Past Events

Honolulu Chapter Hosts National Board, Celebrates Half of Century

Elizabeth Wainwright wearing leiARCS National Board members and guests were (almost literally) blown away by their visit to the January 2024 meeting in Honolulu. Attendees experienced sun, rain, gusty winds, cultural insights, local flavors, science tours and more.

University of Hawai‘i President Dr. David Lassner opened the meeting with a welcome reception on the lanai of UH’s historic College Hill residence. He congratulated ARCS Foundation on its 65 anniversary and Honolulu on its 50th and spoke about the university’s responsibility to the indigenous population and its attempts to create a Hawaiian Place of Learning.

Following the Friday Board Forum on the main Mānoa campus, attendees devoured a delicious box lunch featuring local foods (including avocado, mango, Okinawan sweet potato, and breadfruit chips) prepared by College of Tropical Agriculture Instructor and Chef Lara Hackney. ARCS Scholar alumni hosted afternoon tours—Director Dr. Doug Simons at the Institute of Astronomy and Researcher Dr. Anthony Amend at his Microbial Diversity, Ecology and Environment Laboratory. Visitors paused at a bo tree, like the one Buddha sat under when he gained enlightenment, and dined at legendary Duke’s Restaurant in Waikiki.

Saturday took the group UH’s John A. Burns School of Medicine for the National Board meeting, tours, and the Honolulu Chapter’s 50th Anniversary Kick-Off Luncheon. ARCS Scholar alumna Dr. Philomène Verlaan, an esteemed oceanographer and lawyer, gave the keynote presentation on the critical role scientists play in informing policy by providing facts while withholding opinions, citing examples from her experience as a researcher on deep sea ocean nodules and advisor to the Law of the Sea convention. Watch her talk on the ARCS Honolulu YouTube channel.

Honolulu members displayed Hawaiian hospitality—geologist Patty Lee pointing out features of the island landscape en route to the Waialua Estates Chocolate cacao farm and Ko‘olau Distillery, and retired Professor Jacquie Maly opened a Windward Community College science lab so the group could picnic on Hawaiian food out of the rain.

Dr. Philomene Verlaan at railingReturn to Coconut Island

We're happy to report an intrepid group DID return from their three-hour tour to Moku o Lo‘e (aka Coconut Island, seen in the opening credits of Gilligan’s Island). The Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology tour included a touch tank, shark pen, and laboratories where ARCS scholars study octopi and corals. Philomène, left, again thanked ARCS for the award that funded her research at sea and on the island, and founding member Roz Pearson reminisced about the meeting hosted by the late Barbara Pauley at the family’s former vacation home that resulted in creation of the Honolulu Chapter in 1974. The tour concluded with a visit to nearby He‘eia Wetlands led by ARCS Scholar alumna and estuary expert Dr. Yoshimi Rii, who described the reclamation process that involves community in restoration of a traditional taro loi (garden) and fish pond ecosystem.