Foundation series

The Maui Huliau Foundation offers conservation career exploration days for young people

Tidal pools. PC: Maui Ocean Center.

The Maui Huliau Foundation and its program partners invite high school and college students from Maui to participate in two in-person events where students can learn practical job skills from professionals working to protect Maui’s natural resources and ecosystems, mauka at Makai.

Makai Career Exploration Day in Māʻalaea on April 23 will focus on careers in marine science fields, and Mauka Career Exploration Day in ʻĪao Valley on May 1 will focus on careers in protection of freshwater, watersheds and native forests.

Both events will feature four activity stations from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. hosted by local professionals working in these fields, as well as information tables presenting volunteer, internship and employment opportunities in these fields.

Valley of ‘Īao. CP: Mauna Kahālāwai Watershed Partnership.

Both events are free for Maui County residents ages 14-21 and lunch will be provided. To participate, you must be able to attend the entire event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendance is limited to just 48 students and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis through the Maui Huliau Foundation website.

Hands-on professional activity stations for the Makai event include the Maui Ocean Center, Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute, Pacific Whale Foundation, DLNR Department of Aquatic Resources, and Hui Water Quality Testing Program o Ka Wai Ola of the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council.


Through hands-on activity stations, students will learn about coral propagation, sea turtle rehabilitation, coastal water quality testing, pono fishing practices, behind-the-scenes breeding and fishing. public education at the Maui Ocean Center, and how drone technology is used to measure and identify whales.


During lunch, students will also learn about the work done by other community-based marine resource management organizations and opportunities to study and work in the exciting field of marine science.

“I think these kinds of events are important because science is useless if we don’t share the knowledge it brings,” said Florence Sullivan, research analyst for the Pacific Whale Foundation. “The young people of Maui should be interested in these careers because when you’ve grown up somewhere, you bring so much lived experience to your understanding of an ecosystem and an environment that it makes your science and your advocacy all the more powerful.”

“Maui Ocean Center is thrilled to partner with the Maui Huliau Foundation on another wonderful interactive opportunity with Maui’s youth,” said Jessica Colla, Director of Education for Maui Ocean Center. “These students are the next generation of ocean advocates, and we’re excited to teach them about unique conservation opportunities in their own backyards.”


“We are very happy to be part of this event,” said Tiara Stark, Senior Team Leader for Hui O Ka Wai Ola. “Through lessons about the negative impact of water pollution on our coral reefs and livelihoods, we hope to encourage local youth to become water quality champions and perhaps pursue careers in conservation.”

The Mauka event based at the Hawai’i Nature Center campus in ‘Īao Valley will feature hands-on professional activity stations hosted by Maui’s three watershed partnerships, the Maui Invasive Species Committee, the Maui Forest Bird Recovery and the Hawaii State Commission for Water Stewardship.

Through hands-on activity stations, students will learn about technologies and methodologies used in backcountry fieldwork to protect Maui’s native forests, how to spot some of Maui’s common invasive species, technologies used to monitor native bird populations, what native species are found in Maui. streams and how to measure stream flow.

This event will feature an opening by Ke Kula o Piʻilani and a lunchtime presentation by Hui o Nā Wai ʻEhā on the importance of the Nā Wai ʻEhā region and its freshwater resources.

During lunch, a Kupu representative will be present to share information about their internship programs and opportunities. Additional information will also be provided on other organizations working to protect our watersheds and native species, and other opportunities to study and work in this diverse field.

“Our mauka forests are our island’s source of fresh water and biodiversity,” said Allison Borell, community and education liaison for the East Maui Watershed Partnership. “It is important that our young people get involved in the future of these precious resources. We are excited to attend this event and share some of the skills currently being used to monitor and protect them.

“We look forward to this opportunity to give our local youth first-hand insight into the work we do to protect our native forests and watersheds,” said Kim Thayer, Program Associate with Mauna Kahālāwai Watershed Partnership. “We hope to open their eyes to a career in conservation and inspire our next generation of ʻāina stewards.”

The Maui Huliau Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting environmental education and leadership among Maui’s youth. These two in-person events mark the end of the virtual Careers in Curatorial series hosted by their Huliau Alumni Council throughout the school year. The website features information on educational opportunities for young people interested in careers in conservation and sustainability, as well as recorded presentations by 24 professionals discussing their career paths and advice for young people.