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IUCN 2016: A first for the U.S. and our Keiki

September 6, 2016 marked the inaugural and historic Student's Day at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu. With nearly 1,000 students, ranging in age from sixth grade to high school seniors in attendance from schools representing all islands, eager volunteers gathered to ensure that the day was a success.

Highlights of the morning introduction were inspiring words from Gov. Ige and Mrs. Dawn Ige and old and new tunes by Jack Johnson. Students from various schools and ages were randomly placed in groups of 10 - 12 for the day's activities, providing a unique opportunity to make new friends and brainstorm ideas. Each group visited two pavilions where they had the opportunity to learn about varying issues related to the world's pressing environmental challenges.

With their pavilion experiences and new insight, students worked in their small groups on design-thinking activities centered on the question of "how can we redesign the experience of sustainability to empower youth?"

The final call to action for students aimed to empower them with their kuleana to continue on their individual and collective journeys in thinking boldly and creatively on ways to conserve and preserve the planet and our islands.

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