Teen Taps Science Tips From Coconut Islanders

A Castle High School senior’s study of seagrass, supported by researchers on Coconut Island, was the top project at last month’s Windward District Science Fair, winning Rebecca Weible an all-expense-paid trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair in May in Pittsburgh.

Weible’s “Human Impact on Seagrasses” project examined their global decline, despite the plants’ good deeds providing shelter, oxygen and erosion protection for coastal zones. “As I started to study seagrasses,” Weible said, “I realized their significance, even if they are small. They are so important to the overall ecosystem and balance of the reefs.”

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology faculty member Mark Heckman, researcher Kimberly Peyton and summer intern Sara Sorensen all mentored Weible on her project.

Among those advancing to the state science fair in April were Brittany Scott of Kahuku Intermediate and Camille Aiu of Kapunahala Elementary. Scott studied “Going Glucose Green for Fructose Fuel,” and Aiu studied “Bouncing Polymer Ball.”

William Heyler of Maunawili Elementary took first place for Junior Display for a project on whether gray water can irrigate radishes.