The Puʻu Makaʻala Field Course is a year-long program launching in Fall 2020 with Advanced Placement Biology & Environmental Science high school seniors/juniors at Hilo High School. During this program, students learn about Puʻu Makaʻala ecology, natural history, and cultural geography. At Puʻu Makaʻala, students are exposed to the methods of data collection and the infrastructure of large-scale ecosystem monitoring. Students are tasked with developing their questions further and collecting in situ data in order to develop their own science questions that will guide research activities for a final project and presentation. Students engage in the Hawaiian practice of kilo (‘careful observation’) to collect phenological data. Participants receive mentorship on how to use NEON data for addressing their own science questions, including how to statistically analyze ecological data. At the end of the academic school year, students present their research to the class.