Puna Geothermal Venture supports science summer camps for kids at ʻImiloa

University of Hawaiʻi
Margot Schrire, (808) 956-6774
Director of Communications, University of Hawaii Foundation
Posted: Jul 26, 2011

Summer camp participants construct geothermal models using hydrodynamic engineering kits.
Summer camp participants construct geothermal models using hydrodynamic engineering kits.
Photos courtesy of 'Imiloa Astronomy Center
Photos courtesy of 'Imiloa Astronomy Center
University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i recently received a $5,000 gift from Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) and its parent company Ormat. The gift helped to subsidize program tuition costs for local schoolchildren to attend ‘Imiloa’s Summer Camp programs focused on sustainable technology. The gift will also enable ‘Imiloa to expand its outreach into school classrooms in the Keaau, Pahoa, Puna areas of the Big Island.  

“We appreciate the investment and commitment Puna Geothermal Venture and Ormat has made to the community through their gift in support of summer camp programs at ‘Imiloa. These programs are important because they help engage our local schoolchildren in the concepts of science, technology, engineering and math in meaningful and relevant ways,” said Ka‘iu Kimura, executive director of ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i, a part of UH Hilo. “It was exciting to see children’s faces light up when the engineering designs they worked so diligently on were tested and found to be successful – we live for those moments.”  

‘Imiloa’s Summer Camp program, named “Sustainability through Technology,” aimed to engage on youth in science, technology, engineering and math concepts throughout the month of June. Boys and girls between grades 5-8 had the opportunity to create geothermal plant models using hydrodynamics kits that taught them about valve technology, turbines, and pumps. Those with successful models were awarded engineering “contracts” for their engineering prowess.  Children also had the opportunity to experiment with fuel cell car kits and even build a take-home wind turbine kit.  

Participants were treated to a special presentation by PGV staff including Michael Kaleikini, general manager, and Tito Agbayani, administrative supervisor. Kaleikini and Agbayani shared information with participants about the different types of sustainable energy available in on Hawai‘i Island including solar, wind, ocean thermal, hydro power and geothermal. They explained how geothermal heat and steam is converted into electricity, why it’s important, and why it is considered to be the most reliable alternate renewable energy source. Camp participants also received information on what types of career opportunities are available including scientists, geologists, engineers, operators, and administrators.

School classroom outreach programs will begin later this year. The outreach component of the gift takes components of the summer camp on sustainability and will engage students in grades 5-12 from select Puna-area schools. Outreach kits will focus on geothermal and other sustainable energies and ‘Imiloa staff will bring hands-on learning into classrooms using hydrodynamic kit models to engage students in related engineering concepts.

For more information on how you can support the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, please call Nico Verissimo at (808) 969-9732 or nverissimo@imiloahawaii.org

To view more photos and videos from the camp, please visit: