Students survey the reef in Kāneʻohe Bay.

Windward Community College is developing future stewards of the environment through the Pacific Center for Environmental Studies (PaCES) summer environmental science program. 

An intensive six-week program, PaCES provides selected Hawaiʻi high school juniors and seniors from 14 of Oʻahu’s public and private schools with hands-on education and research experiences in environmental science.

Participants of the PaCES summer program perform active research and community service projects, which combine the ahupuaʻa perspective (ridge-to-reef) and place-based STEM learning. Using concepts of sustainability, Hawaiian cultural and traditional practices within the diversity of locations such as the Heʻeia wetlands, Kāneʻohe fishponds, Kualoa’s intertidal zones and many watersheds and estuaries along the Windward side, students complete the program with greater knowledge of their unique environment.

Students use scientific surveying techniques of coral reefs at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) at Moku o Loʻe (Coconut Island). The pristine area is surrounded by an extensive, shallow coral reef, which makes for an ideal natural laboratory to study the health of Hawaiʻi’s reefs.

PaCES symposium

The program concludes with the PaCES Student Research Project Symposium on July 15, 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. at Windward CC’s Uala Leaf Café in Hale ʻĀkoakoa. Students will report on their group research projects. Robert Richmond, director for Kewalo Marine Laboratory will be the keynote speaker. The public is invited.


More about PaCES

PaCES instructors Dave Krupp, Windward CC biological and marine science professor; Rob Hutchinson, Kamehameha Schools science instructor; Manning Taite, Pacific American Foundation Studies, Nalu Studies and Derek Esibill, Pacific American Foundation, WIRED have worked together for more than 12 years to create an educated community of young adults.

Many graduates of the PaCES program have gone on to college to pursue their goals in areas including the marine sciences, environment, technology, ecology and biology.

The students receive four college credits and a $1,000 scholarship. The goal of the PaCES program is to introduce a new generation to the environmental issues that threaten our fragile ecosystem.