Become part of the Eyes of the Reef Network by attending the “Eyes of the Reef” community training workshop, which will be conducted by Darla J. White on Thursday, April 21, from 6 to 9 p.m. The class—offered as part of Pacific Whale Foundation’s (PWF) monthly Making Waves Lecture Series—will take place at PWF’s Discovery Center on the lower level of the Harbor Shops at Mā‘alaea, next to Maui Ocean Center.
Through this workshop, you’ll become part of a group of trained community members who know how to provide reliable reports on bleaching, disease and changing reef conditions throughout Hawai‘i, including invasions by Crown-of-Thorns Sea Stars and other problematic marine invasive species.
White is the Maui island coordinator for the Eyes of the Reef Reporting Network and special projects coordinator for the Hawai‘i DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in marine science from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. A research diver in Hawai‘i for more than a decade, and has had the rare privilege to collect data on coral reefs throughout the whole of the Hawaiian Archipelago. While working with research teams in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, she became interested in marine disease and threats to reefs, and is passionate about the opportunity to share this information with the community through the Eyes of the Reef.
Workshop participants can also attend a free field identification program led by White on Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to noon at Kahekili Beach Park in Kā‘anapali.
“Whether you are a recreational ocean user, recreational or commercial fisherman, tourism operator, researcher or student, you can help keep an eye out for signs of change when you are visiting Hawai‘i’s reefs,” said White. “Pollution, climate change, and poor land use practices create environmental conditions that foster coral disease and coral bleaching, support the spread of invasive species and threaten reef health.”
White noted that early detection of reef problems is important in protecting our reef resources. “A wide network of observers providing regular reports of conditions throughout the region can provide information early on, so managers can take steps to address problems when they happen,” she explained.