Coastal Internship Grants Awarded To Local Groups



Island Internships Highlight the Potential of Partnerships between Small Businesses,

Local Nonprofits and Government Agencies in Building Grassroots Sustainability Programs

HONOLULU – Local small business Honua Consulting today announced their inaugural awardees for a new internship program which aims to develop ‘āina-based research projects that benefit natural resource preservation in Hawai‘i’s island communities.

Hanalei Watershed Hui and Mālama Kaua‘i will both receive grant awards for internship projects that address coastal health on North Kaua‘i. 

Hanalei Watershed Hui strives to care for the Ahupua’a of Hanalei, Waioli, Waipā, and Waikoko guided by Hawaiian and other principles of sustainability and stewardship, integrity and balance, cooperation and aloha, cultural equity and mutual respect. Hanalei Watershed Hui will use their funds to work with an intern to develop a handbook for their successful Makai Watch Program.

Mālama Kaua‘i will use their award to create enhanced understanding of muliwai and steam systems and ma uka and ma kai relations. The projects aims to restore the community’s ability to assess stream health and knowledge as to whether it is safe to enter the water, without sampling. The project will also provide data to help implements proper policies to improve watershed health and decrease pollutants in the bays where people love to swim, fish and surf.  Founded in 2006, Mālama Kaua‘i is a community-based nonprofit organization that focused on advocating, educating and driving action towards a sustainable Kaua‘i. 

Funds for the program were provided by the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Pacific Island Region and will be administered by Honua Consulting.  “I am pleased to partner with Honua Consulting to fund these exciting and much needed projects within the North Shore of Kaua‘i Sanctuary communities,” said Allen Tom, Regional Director for the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries program. “This is similar to projects that the Sanctuary program has funded in similar sanctuary communities throughout the Pacific including Maui, Hawai‘i Island, O‘ahu and American Samoa.”

“We are incredibly excited about this program,” says Dr. Trisha Kehaulani Watson, owner of Honua Consulting and Program Manager.  “We believe that government funds are often best used when given to communities so that they can drive their own initiatives.  These small, local organizations are comprised of community members who know their communities and know their communities’ needs.  The best thing we can do with this money is turn it over to the community and then get out of their way, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Dr. Watson notes that the proposals were of exceptionally high quality and that as a result of these early, but promising, signs of success her company is looking into securing additional funds to continue and expand the program.  The goal is to take the program statewide in the upcoming years.

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