By Mary Simms
ABOARD THE HIIALAKAI (KHNL) -- In a place surrounded by water, it's important for future generations to understand how we're all connected to the sea. That's the goal of a special program, which gives young Hawaii residents an up close and personal vantage point of ocean life.
For the forth consecutive year, the National Marine Sanctuary is taking students out of the classroom -- and onto the sea. Students set sail from Oahu, Kauai, and Lanai -- learning that what they do on land has a direct impact on the sea.
Field trips are fun, but there's much more than just fun going on aboard the Hiialakai.
By teaching kids about the ocean, these instructors hope to inspire them to protect it.
"Bottom line we're looking to inspire stewardship. We're hoping these guys go back home and apply a little bit of what they've learned," said Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Emily Carlson.
Getting hands on with marine life has made an impact on these kids.
"I'll be more careful with the environment. To not pollute, or throw stuff in the ocean, or on the beach; because then it will get washed into the ocean and affect the animals," said 8th grader Shaunty Lamho.
"Because now I know there's like plankton and that pollution is like all over the ocean so we've got to keep that clean" said 8th grader Jason Allenby.
Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Emily Carlson wants these students to change the way they behave on land, to benefit the ocean.
"They realize that they're are lots of different land based sources of pollution. What we do on land directly affects the ocean, so I think this is just a really great positive way to get kids interested in about what our actions do and how it affects the ocean," said Carlson.