Friends of NELHA debuts new Monday Inspiring Innovation tour

KEAHOLE-KONA, HAWAI‘I ISLAND— The non-profit Friends of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (FON) offers a new public tour on Mondays at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology (HOST) Park.

The tour joins FON’s lineup of informative weekday tours that include Ocean Conservation on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Sustainable Aquaculture on Wednesdays and Fridays. All of the 10 a.m. tours share how cutting-edge enterprises use a dual-temperature system of nutrient-rich seawater and sunshine to produce products.

During the new Inspiring Innovation tour, guests visit the West Hawaii Explorations Academy (WHEA), the ESPEC greenhouse inside HOST’s Hale Iako business incubator and the outdoor Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) Tower—the world’s largest operational OTEC power plant. The tour starts with a HOST presentation at the Platinum LEED-certified Gateway Visitor Center before continuing to the nearby charter school campus.

At WHEA, students share how their curriculum is led by science inquiry and project-based learning. The school provides learning opportunities through integrative, hands-on, self-selected projects related to authentic real-world problems.

“Visitors will enjoy the personalized touch as they converse with our students, in a relaxed atmosphere, and discover projects that may include aquaponics, hydroponics, shark tank, reef tank, touch tank, octopus tank, public aquariums, clown fish, deep sea, 3D printer and robotics,” shares Heather Nakakura, WHEA director.

Book tours online and find more details at or phone 808-329-8073.

Friends of NELHA (FON) is a nonprofit, conservation education organization offering public tours with a focus on renewable energy, sustainability, sustainable aquaculture and the uniqueness of the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park at Keahole Point. Presentations begin 10 a.m. weekdays at the Gateway Visitor Center, a mesmerizing location where visitors are inspired by the technologies being developed on Hawai‘i Island. Tours are offered Monday through Friday (excluding holidays).