Reading the Ethic of the Landscape
Photo: Discussion of the preliminary land stewardship plan in the Umikoa Village Hall at Kukai‘au Ranch. On the right are the MSU design team, to the left are Matt Hamabata of The Kohala Center (TKC), ranch owners Josephine and David de Luz Sr., Bob Sporledor of Kukai‘au Ranch, Betsy Cole of TKC, Nancy Redfeather of TKC, and Gerry Redfeather.
Six graduate architecture students and six business school students at Montana State University (MSU) have been working diligently for the past several months on a plan to sustain, diversify, and conserve Kukai‘au Ranch. Kukai‘au is a 10,000+-acre ranch located in Pa‘auilo on the Hamakua Coast of Hawai‘i Island. The ranch currently supplies grass finished beef for local consumption, and the landowners approached The Kohala Center (TKC) in May 2008 to help them think through possible educational and research programs that would enhance current ranch operations and to develop a stewardship plan for the Kukai‘au lands. TKC engaged MSU Architecture Professor John Brittingham and Myleen Leary, a professor in the MSU Business School, to work with their students to create a preliminary plan for the transformation of the ranch. TKC has successfully partnered with MSU on other island-based conservation development plans over the past few years.
The MSU design team, led by Professors Brittingham and Leary, visited the ranch in January 2009 to present their preliminary design to the owners, the DeLuz family. The MSU design draws its inspiration from a contemporary vision of the Hawaiian ahupua‘a (land division), in which the ranch contains all of the resources necessary to sustain itself—when combined with the land management knowledge of local, state, national, and international organizations. The MSU plan hinges on the value of shared intellectual capital, which provides the foundation for creating diversified, balanced, and sustainable operations. The plan includes a business analysis of how to transform Kukai‘au Ranch into a more self-reliant entity by incorporating cattle, agriculture, native forest reforestation, carbon sequestration tax advantages, energy (including wind, hydro, and solar), water resource management, conservation easements, a not-for-profit research institute, education and outreach, historic preservation and resultant tax advantages, stewardship of place, land restoration, and on-site housing.
Photo: Steven Alfonso from Kukai‘au Ranch studies the proposed conservation plan for the ranch.
The Kohala Center and MSU are hopeful that the Kukai‘au Ranch plan can serve as a sustainable model for other island ranches, in which the revitalization of one ahupua‘a cross-pollinates to other ahupua‘a across the island.
Utilizing the diverse resources the land offers is a direct rendering of the ethic of the landscape; each layer holds the potential to produce unique products and resources. Through the cultivation of Kukai‘au’s diverse micro-climates, a concept built on self-sustainability will be disseminated across the island of Hawai‘i.
—MSU Preliminary Design Plan
Read more on the back page about the elements of the MSU design plan.
Giving Breath to the Forest
Photo: Volunteer work crew walking to a planting site at Luahine Gulch.
Our project involves collecting thousands of native seeds from Kohala Mountain, growing them in a tree nursery, then planting them here when they are big enough to survive. In order to create the best habitat for the native trees, we are also clearing out weeds from the gulches. Visit the native plants and give them your aloha. Learn about them. Give breath to their names and tell their stories.
—Melora Purell, KWP Coordinator
The Kohala Watershed Partnership (KWP) invites community volunteers to plant native trees on Kohala Mountain, as part of the Koai‘a Corridor Restoration Project. Upcoming volunteer work days are on Saturdays, March 21, April 18, and May 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Adults and children are welcome to participate. Tools, gloves, and transportation to the work site are provided.
The goal of this project is to restore the native forest along a two-mile corridor of land between Waiakamali Stream and Luahine Stream, between Kohala Mountain Road and Pu‘u o ‘Umi Natural Area Reserve. The makai (coastal) section of this tract receives only 30 inches of rain per year, but the mauka (upcountry) part records almost 150 inches. Because this area spans such a large rainfall gradient, over 50 species of native plants survive here.
The Koai‘a Corridor Restoration Project is coordinated by the staff of the Kohala Watershed Partnership, a coalition of land owners who have combined their efforts to conserve the watershed in cooperation with The Kohala Center, local schools, and community groups. The State Natural Area Reserve team is also working with adjacent landowners and lessees of State land to install a fence to keep out cattle and to plant trees.
Learn more about the work of KWP.
Frameworks for Success in Science
Photo: Second grade students at Kaumana Elementary School sort and classify rocks, then measure, observe, and record their data as part of a new unit on materials of the Earth. The science unit was developed by Pascale Pinner in partnership with teacher Noelani Spencer.
It has been my long-term dream to help my colleagues at the elementary level integrate science into their curriculum. Creating an opportunity for elementary teachers to become immersed in not only the content, but also the inquiry skills used by scientists, is so important. If students have positive experiences doing science throughout their elementary years, the more abstract and difficult concepts of science will not intimidate them, and they will soar forward in math and science well into high school and college. —Pascale Creek Pinner, Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year
A new science test was part of the battery of tests administered to public school students across the state for the first time in 2008. Many Hawai‘i Island schools did not meet State standards in science testing last year, and thus administrators and teachers at these schools are now focused on improving test scores. In fall 2008 The Kohala Center was approached to partner with elementary schools in Hilo in an innovative Math Science Partnership program starting in March 2009. The Frameworks for Success in Science will receive nearly $500,000 in grant funds over the next three years to bolster science education at six elementary schools in the Hilo School Complex.
Photo: Pascale Pinner (left) works with Hilo Complex teachers on a science lesson dealing with collections of living things (shells), mathematics (data analysis, multiplication, and problem solving), and language arts (writing a classification system with examples and non-examples of shells from the mollusca species).
This collaborative effort is being spearheaded by Pascale Creek Pinner, a recognized leader in science education and a faculty member at Hilo Intermediate School. The Frameworks Project will bring resources and faculty from The Kohala Center, UH Hilo, the Aims Education Foundation, as well as DOE curriculum specialists, together to work with complex elementary teachers on improving science education in their classrooms. These partners share a common vision of bolstering science education for island youth. The Kohala Center was founded on the premise of creating greater educational opportunities for island youth – since they are our future leaders. Imua! (Forward!)
A New View of Home
Photo: Maryam Palma (right) and Valeria Madrigal working on the beach at Cabo Blanco National Park in Costa Rica. The girls were collecting sand and pebbles in order to make cement to rebuild trails within the park.
When I was younger, I felt that just because I lived in this magnificent place, I knew it all. In reality, it is quite the opposite. It is by going out physically experiencing places that I begin to truly understand the beauty of it all. With the help of this program I hope to further my understanding of this island and all its characteristics that seem to connect to each other, one way or another. —Maryam Palma, senior at Saint Joseph High School and BELL Hawai‘i scholarship recipient
Over the past five years The Kohala Center has partnered with Brown University’s Environmental Leadership Lab to host the BELL Hawai‘i Program. From April 4–11, 2009, thirty students from across the nation will explore the diverse natural and cultural environments of Hawai‘i Island. Two island students will join this group, mingling with talented high school students from across the country and around the world. Elai Dankner, a junior at West Hawai‘i Explorations Academy, and Maryam Palma, a senior at Saint Joseph High School have been selected as the 2009 BELL Hawai‘i scholarship recipients. The generous support of the Earl E. Bakken Science and Engineering Scholarship Award will help to offset their tuition and expenses.
Photo: Elai Dankner with his surfboard on the North Shore of O‘ahu.
Feedback from previous scholarship recipients has been overwhelmingly positive: they report that their participation in these programs has opened their eyes to new friends, new knowledge, and new possibilities. They have returned to their schools full of enthusiasm for learning, for sharing their new insights with their peers, and for their future careers.
BELL Hawai‘i enables students on our island to participate in a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet like-minded people from around the country and experience a type of education that cannot be found in the classroom. Not only will they be learning about our environment and culture, but also about teamwork, expeditionary living, leadership, and respect for their environment and others around them. I am always impressed by the caliber of the students that this program attracts and I encourage more island students to apply! —Samantha Birch, TKC Program Services Coordinator
A Footing in His Field
Photo: Kamana Beamer, Mellon-Hawai‘i Postdoctoral Fellow.
The Mellon-Hawai‘i Postdoctoral Fellowship has been one of the most positive experiences of my life. I am so honored to be in the inaugural class of recipients alongside such great Hawaiians and accomplished scholars. The Kohala Center has provided a setting for us that has been both supportive and academically engaging. The fellowship has allowed me to submit an article for publication and to be negotiating my book prospectus with an editor of an established university press. In May my mentor Dr. Jon Osorio and I will be attending the inaugural Post-Colonial Studies Conference in Ireland where I will be presenting a paper. I am confident that this fellowship will enable me to secure a footing in my field by having the time and resources to devote toward my research and publications. —Kamana Beamer, 2008–2009 Mellon-Hawai‘i Postdoctoral Fellow
Kamanamaikalani (Kamana) Beamer earned a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in May 2008. Kamana’s dissertation focused on native agency and European imperialism in the Hawaiian Kingdom. Kamana is a strong advocate for Hawaiian and indigenous rights, both in his personal and his professional life. Kamana plans to teach at the university level, and he hopes to work with graduate students on Hawaiian land claims. Kamana has a special interest in research that provides support to Hawaiian kalo (taro) farming communities, particularly research that identifies non-GMO (genetically modified organism) ways to counteract diseases such as "pocket rot" and "leaf-blight." Learn more about Kamana on the back page.
The Mellon-Hawai‘i Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program was established in 2008. Five Mellon-Hawai‘i fellows were selected on the basis of their leadership potential and their demonstrated commitment to the advancement of scholarship on Hawaiian cultural and natural environments, or Hawaiian history, politics, and society. This is the third in a series of articles profiling the first cohort of fellows.
Letting Students Lead the Way
Photo: Parker School’s Sustainable Garden in December 2008.
The Parker School garden is the realization of a vision that I had some 12 years ago. —Shelly Kaiyala, Parker School sustainability teacher
In fall 2008 Parker School teacher Shelly Kaiyala was awarded a grant of $12,000 from The Kohala Center to support a new sustainability program at the school. Kaiyala is the coordinator of the Parker After-School University (PAU), the elementary school’s afternoon education program. She and the afterschool students started the school’s organic garden in fall 2007, in the field behind the elementary school. Elementary school students and teachers soon joined in the project, planting, caring for, and harvesting a variety of items ranging from native Hawaiian plants to flowers to garden vegetables.The Kohala Center’s grant has allowed Kaiyala to expand the garden program school-wide. As part of the school-day curriculum, K-5 students are introduced to sustainable land practices, growing and eating healthy food, and the role of food in their community. Middle school students recently planted koa trees along the Waikoloa Stream, and they will be engaged in a community-wide riparian restoration project beginning later this year. High school students enrolled in Kaiyala’s new Sustainability class explore the interface between the sciences, observation, economics, nutrition, meaningful physical exercise, and ecological and sustainable growing methods - while they help to expand the garden to a scale where it can help to feed the larger community. Led by Kaiyala, Parker School students have designed, prepared, and planted a new 35-foot by 70-foot plot beside the elementary school. Students eat the harvest as part of their snack, or they take what they grow home to share with their families. “My ultimate goal is to supplement the school’s lunch program with healthy, home-grown options like soups, salads, and breads,” explains Kaiyala.
Photo: Parker School’s Sustainable Garden in January 2009.
Nancy Redfeather, Hawai‘i Island School Gardens Network Coordinator, couldn’t be more pleased. “At this time when the whole of society is rethinking the entire food system and its methods, let the students lead the way!” Read more about Parker School’s garden on the back page.
Students Talk Sustainability
Photo: Students learn how to make a compost pile on the HPA campus with Amanda Rieux (not shown) from Mala‘ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School.
We are encouraged by the positive feedback from students who attended the first Student Congress on Sustainability last summer and want to return for the second conference in June 2009. Again we are planning interesting speakers, exciting workshops, and excursions to some pretty unique island farms. We are thankful to the many people and organizations who support our mission and effort to build awareness among our high school students about this pressing issue. —Karen Yamasato, HPA Congress Organizer
Planning is underway for the second annual Student Congress on Sustainability at Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy (HPA) from June 11–14. Students and teachers from every high school on the island, as well as from neighbor island schools, have been invited to attend this free event. This year’s Congress will focus on local food and agriculture. Participants will take excursions to Volcano Island Honey, the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority, West Hawai‘i Explorations Academy, the Hawai‘i Island Seed Exchange, the ReefTeach project at Kahalu‘u Bay, Hawaiian Vanilla Company, the Chocolate Factory, Friendly Aquaponics in Honoka‘a, and to local farms.
Hands-on workshops include: “Local Food,” with Andrea Dean; “The Electric Car,” with Doug Teeple; “Energy Auditing,” with Alex Woodbury; “Dolphin Quest” and “Invasive Species and Tree Planting,” with Melora Purell.
Photo: Piper Selden, "The Worm Lady," from Hawai‘i Rainbow Worms teaches students how to use worm bins for composting household waste. On the left is Amy Eriksson, the CURIE 2008 scholarship recipient.
The Kohala Center is helping to organize this year’s Congress and will be hosting a workshop on coral reefs and their management. “Calculate your Ecological Finprint and Play a part in Reef Management!” will introduce participants to coral reefs in Hawai‘i, the threats that they face, and the different types of Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) here. Students will calculate their personal impact on the reef through the Ecological Finprint test, and discover the complex roles in reef management by playing their part in a reef management scenario.In order to keep this event free to participating schools, HPA Congress organizers welcome your support. If you would like to make a contribution, please contact Karen Yamasato via e-mail at email@example.com.
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