Several students from Discovery Academy just experienced an opportunity of a lifetime by participating in a Pacific Island Service Trip: a service experiential and culturally educational retreat in Hawaii. Each day began with service opportunities in the mornings followed by fun activities ending with workshops in the evenings.
One of the days students visited a unique beach and were introduced to a team dedicated to the eradication of invasive algae. This team educated students about the effects of these invasive seaweed types and showed them examples to be removed. Students then went into the water and removed over 400 lbs of the material, assisting the ecosystem to regain a more natural balance.
Another particularly memorable service project involved going to a women’s homeless shelter and preparing/serving lunch. Before lunch preparations were under way, the group was taken on a tour of the facility and showed the rooftop hydroponic garden and aquaculture area. Students learned about the importance of raising fish and plants together and how they were able to benefit from each other. Most of the food raised there was used in the preparation of lunch for the guests.
Once back on the beach, the students were introduced to the crew of the Iosepa which is a traditional, hand-made sailing canoe. Initially, the plan was to assist in launching the crew and boat but due to complications, the boat was unable to be launched. However, the students were still taught about the traditional style of navigation and participated in a beach clean-up. During the clean-up, students, and the crew removed over 20 lbs of plastic which would have ended up in the ocean potentially harmful for animals or habitat.
A tour of the Polynesian Cultural Center was fun and educational as students learned about traditional Polynesia while they walked through different villages learning songs, dances, foods, and languages of the people who have inhabited the Pacific islands for thousands of years. This activity included a guided tour through different Polynesian villages representing different Polynesian islands as visitors got to interact, experience and learn.
In Honolulu, students were able to walk around the Visitor’s Center Museums of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. They also watched an educational clip on events that led up to World War II. Students then boarded a motorboat and rode across a section of historic Pearl Harbor to the actual site where the USS Arizona was struck down, and still rests on the ocean floor today.
Later, students toured a certified working organic farm which also had a Zipline tour over the majority of the farm. At several stops on the farm, students were able to sample some of the fruits and vegetables growing there. Students also learned about the new “farm-to-table” trend of serving healthy foods to consumers in the most sustainable way. They also learned the business principles of starting, operating, and sustaining an organic farm.
Lodging accommodations were provided by BYU-Hawaii, where the students also had the opportunity to experience a university tour during their stay.