Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Hawai'i Program Overview
Preserving Hawaiian Ecology and Culture for High School Students
This spring, the Brown Leadership Institute will return to Hawai'i to study its environment and culture. Brown, with support from its affiliate, The Kohala Center, offers this intensive program for exceptionally motivated and mature high school students with interests in environmental studies, leadership, and cultural studies. The Kohala Center assists in identifying a diverse network of Island-based resources with expertise in natural science, cultural studies, and history. Brown University and The Kohala Center are committed to helping students learn how Hawai'i residents are working to preserve and enhance the intellectual, cultural, and natural assets of the Island.
We will cover many subjects and issues during the program while forming a tight-knit learning community. Students can expect to discuss the challenges and possibilities of sustainability both in Hawaii and in their home communities.
Our program focuses on the interdependence of land, sea, and the life systems they support. Students will study the island's biological, ecological and cultural diversity through a core curriculum of marine science, volcanology and Hawaiian culture. The first half of this course will take place in Volcanoes National Park*, where students will explore the dynamic geological processes which continue to shape the island. Since June 2014, there has been a slow active flow which does not pose a safety risk to park visitors. For more detailed information and a map that shows the path of the flow, please visit http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/lava2.htm.
The second part of the program is based on the shoreline in South Kona providing the perfect site for investigating marine science.
In this course, students will:
- Investigate the geological processes which form the chain of Hawaiian island chain
- Hike through Volcano National Park and learn about steam vents, lava tubes, and calderas
- Conduct a survey of plant species to understand forestry succession.
- Conduct a diversity survey to understand forestry succession near ancient lava flows
- Observe the differences in vegetation and wildlife in tropical, arid, and temperate environments
- Snorkel, document coral abundance, and learn about threats to coral ecosystems
- Conduct a four-day science project
- Learn about scientific field methods for terrestrial and marine systems
- Discuss marine conservation techniques and understand the perspectives of multiple stakeholders
- Analyze Hawaii’s sustainability plan and consider competing priorities
- Consider the role of tourism and its impact on sustainability and cultural preservation
- Increase individual awareness of water and electricity use as well as food consumption and waste
Develop Leadership Skills
- Understand the concept of situational leadership style and gain insight into your preferred leadership style
- Utilize active listening skills
- Engage in group problem solving and build team work skills
- Practice public speaking
- Learn about the Social Change Model of Leadership Development
Appreciate Culture and History
- Observe a traditional Hawaiian ritual at the Kilauea Volcano
- Learn about native Hawaiian culture, traditions, and language from local educators
- Visit a sacred place of refuge and royal grounds for ancient Hawaiians
- Learn about the revival of traditional Hawaiian culture
*Please be aware that due to the island’s active volcano, high concentrations of volcanic gas and ash, known as VOG, can be found in certain areas of the island. Those with asthma or other types of respiratory illnesses are advised to consult with a physician regarding their program participation and follow physician recommendations. If applicable, please come prepared with appropriate medications.
Additional information about these environmental conditions, can be found at http://governor.hawaii.gov/emergency-information/important-information-about-vog/
Your program fee includes:
- Tuition fee for all courses
- All lodging as part of the course
- Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
- All transportation, field trips and site visits as described in the program description
- Transfer from/to airport on day of arrival and departure
Your program fee does not include:
- Air travel to Hilo International Airport and from Kona International Airport
- Classroom materials (textbooks, notebooks, pens, etc.)
- Pre/post-program accommodations