Big Island Bay Adopts Hanauma Bay's Education Program

Cindi Punihaole
Cindi Punihaole
Ken Pool
Ken Pool
Alan Hong
Alan Hong

KAHULUU BAY, Big Island (KHNL) -- A Big Island bay is copying many of Hanauma Bay's educational efforts to protect its own natural resources.

From the shore it may not look much like Hanauma Bay.  But underwater, Kahaluu Bay on Hawaii's Kona coast shares a lot with Oahu's popular marine preserve.

An abundance of fish and water life, and plenty of people wanting to see it all up close.

"They love the reef to death because they want to get close to it and touch it and sometimes if you don't understand the effects you are having on the reef you can kill it," said Cindi Punihaole of the Kohala Center.

So volunteers, inspired by the educational success at Hanauma Bay, use pictures and instructions to point out the best way to protect this bay while seeing the snorkeling sights.

"Unless you can show them what the coral will look like or what they're going to see a lot of people don't have a picture in their mind of what it will look like," said bay volunteer Ken Pool.

Not only is the effort at this bay inspired by Hanauma Bay's education program, the signs are the same. Giving visitors a clear and concise picture of what makes this bay so special.

This year long preservation effort is working, so there is hope for a more extensive and permanent learning place here.

"To be able to have an educational center and have people come thru it, before they come onto the beach and the water."

And like Hanauma Bay, an instructional video.

"The most influential educational effort has been the educational film before visitors gets near the water and causes any damage," said Alan Hong.

The dreams for this place are almost as big as Kahuluu Bay itself.

But the current education outreach begins with some of the smallest and youngest.

Teaching visitors and residents of all ages to take care of what we have so we all can enjoy Hawaii's natural beauty.

"I also think of our children and our children's children for a 100 years from now, you want the children to say mahalo kupuna whoever you were for thinking of us."