Hands-on open house: PTA hosts public at base

  • Kids got a look at the workings of Pohakuloa Training Area on Thursday during the Experience PTA event. (Courtesy photos/Pohakuloa Training Area)

  • A boy feels the pressure of a fire hose Thursday at Pohakuloa Training Area during the Experience PTA event.. (Courtesy photo/Pohakuloa Training Area)

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA — Pohakuloa Training Area opened its doors to the public during its annual open house on Thursday. The event entertained more than 500 students and guests of all ages.

“Mahalo to everyone who came out and supported Experience PTA Day,” said Lt. Col. JR Borce, commander, Pohakuloa Training Area. “The event was a unique opportunity for the community to see PTA firsthand and see some of the amazing work being done here every day.”

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Students from six Hawaii Island public, private, charter and home schools made the trek up to PTA for the event.

When asked what his favorite part of the day was, 11-year-old Robert from Connections Public Charter School in Hilo said the Army equipment, especially the howitzer, which was on display by the Army’s 25th Infantry Division Artillery Brigade.

Engaging exhibits, games and activities provided visitors of all ages an opportunity to learn about and truly Experience PTA.

“We came to PTA today to learn about the Earth as we’re currently learning about Earth Day. The students also like coming to see the base firsthand,” said Alyssa Graham, third through fifth-grade teacher at Mauna Loa School.

PTA’s Natural Resources team showcased its management of threatened and endangered species with interactive displays and games.

The Cultural Resources team showed how it manages and preserves cultural resources by taking visitors through a virtual lava tube habitation site tour, where they could also make their own petroglyph.

Other informative and educational displays from PTA’s staff added to the experience, to include PTA’s Fire and Emergency Services with their fire equipment, and its leading recycling program, that diverts 60 percent of refuse from Hawaii Island.

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“The diversity among the schools who attended this year’s event surpassed last year’s gathering,” explained Greg Fleming, deputy commander, PTA. “When you have students from K-8, high school and college level or beyond, you have to have something for everyone’s interest.”

Community partners, local business and organizations also joined PTA’s exhibitors to include: Hawaii Electric Light; Hawaii Police Department; SHARK Rocket Club; Blue Planet Research; the W.M. Keck and Canada-France-Hawaii observatories; and more.

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