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two students examining specimens on a the coast
University Laboratory School students in Our Project in Hawaiʻi’s Intertidal.

A citizen science program for middle and high school teachers and students has been awarded $150,000 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Bay Watershed Education and Training program. Our Project in Hawaiʻi’s Intertidal (OPIHI) in the Curriculum Research and Development Group (CRDG) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Education is aimed at understanding the local watershed and scientific process.

OPIHI participants learn about marine ecology and conservation, species identification and sampling techniques. They monitor the limu (algae) and invertebrate communities of the understudied rocky intertidal areas in Hawaiʻi and collect authentic data while improving their scientific skills and building their confidence and interest in science.

The research program is under the direction of CRDG Assistant Specialist Joanna Philippoff and co-directed by Leeward Community College Place-Based Lab Manager Anuschka Faucci. “This award will allow us to continue to immerse teachers and students statewide in the scientific process,” Philippoff said. “It will also allow us to support continuing OPIHI teachers as well as bring on a new cohort of novice OPIHI teachers.”

In OPIHI, educators, scientists and cultural practitioners form a supportive community engaged in understanding their local ahupuaʻa. Teachers gain classroom and field experiences which they use to create activities with their students.

In 2018 the program produced a A Field Guide To Hawaiʻi’s Coastal Organisms: Algae And Invertebrates.

Read more on the College of Education website.

—By Jennifer Parks

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