Teaching Change
Students in a greenhouse at the Hakalau Forest NWR
Group of students on the porch at the Hakalau Forest NWR
Iʻiwi feeding on berries

We offer an immersive, two-day Field Course for middle and high school students at Hakalau Forest NWR, where participants gain hands-on experience in conservation. During an overnight Field Course, groups of up to 15 students and 2 teachers/chaperones engage in the following activities: tour a nursery supporting Threatened and Endangered plant species; assist with the propagation of native seedlings; plant native species in core restoration areas; participate in a native plant interpretive hike; observe endangered Hawaiian birds in their habitat; learn and practice how to observe plants and animals in a diverse Hawaiian ecosystem; and finally, learn about and collect phenology data on a range of endangered and common native plant species.

Course Details

Grade Level
6th - 12th
Student Capacity
Up to 15
2 Days, 1 Night
4x4 | Provided


Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge

Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), a site managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the original location of Teaching ChangeField Courses. Hakalau Forest NWR is one of the few places in the entire state where native forest bird populations are stable or increasing. The long-term conservation and restoration activities there are protecting intact, native habitat and restoring previously degraded habitat for thousands of endangered plants that, in many cases, were limited to a handful of individuals in existence just a few years ago. As a result of the management activities there, Hakalau Forest NWR is a ‘poster-child’ of conservation and restoration success in Hawaiʻi and an ideal site to take students. While the refuge is currently closed to the public because of a fungal pathogen that causes a disease in ʻōhiʻa trees (Metrosideros polymorpha) called Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD). Since 2012, ROD has killed over one million ʻōhiʻa trees on Hawaiʻi Island. We have the privilege of continuing to lead student groups to Hakalau Forest NWR for overnight field courses, and we follow extensive cleaning protocol to prevent the spread of pathogens and pests.

Map of the Island of Hawaii and a detail of the Hakalau Forest Reserve

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