C.O.R.A.L. Card Certification Course on Ocean Awareness, 11/06
This year’s C.O.R.A.L. card certification course on Ocean Awareness concludes; receives accolades and endorsements by community members and marine recreation business participants
Representatives of agencies within the State of Hawaii and County of Maui, including NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS), Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), Maui Community College’s Marine Option Program, and other leading environmental organizations have joined forces to create an Ocean Awareness C.O.R.A.L. Card: Care of our Culture, Ocean, Reefs and Animal Life certification program.
The goal is to target and train members of our community who regularly interact with visitors to our island, such as marine tour operators (scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing), snorkel shops, hotel concierges, activity agencies, and volunteer marine naturalists. The free Ocean Awareness certification series empowers participants with the most current knowledge and naturalist techniques to properly educate visitors about Hawaii’s unique cultural and natural resources.
The Ocean Awareness/C.O.R.A.L. certification course will occur twice a year. This year’s sessions focused on ocean, island and cultural etiquette & protocol; up-to-date information on marine species; recent humpback whale research; ocean safety; marine tour operator code of conduct; and interpretive techniques in educating visitors. Specific topics include coral reef ecology; invertebrates; fish ecology; sharks; marine mammals; water quality; and Hawaiian culture, including the history and significance of the island of Kaho’olawe and Hawaiian fishponds; and marine stewardship.
The Fall session was offered concurrently in both Kihei and Lahaina, and over 120 people attended the workshops, collectively logging over 1,200 hours of time to participate in this unique learning opportunity. In addition to those seeking to increase their knowledge or serve as a volunteer marine naturalist with the partner organizations, participants included representative/employees from the following businesses, organizations, agencies and schools on Maui: Nancy Emerson School of Surfing, Hula Surf School & Girls Gone Surfing, Teralani Sailing, Prince Kuhio, Big Banana Tours, Blue Water Rafting, Alii Nui, Trilogy Excursions, Kapalua Dive Company, Maui Thrills Eco-Nature Tours, Maui Kayaks, Ed Robinson's Diving Adventures, Hawaii Wildlife Fund, Project S.E.A.-Link, Maui Ocean Center, Pacific Whale Foundation, Maui Community College, Community Work Day, Temptation Tours, Lihikai Elementary School, Lahainaluna High, Kihei Charter School, and Wailuku Elementary School.
Each offering will be different and progressive, providing engaging lectures by local experts with current information and interactive activities for participants. In addition to the C.O.R.A.L. card, graduates will receive a CD of resources and outcomes of the course.
There are many great education and outreach organizations in our community, and the goal of this program is to create an inclusive Ocean Awareness certification series that will promote the continued protection and stewardship of our islands’ natural and cultural resources.
If you would like more information on the Ocean Awareness course, or would like to pre-enroll for the spring 2007 training, please contact Emily Carlson, Volunteer & Outreach Facilitator, HIHWNMS, at 879-2818, or email email@example.com.
The C.O.R.A.L. partners would like to acknowledge and thank these leading educators, researchers and cultural specialists who gave presentations for the 2006 sessions: Patty Miller, David Matilla, Ed Lyman, Jerry Stowell, Emily Carlson, and Alastair Hebard, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary; Kimokeo Kapahulehua,`Ao`ao O Na Loko I`a O Maui (Fishpond Association of Maui);Kuhea Paracuelles and Dean Tokishi, Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission; Johanna Kamaunu, Hawaii Department of Education; Russell Sparks and John Mitchell, Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources; Hannah Bernard, Hawaii Wildlife Fund (HWF) and Maui Reef Fund; Cheryl King, HWF; Donna Brown, Maui Community College Marine Option Program; Liz Foote, Project S.E.A.-Link and Coral Reef Alliance; Archie Kalepa, County of Maui Ocean Safety; Jonathan Hultquist, Ka’au Abraham and Mike Ogata, Maui Ocean Center; Pauline Fiene, Mike Severns Diving; Alison Cohan, Pacific Whale Foundation; and Megan Webster, Maui Land & Pineapple Co.
Thanks also to those who volunteered so much of their time to make this possible: MiQe Klemme, Maui Thrills Eco-Nature Tours; Debra Herring and Dano Phippen, HIHWNMS; and Ananda Stone, Maui Reef Fund.
"This represents a huge collaborative effort which will certainly result in better opportunities for preservation and stewardship of our near shore waters and reef ecosystems. Environmental education is paramount to protection of our natural resources, and my hat is off to all those who worked hard to make this happen." - Rob Parsons, Maui County Environmental Coordinator
"I’m totally impressed with this initiative and it is only through community efforts such as the CORAL card certification program that we are able to save our ocean environment for future generations. Mahalo nui loa for developing such an innovative educational program." - Jo Anne Johnson, Maui County Councilmember
"A quote by Haunani Apoliona best exemplifies the vision and tireless efforts of staff, value of citizen volunteers, work of researchers, contributions of marine and tour operators, and passion of O ka 'aina o na opio, those who love the sea, were born of the sea: ‘Me na mea'oi loa mai nä wä mamua e holomua käkou I këia au… Let us move forward into the future carrying with us the best from the past" - Johanna Moanikeala (Laimana) Kamaunu, Wahine o kanaka maoli.
"The C.O.R.A.L. card should be likened to the PADI card in its message and importance. Instead of material related to diving it teaches "must know" cultural and marine resource information, etiquette and protocol specific to Hawaii and should be required for all those educating, working or promoting visitors to engage in marine activities." - MiQE of Maui Thrills Eco-Nature Tours and Hawaii's Eco-Nature Society
"The Ocean Awareness Training course was an excellent experience! This course should be mandatory for all tour guides and operators that care about the environment and want to have the latest info about our local marine ecosystem." - Paul Noble, Owner, Maui Kayaks
"The course offers an opportunity for community members and commercial operators alike to expand their knowledge of our Islands fragile resources. As a community we must empower ourselves with the knowledge to promote sound protection and good stewardship of these resources. This is a great opportunity for commercial operators as they are a very influential voice to our Island visitors!" - Kristin McFarland & Philip Russell, owners, Nancy Emerson School of Surfing
"Require C.O.R.A.L.-like this course for everyone employed in/around the waters of Hawaii. Awesome course!" – Steve Burkhalter, Teralani Sailing
"Classes should be mandatory for all ocean activities. Information is vital to keep our ocean resources available for our survival and the creatures of the sea. Thank you for making these classes fun and free!" – Aaron “Sharky” Huish, Nancy Emerson School of Surfing
"Ed's lecture this week was one of the most informative humpback lectures I've received in all my years as a naturalist." –Debra Herring, HIHWNMS volunteer
In a group activity, participants developed the Top Marine Etiquette guidelines/code of conduct for important subjects. Presented here are some of the outcomes:
Require a certification course like C.O.R.A.L., where all parties are on the same page about protecting our natural resources. Learn more about culture, implement it and pass it on. Promote awards and recognition for marine conservation in the ocean recreation industry. Support stewardship programs and outreach efforts to educate visitors in various settings (tour operators, dive & snorkel shops, activity booking centers, hotels, interpretive stations, airlines, local media, etc.)
Allow Coral to Live and Grow
Don’t walk on or touch the coral or submerged rocks where new coral could grow. Trampling kills the coral and can also badly cut humans who come in contact with it. Coral is a living animal; it is delicate and grows very slowly. It is actually illegal to damage coral in Hawaii!
Allow fish to eat naturally
Feeding fish may disrupt natural behavior, causing dependence and habituation, and promotes aggression. People who feed fish may be bitten. Fish that are fed may not graze reefs and algae (including invasive varieties) could take hold.
Protect Marine Mammals & Sea Turtles
Respect animals’ space. Don’t take pods by “storm”. Maintain legal and suggested distances. Don’t touch, inhibit, harass, or “take” sea life. Protect turtle nesting areas.
Practice Proper Boating and Kayaking techniques
Properly anchor some distance away from the entire coral reef. Use day-use moorings. Practice and promote proper diving/snorkeling techniques. Have capacity limits. Always display a dive flag. Have speed limits (whale season) and keep a distance from areas where turtles routinely surface to breathe. Also practice proper maintenance and observe waste discharge laws.
Rules & Regulations
Follow the regulations, and practice ethical & sustainable fishing methods. Promote more Marine Managed Areas (MMAs) in order to allow the quantity of fish to increase. Educate fishing community on dwindling reef resources and the value of MMAs.
More enforcement and awareness needed in strategic coastal locations and on the ocean. Support partnerships between enforcement agencies and marine tour operators.
Commercialization & Exploitation of Reef Life
Stop the depletion of our world’s oceans. Shops should stop selling coral, shells and other marine creatures that are “not local” and may be unlawfully and/or unsustainably harvested. Regulate aquarium collecting that is depleting our fish populations.
Keep it clean
Always pump sewage and manage litter. Sewage and litter diminishes quality of our ecosystems; litter becomes marine debris, which threatens marine species. Practice the judicious use of chemicals and sunscreen, which can be harmful to marine life; use biodegradable alternatives.