Kim Tamaoka made an offer that two of her fellow Region 1 Coordinators couldn't refuse: Come to Hawaii and help deliver four Project WET workshops on three Hawaiian islands. Project WET Idaho Coordinator Julie Scanlin and Alaska Coordinator Joni Scharfenberg didn't have to be asked twice.Recently, Project WET Hawaii Coordinator
Kim works for Project WET’s Host Institution in Hawaii, the Kauai Department of Water. In 2012, the Kauai Department of Water received a $230,000 grant to develop and implement a statewide source water protection education program using the Project WET curriculum. Kim took over the Project WET program in 2013 and knew she could benefit from the experience of veteran Coordinators like Julie and Joni.
“I’m so grateful that Julie and Joni agreed to assist me in my Project WET efforts here in Hawaii,” Kim said. “I’m still relatively new to Project WET, so I really appreciated my fellow Region 1 coordinators taking time out of their busy schedules to help me facilitate our back-to-back workshop series held on three different islands. It was hard work, but totally worth it!”
For her part, Joni said she appreciated her fellow Coordinators' experience and skills. "Back to back workshops were new to me," she explained. "I am so glad I was surrounded by professionals like Julie, Kim, and Jonell."
The four workshops were held over five days in June on the islands of Oahu, Molokai and Hawaii (the Big Island). About 70 educators attended the four workshops; four individuals went on to become official Project WET Hawaii Facilitators. One participant in the Hilo workshop on the Big Island said that the presentation “was by far the most interesting and interactive workshop of the year!” A science teacher from Oahu called the materials, hands-on training and free supplies “awesome!”
Kim said that the three of them received a lot of similar comments from other workshop participants.
“The knowledge and information that Joni and Julie shared were so valuable to all of our educators,” Kim reported. “We received wonderful feedback from everyone.”
Julie called the experience "a blast", adding that it was "fun to share how we do things in our states and for Joni and I to learn more about Hawaii." She noted that this kind of cooperation could be "a great model to assist new coordinators in our regions when they are first starting up."
Continuing efforts to expand the Project WET program throughout the state, Kim and new Project WET Facilitator Jonell Kaohelaulii are coordinating another Project WET Educator Workshop in Oahu to be held later this month. In addition, Kim and Jonell are currently planning the Kauai Department of Water’s 12th Annual Make a Splash With Project WET Festival, to be held on September 24, 2015.
Kim said she hopes to be able to extend the cooperation with her fellow Coordinators.
“Together we shared many laughs and memories on our ‘workshop tour’ and I can’t wait to team up again in the future,” she said.
Note: Thanks to Kim for the detailed notes and accompanying photos and to Joni and Julie for being willing to be featured.