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State Honoree

Leanne Nakamura

Hawaii

co-created “S.A.V.E. Kualoa Beach,” an effort to remove marine debris and educate her community about environmental issues. While attending an environmental conference Leanne learned about beach erosion and the devastating effect marine debris has on the beaches. However, she was not satisfied that a suggestion to write letters to government officials was a solution. After a faculty advisor alerted Leanne of foreign fishnets on Kualoa Beach, she organized an effort to remove the nets and conduct a beach clean-up. Leanne recruited volunteers from several school clubs, the University of Hawaii’s Environmental Club and other organizations, and persuaded local merchants to donate food for the volunteers. As a result, several tons of the fishnet were removed. “I believe that when students took part in this project they learned about beach erosion and how people’s carelessness affects the environment,” said Leanne. “It allowed students to take responsibility for the earth, creating a relationship between the environment and the student.”