The Ka’u Chamber of Commerce began their scholarship program in 2007 as an essay contest. Students were asked what they envisioned as their role in the future of Kau. Megan R.M. Lamson was selected as the very first recipient. Her essay is titled:
Marine Conservancy: The time is ripe to protect Kau’s precious ocean resources
I am working on my Masters Degree in Tropical Conservation Biology & Environmental Science at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. For my thesis, I plan to conduct a one-year research project to characterize the local fish population at Honuapo Bay in Kau, to confirm that the area is an essential marine habitat that merits legal protection. I will link the world of marine resource management and my own research with community outreach and public education. Over the next several years, I hope to organize and implement a marine science curriculum for the students of Naalehu Elementary and Kau High School. This program would focus on the natural history of Hawaii Island, using hands-on science projects and field trips as the main teaching tools.
On a short-term basis, I want to share my love and enthusiasm for our ocean and its inhabitants with local youth so we can form an alliance that fosters conservation efforts in Kau. I plan to collaborate with other Kau residents and community groups to develop a multifaceted community-based marine management plan specific to our area-blending traditional ecology knowledge with recent scientific breakthroughs. My long-term goal is to continue my research emphasis along Kau’s coastline and to promote marine conservation here as a career. I will persevere with this objective until all of Kau’s myriad natural resources are adequately protected.
Here in Kau, we are blessed with one of the largest and most pristine coastlines in all the Hawaiian Islands. I hope to inspire the next generation to appreciate their natural surroundings and to acquire a mind-set of sustainability and conservation that they can later pass on to their children. We cannot force our rules upon the ocean, but we can use our best resources (from old kapuna wisdom to cutting-edge scientific research) to remedy the pervious harm incurred, and to minimize our ecological footprints into the future. Please help me lead Kau towards this purpose.