NAPILI - Maui Preparatory Academy held its first marine biology monitoring event at Napili Bay on April 23. The volunteers were ninth grade biology students and 11th and 12th grade environmental science students of MPA teacher Dr. Kathleen Ireland.
The students received two preliminary classroom training sessions from Donna Brown, marine biologist at the University of Hawaii Maui College, and her graduate student, Dana Reed.
That morning, students and instructors, plus several other adult volunteers, gathered in a shady corner of Napili beach for a last set of instructions before gearing up and getting wet.
Donna Brown (left of the tree), marine biologist at the University of Hawaii Maui College, gives the Maui Preparatory Academy students a biology lesson at Napili Bay.
They also received special materials like waterproof paper with some graphic guides and clipboards/pens for documenting their observations. Many of the students also had underwater cameras.
By early afternoon, tired and excited students - plus their pleased teacher and trainers - wrapped up this first marine biology monitoring session at Napili Bay, sponsored by the Napili Bay and Beach Foundation.
The data gathered will be input into CORAL's database by the students.
The purpose of the monitoring is to measure relative abundance of coral and reef fish species as a measure of the health of the bay.
Future events are planned for fall and spring through 2014 and likely beyond.