her experience was published in the June edition of Seawords, a UH-Maui publication. Congratulations, Amber!
In addition to our ongoing outreach into Mauiís schools, we added an additional component to the education program for Whale Quest Kapalua 2009. Whale Trust initiated a collaborative arts and education project to help connect two elementary schools in Hawaii and Alaska through humpback whales. Students participating in the project spent 5 months researching humpback whales, which included speakers from the scientific community coming to their classrooms, writing stories and journaling about what they learned, writing and producing plays and DVDís of their work, and creating a traveling artistic mural of their journey.
During this project, the schools linked via a blog site on the Whale Trust website sharing questions, comments, insights and observations of their own. This added another dimension to the project creating a deeper understanding and connection with the environment and whales and linking the two cultures connected by these migratory giants.
The mural was unveiled at Whale Quest Kapalua and will now travel to Juneau, Alaska to be unveiled there. Check back to see when the mural might be in an area near you.
Whale Trust in the Schools in 2009
Each winter, Whale Trust invites local elementary and Jr. High schools to participate in an ongoing education program designed for Maui schools, which involves an in-school program by Whale Trust staff (Meagan Jones and Renee Warr) and a subsequent field trip to the annual Whale Quest Kapalua event. This year, Whale Trust visited 4th and 5th grade classrooms from King Kamehemaha III, Maui Preparatory Academy, and Pomaika’i Elementary School. The 5th grade students made the field trip to Whale Quest Kapalua. 4th grade students from Pomaika’i Elementary School were scheduled to come but had to reschedule to accommodate mandatory state testing requirements. We look forward to having them next year!
Signed Flip Nicklin Humpback Whale Photographs
Donated to Local Schools
Two 40 x 60 humpback whale photographs taken and signed by National Geographic photographer and Whale Trust co-founder, Flip Nicklin, were donated to local West Maui schools this winter. The signed original photographs were given away as part of our ongoing outreach program to Maui's schools and as part of Whale Quest Kapalua. Flip Nicklin and Meagan Jones were on hand to present the photographs to the Principal and Vice Principal of these lucky schools, while students oohed and ahhed from across the campus.
Over 200 Students Participate in Whale Quest Kapalua
On Friday, February 13th, 2009 over 100 students from 2 different elementary classrooms visited the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua for a day of art, science and discovery
In addition to honing their artistic skills by painting natural markings on life-sized whale tails and smaller whale tails with artist, Sherri Reeve, students also practiced their research skills by matching whale tails from Alaska and Hawaii, tracking radio telemetry devices used on entangled whales, and learning from Dr. Bruce Mate about his latest adventures tracking blue whales with satellite tags around the Pacific Ocean. All children received a complimentary Chico reusable bag, so they could practice the art of conservation at home.
100 4th grade students at Pomaika’i Elementary also participated in Whale Quest Kapalua by engaging in a semester long arts and science project led by Whale Trust (see above).
First Graders in Dallas, Texas Match Humpback Whale Tails from Alaska and Hawaii
On a recent trip to Dallas, Texas, Harrison Kashata, a first grader and avid whale enthusiast from Hyer Elementary School, invited Meagan Jones, Whale Trust Executive Director, to visit his classroom. Harrison has been following whales and Whale Trust since before he could read and knew practically every answer to Meagan’s questions about whales before she could even ask! After a brief introduction to whales, the first grade students helped Meagan to find humpback whales sighted in both Hawaii and Alaska using natural markings on the whale’s tails. The Dallas classroom is now busy naming each of the whales they identified for Whale Trust. Way to go Hyer Elementary!
Whales are for College Students, too!
Whale Trust Executive Director, Meagan Jones, joined marine biology students from across the Hawaiian Islands for the 25th annual Marine Options Symposium at Maui Community College on April 19th, 2008. As the keynote speaker, Meagan shared some of the latest research from Whale Trust, but also got to learn more about the diversity of ocean related research happening throughout the state by our local college students.
Jason Project Online Expedition:
Why do humpback whales sing?
Amongst other projects, the Whale Trust team recently collaborated with the Jason Project, National Geographic Society and NOAA to bring their research to hundreds of classrooms nationwide.
Online Whale Expedition with Elliott Point Elementary School,
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
In 2005, Whale Trust Researchers took elementary school teacher, Mrs. Anita High, along on an adventure to see what it is like to study humpback whales off the coast of Maui, Hawaii. During the 3-day expedition, Whale Trust researchers teamed up with the Emerald Coast Science Center to bring Elliott Point Elementary Students along for the ride.
During the 3-day journey, students learned how Whale Trust researchers study humpback whale song through daily updates from the field, which included background on the daily research objectives and methods as well as slideshows and videos of the day?s work. Each day, the Whale Trust team answered the many questions that the students had about whales.
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