Learn With Our Explorers on a Series of Expeditions in Hawai‘i

With a long tradition of open-ocean navigation and specialized skills to survive on remote islands, Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) have a deep connection to and understanding of the land and the sea.

In the spirit of this tradition, National Geographic Explorers, including Kānaka Maoli, are embarking on expeditions driven by ocean conservation and exploration and informed by traditional Hawaiian knowledge.

The expedition logo includes a three-part design representing, from bottom, papahulihonua, or the essence and study of the earth and ocean; sacred, star-marking stone uprights known as heiau; and the constellation Pleiades, or makali’i in Hawaiian tradition (Kuha’o Zane)

Educators, Scientists, and Storytellers Unite for a Unique Collaboration

We invite you to follow along with National Geographic Society/Ocean Exploration Trust (NGS/OET) expedition teams as they study the biodiversity, marine environment, and maritime heritage of Hawaiʻi from the Exploration Vessel Nautilus. Using scuba diving, snorkeling, and small-boat surveys to conduct research projects using cutting-edge technologies and citizen science techniques, each expedition will include two project teams focused on understanding different aspects of the archipelago’s unique resources. A Kānaka Maoli collaborator will share knowledge and context with the teams onboard each expedition, and an Indigenous Data Sovereignty team will collaborate with the expedition teams to ensure all data is shared with Indigenous partners.

Learn more about each expedition team here:

Marine Mammals: Using cutting-edge technology to study underwater soundscapes and cetacean communication
Joining expedition 1 (Sept. 15-29)

Sharks: Quantifying shark and ray diversity and abundance to inform policy and management
Joining expeditions 1 (Sept. 15-29) and 2 (Oct. 1-8)

Microplastics: Mapping microplastics and microfiber using techniques from marine and forensic science
Joining expeditions 2 (Oct. 1-8) and 3 (Oct. 10-24)

Maritime Heritage: Creating virtual 3D models of key cultural heritage sites in Maui and Lānaʻi
Joining expedition 3 (Oct 10-24)

Connect Your Learners With National Geographic Explorers

Ignite the spirit of exploration as your explorers learn from ours. Explorers are engineers, scientists, educators, storytellers, navigators, and more. People from around the world can meet the Explorers on the NGS/OET expeditions and learn from their teams through live, virtual events and online learning resources, created for both formal and informal educational settings.

The first step for getting involved is to preview our offerings, which align with inquiry-based learning, the Ocean Literacy Framework, Next Generation Science Standards, Sustainable Development Goals, and other standards. Then, choose meaningful experiences for your learners to discover the excitement of ocean exploration.

Virtual Events

Explorer Classroom

Explorer Classroom is a free, live, interactive session that connects learners with National Geographic Explorers for short lessons and Q and As. After the featured Explorer’s lesson, your students will have a chance to ask their questions and receive answers in real time! Between September 28 and October 19, the teams of Explorers participating in the NGS/OET expeditions will be sharing their work live from the Nautilus, on marine mammal communication and soundscapes, resident shark populations, microplastic pollution, and maritime heritage.

There are two ways to participate in the virtual events, as a featured class on screen or by watching live on YouTube. If space is available, you may request to be a featured class during the registration process. This opportunity is best suited for learners ages 9-14, in any educational setting. A recording of each event will be available to watch on demand on our YouTube channel if your students cannot attend live. See the event schedule below!

Register for more than one event in the series for a chance to win a special prize for your classroom!

Underwater Soundscapes | Ocean Exploration Trust Expedition: Marine Mammal Team
Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. ET | Ages 9-14

Hawaiʻi’s Sharks 101 | Ocean Exploration Trust Expedition: Shark Team
Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. ET | Ages 9-14

CSI for the Ocean | Ocean Exploration Trust Expedition: Microplastics Team
Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. ET | Ages 9-14

Shipwrecks and Sunken Aircraft | Ocean Exploration Trust Expedition: Maritime Heritage Team
Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. ET | Ages 9-14

Live Events: Project Panels

Hosted live onboard the OET’s ship E/V Nautilus, these online events connect learners of all ages around the world with National Geographic Explorers discussing their fieldwork. Tune into Project Panels on themes from shark biomimicry to human impacts on the ocean via plastics and shipwrecks. The events will be previewed here and will be viewable within the site and on Facebook and YouTube. No registration is needed.

Online Educational Resources

The Ocean Exploration Trust and E/V Nautilus, shown near the Hawaiian Islands, are currently based in the central Pacific Ocean and have explored waters around the world, including the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico (Ocean Exploration Trust)
Explorer Mindset in Action

Cultivate the Explorer Mindset that is within all of us and equip learners with the attitudes, skills, and knowledge to take action in their homes, schools, and communities. Share the new interactive guide Explorer Mindset in Action with your students to take them on a learning journey with our Explorers that sparks curiosity, builds empathy, and empowers all learners to take action. See the Explorer Mindset in Action | Educator Guide here.

An Educator and Family Guide to the Ocean

Explore this guide for different ways to read, watch, play, and learn about the ocean.

Resource Library

Search for free teaching and learning resources about the ocean and ocean exploration.

Education Resources | Nautilus Live

Browse a suite of free STEAM educational resources in English, Spanish, and ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, including activities and guides designed by educators highlighting the excitement of discovery and people at the forefront of ocean exploration.

Share Your Experience

We would love to hear how you and your learners choose to engage with the Explorers and project teams on the expeditions. What events and resources interest you? What are you curious about? How might you incorporate the programming into your curriculum?

Society social media

Facebook: @InsideNatGeo
Twitter: @InsideNatGeo 
Instagram: @InsideNatGeo

OET social media

Facebook: @NautilusLive
Twitter: @EVNautilus
Instagram: @NautilusLive
TikTok: @nautiluslive
YouTube: EVNautilus
LinkedIn: Ocean Exploration Trust

In the lead-up to the expeditions and in the months following, members of the project teams will be sharing more resources and ways to get involved. Be sure to check the Education Blog, Twitter, and Facebook for the latest updates.

As the project teams and E/V Nautilus visit the Hawaiian Islands, they gratefully acknowledge generations of Indigenous Hawaiians and today’s stewards of these waters. It is a privilege to visit and learn from these islands as guests.

Featured image: Exploration Vessel Nautilus is seen from a drone launched from the ship while sailing in the central Pacific Ocean near the Hawaiian Islands (Ocean Exploration Trust)

Additional photo credits: Brian J. Skerry, Paul Nicklen, Martina Capriotti, and Claire Fackler/NOAA

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