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Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo

By Isabella Colt

Friends of Hanauma Bay was honored to participate in the 16th Annual Waikiki Aquarium Mauka to Makai Environmental Exposition on 15 April 2023. It was wonderful to connect with our local community and fellow environmental organizations to celebrate Hawaii’s vast natural resources from Mauka to Makai. Nearly three thousand people came to the event, and it was so much fun to see and talk to all the keiki! 

We enjoyed sharing educational outreach about Hanauma Bay and our mission. Seeing the variety of actual marine debris collected at Hanauma Bay was eye-opening to many, and all enjoyed our family-friendly environmentally inspired games. Kaiser High School’s Wipeout Crew joined our booth to share information about reef-friendly sunscreen, as well as a crafty, waste-reducing activity in which recycled t-shirts were refashioned into tote bags. What a great idea!

“The experience of teaching younger children how to reuse old materials was inspiring because it planted a seed in their heads on how they can repurpose anything they want. The dedication to learn was awe-inspiring from our viewpoint because there truly are many people out there wanting to make a difference and the turnout at the event proved that,” remarked Kaya, a member of the Wipeout Crew.

The annual exposition, hosted at the Waikiki Aquarium, promotes the collective mālama of all environmental manifestations across Hawaii, from the mountains to the sea. Hanauma Bay’s unique and delicate ecosystem is no exception. We were grateful for this opportunity to mingle with community members, and educate Hawaii’s youth about an often-overlooked landmark in Honolulu.

Some of the educational objectives that we shared at this event were the promotion of mineral sunscreen use for marine life health, proper waste-management, snorkeling safety, and of course, the status of Hanauma Bay as Hawaii’s first Marine Life Conservation District.   

We had a blast seeing long-time friends and getting to know more community members and fellow environmental organizations, and look forward to the next Mauka to Makai Environmental Exposition!

Mahalo to the Kahalu’u Bay Education Center for providing reef-friendly sunscreen education material to share at this very popular annual community event.