On Tuesday, August 4 we were blessed with a visit by group of students from the local school here on Aitutaki. These young people (who ranged from middle to high school ages) were in the middle of their two-week Independence Day holiday but still managed to muster up the energy to come by our “Base 1” (aka End of the Runway) site. We (hopefully) regaled them with ecological stories and showed them various aspects of our monitoring efforts to characterize lagoon health. After patiently sitting through our overview, they got down and dirty and helped with everything from our sand coring to looking for micro plastics in beach sand via our ESRM mobile microplastics lab. They and their Araura College Principal Tracy Spiers (who we first met on last year’s preliminary visit to Aitutaki) had a fun time (we hope!).
Our CSUCI students had a great day showing the local kids how we do what we do. The kids also taught us a thing or two (what it feels lilt to get ciguatera poisoning, etc.). We hope to get them up and running with some subset of our lagoon monitoring protocols throughout the school year to help integrate more environmental science into their routine classes and simultaneously building a cadre to local Aitutaki folks into the routine monitoring we hope to foster here.