Outdoor Science Professional Development Program for Teachers

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The Kohala Center is looking for middle and high school teachers for its Hawai‘i Meaningful Environmental Education for Teachers program.

Kohala Center, located in Waimea. Google Street View image.

Teachers and their students will have opportunity to leave the classroom and study the island’s ahupua‘a, or traditional Hawaiian mountain-to-sea land divisions.

“This program is a great opportunity for teachers to lead their students in field-based hands-on environmental science research projects,” said Ilene Grossman, environmental educator and program leader with The Kohala Center. “Teachers will be able to train their students to be citizen scientists and contribute to the knowledge and stewardship of the island’s ecosystems.”

Through the program, students will learn about ahupua‘a through classroom presentations and field trips, and identify and implement a scientific research project on topics such as coral reefs, forest flora and fauna, water quality, climate change, non-point source pollution, runoff, sedimentation, and marine debris.


The free yearlong program starts with a three-day hands-on workshop in Waimea on Hawai‘i Island that will introduce teachers to The Kohala Center’s Huli ʻĀina Kumu Wai (watershed investigations) field science curriculum, which aligns with NGSS and Common Core standards.

The workshop includes instruction on Hawaiian cultural protocol, kilo observation skills, field sampling techniques, watershed education, and 14 lessons to share with middle and high school students.

Although the program focuses on middle and high school teachers in West Hawai‘i, it is open to teachers statewide.


The HI-MEET program also offers teachers five professional development credits with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education; resources to support field science work with students (transportation, logistics, classroom support) for the 2017–2018 school year; $200 for field science supplies; a Data Analysis workshop in February 2018 on Hawai‘i Island; and a Youth Science Symposium in April 2018 on Hawai‘i Island, at which students present their research and findings for peer review and discussion.

The deadline to apply is Friday, June 30.

Free accommodations in Waimea are available for up to 20 participants, as well as travel stipends for up to six teachers traveling to Waimea from other islands.


Staff from The Kohala Center will provide technical, logistical, and programmatic support to selected teachers from Hawai‘i during the academic year. Scientists and cultural experts working in these areas will also participate in the program through classroom presentations and project support.

Prospective applicants can view a complete program overview and apply online, or contact Ilene Grossman at The Kohala Center at [email protected] or 808-887-6411 for more information.

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