Author: Kara Koenig
Friday June 17th, 6am. The girls and I were wide-awake and ready to go for our first day of work at NOAA’s Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center (IRC). The morning started off a bit slow, as we needed to acquire our IDs in order to gain access onto Ford Island military base, where the IRC is located. The IRC building itself is stunning; within the building there is a significant historical relevance well preserved from the WWII era. The building itself was constructed around two WWII era aircraft hangers, and is also LEED certified. The building's atrium is like a museum and certainly creates an inspirational setting to work in.
The rest of our first day involved settling into our individual office spaces, and meeting numerous NOAA employees in our division of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) including our team leads. Over the summer and continuing on into next year each group member was assigned to a specific team under PIFSC’s Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CREP). I personally am on the Ocean Acidification and Climate Change (OCC) team, and the other main teams include the Benthic, Fish, and Ecospatial Information teams. It was thrilling to finally meet these individuals in person who we have been in contact with over the phone since April!
After our first day at work, we mastered the public transit bus system home, which we now take to and from work every day. Our first weekend primarily involved unpacking and settling into our apartments, so we were ready to go for our first full week at work. Coming into our first week was slightly abnormal because most of the employees in our division were attending and/or presenting at the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) being held in downtown Honolulu, how amazing! Shannon was fortunate enough to attend the conference for three days last week, and she will go into further detail about that in the next blog. Last week we had numerous meetings with the Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO) to discuss all matters related to the marine national monuments they manage in the Pacific, the structure of PIRO, and the management plan that will be created for the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
Following our first full week, we thought it was the perfect time to finally explore the island. Shannon went up to the North Shore with some friends she knew from previous research experience who were in town for ICRS. Meanwhile, Monique, Erin, and I visited the beautiful windward beach town of Kailua! While in Kailua the girls and I hiked up to the Lanikai Pillboxes and the views were absolutely breathtaking. Having a bird’s eye view of the corals off Lanikai Beach was a site I’ll never forget.
Now almost through our second week of work, we are moving full speed ahead! The girls and I are progressing in terms of data analysis for each of our teams and have a great grasp of what our objectives are. We cannot wait to see how the summer unfolds, and look forward to working hard during the week and enjoying all of our time to the fullest on the gorgeous island of Oahu!