Posted on: February 14, 2013

300 Maui Schoolchildren to Attend Maui Whale Festival's 2013 Keiki E.C.O. Day

About 300 elementary school students will be gathering at Kalama Park in Kihei on Friday, February 15, for a day of outdoor environmental education as part of Pacific Whale Foundation is  4th Annual Keiki E.C.O. (Educating Children Outdoors) Day.

Second grade students from Kihei Elementary School, fourth grade students from Makawao Elementary School and second, third and fourth  graders from Kihei Charter School will be attending this free conference, which includes a keynote address by astronomer Harriet Witt, workshops and a concert by the Banana Slug String Band of Santa Cruz, California.

The event is organized and hosted by Pacific Whale Foundation's marine education team and utilizes some of the tents and facilities set up for World Whale Day which will take place the next day. Free bus transportation is being provided to the students through Pacific Whale Foundation's "No Child Left Indoors" scholarship fund.

The theme of this year's event is "Using Nature as Your Classroom." Teachers and their classes will each participate in two workshops throughout the day, offered by environmental nonprofits, government agencies and others.

The workshops will be led by:
* Abe Vandenberg, Maui Invasive Species Committee
* Merrill Kaufman, Pacific Whale Foundation
* Nikole Davis, NOAA Fisheries
* Kirk Surry, Grow Some Good
* Honeygirl Duman and Wendy Swee, Haleakala National Park,
* Rebekah Kuby, Community Workday
* Mark and Cindi Wadlow, Ho’aloha aina
* Dan Kuhar, Kihei Charter School
* Allison Wiest, East Maui Watershed
* Anne Gachuh,  Home Gardening Support Network,
* Duane Sparkman, Maui Cultural Lands
* Betsy Davidson, Pacific Whale Foundation Research
* Wilma Nakamura, Joy of Worms.

At lunchtime, a prize will be awarded to the class that produces the least amount of trash waste from their lunches brought from home.

"During Keiki E.C.O. Day, children will learn about “Snacks You Can Grow” while enjoying a fresh fruit snack and water," says Karen Molina, Youth Education Manager at Pacific Whale Foundation and Keiki E.C.O. Day Coordinator. "They will participate in a waste-free lunch contest, and then rock out at the park with the Banana Slug String Band's irresistible and fun tunes that promote ocean conservation."

"It is Pacific Whale Foundation’s priority and mission to connect children with nature," says Mollina. "Keiki E.C.O. Day is a day that combines fun, learning and being outdoors, with the goal of inspiring all children to appreciate, enjoy and protect the natural world around us."

Keiki E.C.O. Day is part of the Maui Whale Festival, a series of events from late January through March that celebrate and honor the humpback whales that arrive here each winter. To learn more, visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org.