'Alalā Reintroduction Community Inquiry Program
The 'Alalā Reintroduction Community Inquiry Program provides Hawaii Island students the opportunity to examine firsthand the ecological significance of the 'alalā (Hawaiian crow) through the process of conservation inquiry. Students engage with SDZG researchers at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center (KBCC) before designing and conducting their own 'alalā-enhanced native seed growing experiments on their campus. The program includes comprehensive professional development in open inquiry for Hawaii Island science teachers and fits well with Hawaii's recent adoption of the NGSS. It also coincides perfectly with the timing of ongoing 'alalā reintroduction efforts, linking activities in the formal classroom to community-wide initiatives.
“The 'Alala Reintroduction Community Inquiry Program got our pick for a Tier 3 winner for their exemplary program design connecting E-STEM with bio-cultural learning. Young people learn about a local E-STEM issue, why it’s important to the local ecosystem, and its cultural meaning. We loved the solid grounding in the scientific research process that have real life conservation outcomes. Judges agreed the 'Alala Reintroduction program’s thoughtful design promises opportunities for scaling up in this scenario, and even with other culturally important species and their surrounding communities. Judges also appreciated the long-term, sustained engagement strategy for students. The partnership between San Diego Zoo Global and local teachers in Hawaii created a strong local relationship and scaffolding for young people in Hawaii public schools.”