Environmental Education Program
The purpose of the environmental education program is to teach our local youth about agriculture while simultaneously creating a connection to place, the community, ‘aina, and culture.
The intent of our Environmental Education program at AHK is to carry out that which we state in our mission- to foster a bright future where economic vibrancy and sustainability are living models without compromising the quality of life. We want to not only create connections between the agricultural park and the student’s curriculum but also create a connection with the fruitful land in their backyard. By doing so, the students not only learn the science behind agriculture but become stewards of this place. Thus far, we have worked with Kaua’i High School, Kapa’a High School, Waimea High School, various homeschool groups, and Kīlauea School. We intend to work collaboratively with each school group, formatting their field trip to reflect their school curriculum, creating an even more enrichening experience. In addition, we have two options for field trip programs. Program 1 is intended to be a one-time-only field trip where students will learn about the history and geology of the agricultural park and Kilauea town, what is grown seasonally, and how the garden helps the community. Students may also have the opportunity to weed, propagate, and harvest, depending on time. Program 2 is recommended and intended to support continual learning. Participating in Program 2 offers the opportunity for 2-4 field trips during the course of the year. In addition to all that Program 1 offers, Program 2 will ensure that students are provided the opportunity to weed, propagate, and harvest in the garden. Program 2 also affords the ability to learn more about soil health, composting, and green energy efforts happening in Kilauea.
Currently, we are working collaboratively with the community to develop a strategic program for students at Kīlauea School to explore, understand, and appreciate their entire ahupua’a. We are in the development phases of working with the 2nd-grade classes at Kīlauea School. They will be coming to the Kīlauea Community Agriculture Center once every quarter and our staff will be visiting them twice throughout the year. The 2nd-grade science curriculum focuses heavily on the plant growth cycle, soil nutrients, composting, etc., making our site the ideal location and conveniently located in their backyard. Throughout their trips here, they will learn about the rich history of the land, the geology of Kīlauea and the related ahupua’a, propagation, harvesting, and composting. Throughout the year, they will be growing a variety of plants in their garden boxes at Kīlauea school and at KCAC. They will also practice a kilo (observations with all their senses over time) each time they visit KCAC and will record the changes they see over their year.
In addition to our field trip programs, we just recently got our licensing to be able to sell products directly to the schools. ‘Aina Pono, the Hawai’i Department of Education’s Farm to School Program, is pioneering the farm to school initiative that allows our organization to provide fresh, local food for school breakfast, lunch, and snack programs. This program directly reflects our mission to become more food resilient while also teaching youth about the benefits of fresh, nutritious food. We are proud to be the first organization in the state of Hawai’i to be permitted to sell produce directly to schools and look forward to the educational opportunities that it provides.
1. Create a sense of connection and kuleana (responsibility) to place
2. Create a connection to the local community
3. Reinforce learning objectives in correlation to individual class curriculum
4. Allow students to participate in hands-on learning
5. Develop the opportunity for students to explore different career opportunities
6. Cultivate Kilauea contributors caring for our home