UH Hilo students named Heroes of the Week by American Cetacean Society Student Coalition

UH Hilo’s American Cetacean Society Student Coalition and the chapter’s co-presidents, Michaela Setzer and Kaitlyn Kush, were named ACS Ocean Heroes of the Week.

college: boat at sea, two students, group of school children at marine science booth
(Top right ) Michaela Setzer and (bottom left) Kaitlyn Kush. (Bottom right) Schoolchildren visit UH Hilo’s American Cetacean Society booth at a Campus Center Plaza event. Via Instagram

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo “American Cetacean Society Student Coalition” and the chapter’s co-presidents, Michaela Setzer and Kaitlyn Kush, were named as the ACS Ocean Heroes of the Week.

From the American Cetacean Society Instagram, Jan. 9, 2019:

It’s our pleasure to introduce you to the ACS University of Hawaii-Hilo ACS Student Coalition and their co-presidents, Michaela Setze [sic] and Kaitlyn Kush- our ACS Ocean Heroes of the week!

The American Cetacean Society Student Coalition-ACSSC is the student arm of the American Cetacean Society (ACS) and is a community of future researchers, policy makers, conservationists, and enthusiasts committed to bettering the marine environment and lives of cetaceans.

ACS University of Hawaii-Hilo (ACS-UHH) takes advantage of its unique location and rich marine environment and ACS UHH focuses on a plethora of issues in their community education. They attend campus events to educate their peers about coral safe sunscreen, climate change, Hawaiian humpback whales, other local cetaceans, and respectful viewing of endangered monk seals.

The group also regularly organizes beach clean ups including the infamous beaches on the Southern end of the island. Sadly, these beaches in the southern part of the island are famous for tragic reasons, they have been featured in documentaries for their gruesome level of debris collecting on the shores.

Similar to the ACS UH Manoa group on Oahu, the ACS UHH members also participate in the yearly Ocean Count held through the NOAA Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. This involves contributing to annual shore-based monitoring census by counting humpback whales that migrate to Hawaii from January-March. Their members learn about humpback whale behavior, contribute to ongoing data collection, and promote awareness about humpback whales to ensure their health in the future. The group also partners with their university to take their members out for an exclusive whale watch every winter during humpback whale season!

Michaela and Kaitlyn are the acting ACS-UHH presidents and study marine biology and oceanography at the university! In addition to being a busy college students and leading the ACS Student Coalition group, they are also active members of their community advocating for the ocean and participating in marine research! Check out this post to see Michaela and Kaitlyn and the ACS-UH Manoa group in action on campus, cleaning up beaches, in the field, and at the #ACS2018 International Conference.

We are so proud to have awesome folks like Michaela and Kaitlyn as part of the ACS “pod” who are stewards for the ocean and who dedicate their lives to educating others about conserving cetaceans and their habitats! Stay tuned each week to learn about another ACS Cetacean Advocate!

April 3, 2019, Correction: The spelling of the students’ names in the subtitle and photo caption have been corrected to Michaela Setzer and Kaitlyn Kush, and noted as misspelled in the American Cetacean Society Instagram post.