We have three opportunities for volunteering at Kahalu‘u Bay, Kailua-Kona.
1. Become a ReefTeacher
2. Become a Citizen Scientist
3. Become a KBEC volunteer
1. Become a ReefTeacher! Join the effort to save Kahalu‘u Bay’s corals and educate visitors on the importance of Hawai‘i’s coral reef ecosystem...ReefTeaching is effective and fun!
Since 2000, volunteer ReefTeachers of all ages have been teaching hundreds of visitors to Kahalu‘u Bay how to enjoy the bay without adversely impacting the fragile coral reef environment. Trained volunteers use picture boards, reference books and field guides to teach visitors about delicate coral and the organisms that depend upon coral for food and shelter. In particular, ReefTeachers emphasize how swimmers should avoid touching or standing on coral, removing anything from the reef, feeding the fish or harassing the turtles that feed and bask in the bay.
As well as teaching people about the reef, volunteers collect data about human use on-site, such as how many people are on the beach and snorkeling at different times. In addition, volunteers collect in-water data about how visitors are interacting with the reef and reef animals whilst snorkeling. This in-water data collected by volunteers has demonstrated that visitors that have been educated by ReefTeach volunteers about coral are less likely to stand on or touch coral.
Volunteers are trained by an Oceanographer and experienced Marine Science Instructor. Interested volunteers are asked to attend two training sessions—one classroom and one on-site. The classroom training session covers basic coral reef ecology, reef etiquette, data collection protocols, some different approaches to educating our visitors on the beach, and volunteer scheduling. The on-site orientation session at Kahalu‘u Bay includes a site orientation, description of educational materials, snorkel tour of the bay and initiation to ReefTeaching. All volunteers get a free ReefTeach T-shirt!
Classroom Lecture: 2 hour session
Location: Bakken Foundation Office across the street from Home Depot on the second floor. North of Kaloko Furniture building.
On-Site Training: 1 hour session
Location: Kahalu‘u Beach Park. Bring your snorkel gear.
Your business or organization can also Adopt-a-Day or join the Train-the-Trainer program.
2. Become a Citizen Scientist! Join the Water Quality Monitoring Effort at Kahalu‘u Bay.
Citizen Science is both an ecosystem health monitoring program and a community education and training program. This is a great opportunity for participants of all ages to learn how to properly collect water samples and, more importantly, understand the lab results and their implications. Residences, businesses, transportation networks, golf courses, new construction, and resorts can all impact water quality.
With support from the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority (NELHA), Citizen Scientists monitor temperature, pH, salinity, conductivity, turbidity and dissolved oxygen twice weekly at five predetermined sites in the bay. Samples undergo analysis for dissolved nutrient inputs on a quarterly basis at NELHA. Participants are responsible for collecting water samples using proper sampling protocol learned during training. Once collected, observations about water clarity, tide level, and weather conditions are annotated. Data is recorded and stored for further analysis in conjunction with quarterly nutrient analysis.
This training session will cover basic information about water quality monitoring, how to properly use the YSI 556 and HACH 2100P, hand-held equipment to monitor water quality components, how to collect samples for nutrient analysis, and how to prepare the data collected. Collection of water quality data will take place twice a week at Kahalu‘u Bay and you can pick the day that best for you.
3. Become a KBEC volunteer!
KBEC volunteers welcome our guests and inform them about reef etiquette and marine life identification, help visitors be properly fitted with snorkel rental equipment, and provide assistance with our retail products.