KANEOHE (KHNL) - It is one of the most popular classes at Windward Community college. On board the Honu Kai, they head out to sea for a lesson in environmental awareness.
"The students get to engage in a variety of different lecture series as well as interactive labs ranging from topics of coral reef ecology, genetics, sea turtles" said Carlie Wiener of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.
While they get hands-on experience and participate in everything from invasive limu sorting and how to perform coral transects, it's the endangered sea turtle the students hope most to see. Spotting one is a good sign that these animals are safe in the waters of Kaneohe Bay.
"Actually the green sea turtle has made a pretty good comeback here in Kaneohe Bay where they're often seen by our boats."
For decades, Kaneohe Bay has become a watery playground for people looking to have good time.
"There's so many people that are using Kaneohe Bay for recreational purposes that completely ignore the natural habitat that we're destroying" said John Berzins.
Students are encouraged to take what they learn from this special class and share it with those using the bay.
"And perhaps if they were aware of how fragile the environment is that they would start looking at it differently."
It's the state's largest marine science laboratory hoping to make a big impact in preserving this special part of our islands. If you're interested in signing up for the class, you may want to plan ahead. That is because it is usually offered only once during the spring and fall semesters.