WAIKIKI (KHNL) - The 16th annual Hawaii Conservation Conference got underway Tuesday morning in Waikiki.
The Hawaii Conservation Alliance headed the conference, which helps promote our native eco-systems through research, training and education.
Several young students were recognized for essays they wrote about the environment, including 7th grader Hillary Oki who wrote about her journey to Hanalei Beach on Kauai.
"I wrote it because my dad taught me a lot about how we should clean the ocean and I really like that and I thought it would be a really great story to write about," said Oki, a student at Kapolei Middle School.
The theme of the event is "Island Eco-Systems: The Year of the Reef." It coincides with a worldwide campaign to raise awareness of the importance of coral reefs.