Moanalua Gardens Foundation
Cultural and Environmental Education in Hawaii
1352 Pineapple Place, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819-1754
Phone: (808) 839-5334; Fax (808) 839-3658


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Award Winning Project for 2006-2007

Kawaiahao Church

Project Aloha Aina

In 2006, this small but innovative school launched Project Aloha Aina, a sustainability project involving the entire student body of 125 students aged 3 to 12, 21 faculty and administrators, and students’ families. Collectively they made a commitment to malama their school, their island home and the planet.

The first phase was to create an outdoor garden environment using 85 to 90 percent of native Hawaiian plants in the landscape. The area is being used as an outdoor classroom where students are taught how to protect and preserve our aina and to care for planet Earth. They also learn the importance of being good stewards while also learning cultural stewardship practices through hands-on experiences.

In 2007, phase two of Project Aloha Aina began, this time focusing on recycling. Through their recycle, reduce and reuse program, the students of Kawaiahao Church School collected recyclable materials starting first at home, then branching out into our communities and businesses. As part of this program, keiki spread the message of Aloha Aina and reinforced the importance of recycling. They even built large recycle receptacles to store ink cartridges, plastics and cans.

Additionally, students use the school newsletter to provide “green” tips for families on how to help our planet.

To promote environmental awareness and harmful use of chemicals, Kawaiahao’s Elementary Class developed their own environmentally-friendly, non toxic cleaning products with the help of parents and teachers. Their first product, an all-purpose cleaner using natural ingredients, will be marketed to the Kawaiahao ohana. The students also designed their own labeling and packaging for the product.

The final phase of the project was started in November 2007. Kawaiahao’s keiki sold 1,500 reusable grocery bags in our communities. This program was so successful that another 1,500 bags were purchased to sell as a fundraiser. Proceeds from the sale of the bags will be used to drill and construct a water well in Niger, Africa to provide clean water for the people in Azawak, one of the poorest regions in the county. In this area, 500,000 men, women and children live without rain and water for nine months out of a year.

Award Winning Project for 2005-2006

Kilohana Elementary School

Mauka to Makai Project

During the 2005-2006 school year, the entire 98 member student body in grades K-6 at Kilohana Elementary School, located on the eastern end of Molokai, participated in science-based research projects on different aspects of soil erosion and conservation. Each grade came up with a thesis question and experiment, collected data and formed the results which the school presented as a culminating activity in a Community Family Night complete with a soil expert as a guest speaker. Each grade level had a display of their work, and representatives who stood by in support of the displays to answer questions from attendees. All participants in the Community Family Night came away with a greater appreciation for the causes of, and possible solutions to, soil erosion, a big problem on the island of Molokai.

In addition, Shona Pineda, a fourth grade teacher at Kilohana Elementary, was honored by Moanalua Gardens Foundation with the Pookela Award. The Moanalua Gardens Foundation's Pookela Award honors a Partners in Education Program teacher for outstanding commitment to educating their students about Hawaii's culture and environment. Both awards were presented at Moanalua Gardens Foundation's Annual Meeting in March of 2007.

Award Winning Project for 2002-2003

Ke Kula o Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School

Malama Aina - Malama Kai

During the fall of 2001, Ke Kula o Samuel M. Kamakau (a K-12 Hawaiian language immersion charter school now located at Camp Kokokahi in Kaneohe) decided to adopt and care for the sacred wahi pana, Alala Point (also known as Lanikai Point). The project began as and continues to be a partnership with the inmates of the Women's Community Correctional Center, who did the initial clearing and continue to maintain the site through weed whacking twice a month.

The school secured a grant from the Kailua Bay Advisory Council to fund transporation to the site on a weekly basis, tools, signage, and other supplies needed for the project. The school formalized an adopt-a-park agreement with the City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation. The school began work on clearing invasive alien species and replaced them with native plants such as aweoweo, pohinahina, naio, ilima papa, maia pilo, mao, ohai, milo, kou, ihi molokini, and kului.

The school installed a drip irrigation system, conducted a controlled scientific experiment to assess weed control, created engraved natural rock signs, hosted a second grade class from Lanikai Elementary for a tour of three student learning stations, created a photo exhibit with interpretive essays, produced video interviews and project coverage for "Navigating Change" (produced collaboratively with the Polynesian Voyaging Society, U.S. Fish & wildlife Service, and other agencies), and nearshore marine studies and learning trips to Popoia Island. The school has received positive feedback from the nearby communities as well as overseas visitors to Oahu.

Molokai High and Intermediate Environmental Club was the runner up for 2002-2003. The school received a $250 cash award and a certificate of achievement for eradicating invasive introduced plants on Molokai and raising native Hawaiian plants.

2002: Hawaii Needs Care Award
Makaha Elementary School's Na Imi Wai Program

Representatives from the Na Imi Wai Program received their award at MGF's annual meeting held March 16, 2002. Johnathan Deenik, Na Imi Wai program coordinator is second from left.

Na Imi Wai is a culturally based after school environmental education program involving 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from Makaha Elementary School. The program is designed to teach students about water in their community and ahupuaa.

Through a partnership with the Board of Water Supply, students monitor rainfall and stream water quality in the back of Makaha Valley. The data is being used as baseline data in a stream flow monitoring project developed jointly by a community group, Mohala i ka Wai, and the Board of Water Supply. Students from the Hawaiian Studies Center at Waianae High School act as mentors to the elementary students. Na Imi Wai has created an award-winning video about their project that airs on Olelo TV.

Partners in the program include Hoa Aina O Makaha, Makaha Elementary School, Queen Liliuokalani Children's Center, Kaala Farm, Waianae High School Hawaiian Studies Program, the Board of Water Supply, and Olelo Television Corporation.

1999: Pearl City Highlands Elementary School
Pearl City Highlands Elementary School grade 4 students were the winners of the 1999 Hawaii Needs Care Award for their project "Hawaii's Precious Animals--Na Holoholona Makamae o Hawaii." Upon learning about the plight of endangered native Hawaiian animals, students conducted research, wrote original stories, poems and fact sheets, skillfully illustrated the stories and published a book. The stories are entertaining and informative, explaining the challenges endangered animals face from alien species and the careless acts of humans. Each story has a moral and the unifying message is to care about endangered animals and the environment. The fourth graders shared their stories with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades at their school in the form of plays. The book was displayed at their school and the community library; the project was a feature story in the Honolulu Advertiser; the Honolulu City Council presented them with a certificate of recognition; and the University of Hawaii asked for and accepted the book into their collections.

1998: Kualapuu School
Kualapuu School grade 5 and 6 students were the winners of the 1998 Hawaii Needs Care Award. Thier project, Promote Resolutions with Integrity for a Sustainable Molokai (PRISM), demonstrates their commitment to caring for their island environment. Students conducted research on water and land use, habitat protection, resource management, energy, waste management and other issues concerning their island's future. Students visited sites, interviewed community members, and organized their data to present in a public symposium. Students have developed and implemented action plans based on the data they collected. One community elder who attended the symposium commented that she could die happy knowing the future of her beloved island was in the hands of caring and committed kids! Congratulations to these hard working Molokai students!

1997: Pearl City Highlands School
Pearl City Highlands School 4th grade classes won the 1997 Hawaii Needs Care Contest. These industrious students conducted a major recycling project to raise money for mass producing minimum catch size rulers. These rulers have measurements for the minimum size to harvest various marine animals. Students cut, measured, illustrated and laminated more than 200 rulers. They wrote letters to fishing supply stores and to key people in the community including the governor and the mayor.  Students mailed their rulers to fishing supply stores all over Oahu. A number of stores called back and placed an order for more rulers to give to their customers. In the students' words, they decided " distribute rulers to businesses so that the baby fishes and other marine animals could multiply and replenish in the ocean." Congratulations to Pearl City Highlands for a job well done!

1996: Aikahi Elementary School
The 1996 award went to Aikahi Elementary School for students' work in exploring the natural and cultural history of the ahupuaa of Kailua. Each grade level focused on a different part of the environment. Student projects included water quality testing, creating a Hawaiian rainforest in the classroom, participating in a worldwide environmental education project over the Internet, writing letters to government officials and a recycling project. Congratulations to the teachers and students at Aikahi!

1995: Kau High and Pahala Elementary
In 1995 the students of Kau High and Pahala Elementary schools teamed up for an award-winning project developing a community/school garden and creating 10 backyard gardens for elders in the community. The students' project included developing compost bins to recycle yard waste and indoor recycling bins for aluminum cans. Students created a healthy eco-garden display, created products with recycled materials and sponsored their own environmental contests. Great job Kau and Pahala!

1994: Heeia Elementary School
Heeia Elementary School adopted a beach park and won the award in 1994. Students propagated native plants at school, developed a compost bin on their school grounds, and worked with the community to restore a beach park. They hauled out many bags of trash from the site and then replanted the area using their school compost and the native plants they nurtured at school. What started off as grade 5 project expanded to include the entire school as well as families of students. Mahalo and congratulations to Heeia!

1993: Kapalama Elementary School
The Hawaii Needs Care award was bestowed upon Kapalama Elementary School in 1993. Grades 4, 5 and 6 worked closely with Moanalua Gardens Foundation to learn about Hawaiian geology, water supply, native plants and animals and human changes to the environment. Students participated in a number of bus tours and hikes to learn more about their environment and Hawaiian culture.  They also became involved in recycling and conservation and studied alternative energy sources. At the end of the school year, these hard-working students had a deep understanding of the Hawaiian environment and why it needs care!  Congratulations to Kapalama!

Support MGF

Hawaii Needs Care Contest

Taking Action

Forest Treasures

a selection of out-of-print lessons

(c) All rights reserved.
revised 3 April 2008
Hawaiian diacriticals have been intentionally omitted.