Founder, Lisa Hinano Rey has been working with nonprofits, community partners and schools on Oahu training youth ages 12 to 20 on methods for collecting water quality data using scientific equipment since 2014. Students learn about water pollutants and their impacts by measuring the quality of the water. In addition to raising awareness about the importance of clean water resources in vulnerable island communities, our program increases the interest of Oceaniaʻs youth in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Our program also prepares students ages 12-20 for future career possibilities. SOS aims to establish long-term, sustainable connections between researchers, public and private sector businesses and community. With the combined partnership of the youth and community using a citizen science approach in the research process, the role of scientists in society and the scientific process can be demystified.
While teaching with the tools and methods of cutting edge Western science, we lead and prioritize our practice in our ancestral knowledge of our tupuna in the Pacific Islands. Because of the deep rooted ecological knowledge that has been passed down from our tapunas, the indigenous peoples and communities of Oceania have thrived in our islands for thousands of years.
We make it a priority to center the knowledge of the tupuna in our curriculum by asking questions such as: “How did tupuna acquire the knowledge to become good land managers?”, “How are the tupuna ways similar or different to today’s methods?”, and “What is the evidence that tupuna were more skilled land managers than we are today?”
Co-founder, Vehia Wheeler, has been establishing partnerships with agencies, business partners and community members in Tahiti and Mo’orea, for over a year now, who are excited to extend this program to French Polynesia. Our goal for 2020 and beyond is to serve the communities of French Polynesia educating the next generation of citizen scientists of Oceania using our ancestral knowledge in partnership with STEM methods.