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A garden of Earth Day delights

<p>Chelsea Morriss waters newly planted u’ala with compost tea made from vermi-castings during last year’s Earth Day celebration at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. HPA will host its Second Annual Earth Day Family Celebration and Environmental Science Symposium from 8 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at the school’s Ulu Malama Terrace Farm, located at the upper campus. The event, which is free and open to the public, is presented in partnership with The Kohala Center’s Hawaii Island School Garden Network. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN)</p>

Chelsea Morriss waters newly planted u’ala with compost tea made from vermi-castings during last year’s Earth Day celebration at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. HPA will host its Second Annual Earth Day Family Celebration and Environmental Science Symposium from 8 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at the school’s Ulu Malama Terrace Farm, located at the upper campus. The event, which is free and open to the public, is presented in partnership with The Kohala Center’s Hawaii Island School Garden Network. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN)

<p>Hawaiian agricultural expert Ala Lindsey shows Alika Lincoln how to prepare u’ala for planting during last year’s Earth Day celebration at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN</p>

Hawaiian agricultural expert Ala Lindsey shows Alika Lincoln how to prepare u’ala for planting during last year’s Earth Day celebration at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN

Waimea Middle School's Malaai Culinary Garden will have a “Herb Gardening Basics” workshop at Mala’ai School Garden on April 20. Program Director Amanda Rieux will demonstrate how to grow both classic and traditional Hawaiian herbs. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WMS FOR NHN)
Waimea Middle School's Malaai Culinary Garden will have a “Herb Gardening Basics” workshop at Mala’ai School Garden on April 20. Program Director Amanda Rieux will demonstrate how to grow both classic and traditional Hawaiian herbs. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WMS FOR NHN)
<p>HPA’s Science Department Chair and agro-ecology teacher, Deighton Emmons, plants a tree with his class on the school’s Ulu Malama Terrace. (PHOTO BY LISA M. DAHM FOR NHN)</p>

HPA’s Science Department Chair and agro-ecology teacher, Deighton Emmons, plants a tree with his class on the school’s Ulu Malama Terrace. (PHOTO BY LISA M. DAHM FOR NHN)

<p>FROM THE COVER: HPA students plant a tree on their terrace. (PHOTO BY LISA M. DAHM FOR NHN)</p>

FROM THE COVER: HPA students plant a tree on their terrace. (PHOTO BY LISA M. DAHM FOR NHN)

<p>Students garden at West Hawaii Explorations Academy. WHEA students will presentation their research at the Second Annual Earth Day Family Celebration and Environmental Science Symposium, on Saturday, April 20 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HIGN FOR NHN)</p>

Students garden at West Hawaii Explorations Academy. WHEA students will presentation their research at the Second Annual Earth Day Family Celebration and Environmental Science Symposium, on Saturday, April 20 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HIGN FOR NHN)

<p>Honokaa agriculture students pose with teacher Manuel Jadulang at their school agriculture facilities.They will also present their research work at the science symposium. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HIGN FOR NHN)</p>

Honokaa agriculture students pose with teacher Manuel Jadulang at their school agriculture facilities.They will also present their research work at the science symposium. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HIGN FOR NHN)

<p>Parker Hall of Waimea enjoys fresh coconut milk during last year’s Earth Day celebration at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. HPA will host its Second Annual Earth Day Family Celebration and Environmental Science Symposium from 8 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at the school’s Ulu Malama Terrace Farm, located at the upper campus. The event, which is free and open to the public, is presented in partnership with The Kohala Center’s Hawaii Island School Garden Network. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN)</p>

Parker Hall of Waimea enjoys fresh coconut milk during last year’s Earth Day celebration at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. HPA will host its Second Annual Earth Day Family Celebration and Environmental Science Symposium from 8 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at the school’s Ulu Malama Terrace Farm, located at the upper campus. The event, which is free and open to the public, is presented in partnership with The Kohala Center’s Hawaii Island School Garden Network. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN)

<p>Hawaiian agricultural expert Ala Lindsey leads a workshop on u’ala species and propagation during last year’s Earth Day celebration at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. HPA will host its Second Annual Earth Day Family Celebration and Environmental Science Symposium from 8 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at the school’s Ulu Malama Terrace Farm, located at the upper campus. The event, which is free and open to the public, is presented in partnership with The Kohala Center’s Hawaii Island School Garden Network.(PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN)</p>

Hawaiian agricultural expert Ala Lindsey leads a workshop on u’ala species and propagation during last year’s Earth Day celebration at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. HPA will host its Second Annual Earth Day Family Celebration and Environmental Science Symposium from 8 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at the school’s Ulu Malama Terrace Farm, located at the upper campus. The event, which is free and open to the public, is presented in partnership with The Kohala Center’s Hawaii Island School Garden Network.(PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN)

<p>Waimea Middle School students will participate in the Environmental Science Symposium on April 20, at HPA. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WMS FOR NHN)</p>

Waimea Middle School students will participate in the Environmental Science Symposium on April 20, at HPA. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WMS FOR NHN)

“Using food and environment to connect kids with their health and the health of Earth – I think that is an effective teaching tool,” said Nancy Redfeather, program director for the Kohala Center’s Hawaii Island School Garden Network. “Everybody talks about STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math). In the garden, STEM occurs every second.”

In a recent TEDx Hilo talk, Redfeather said there are 60 school gardens on Hawaii Island, with 30 garden teachers and 3,000 students producing 7.4 tons of food each year.

“School learning gardens and sustainability education bring life to schools and schools to life,” Redfeather said.

For Earth Day celebrations this year, school garden programs lead the way with fun, informative and interactive events island-wide. At Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Redfeather and Dr. Koh Ming Wei, HPA’s sustainability curriculum facilitator, have worked to produce the Second Annual Earth Day Family Celebration and Environmental Science Symposium, on Saturday, April 20 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free and open to the public, the symposium includes student presentations, a selection of hands-on workshops and lunch at the HPA Ulu Malama Garden at their upper campus.

“We really wanted to give middle and high school agriculture students a chance to come together and present to their colleagues, meet each other and have some fun,” said Redfeather. She said that in similar programs, students were energized and motivated by the interaction, and adults were enraptured, listening to how students connected science with the garden.

“What’s exciting to me is, we are trying something new,” Koh said.

In the morning, students from HPA Upper and Middle School, Honokaa High School, West Hawaii Explorations Academy, Waimea Middle School and Waikoloa Middle School will present on a variety of topics, including dry forest and wet forest research, environmental, agricultural and marine science.

“From 9 to 11 a.m., people can choose one of four workshops,” Koh said. “HPA High School students are going to replant all the uala, sweet potatoes, we are eating for lunch. We grew a lot of lunch!” Besides history and cultivation of uala, workshops include tree-planting, “worm tea” and vermi-composting class, and cooking with local foods harvested from the gardens, with Tisa Emmons, wife of HPA’s Science Department chairperson and agro-ecology teacher, Deighton Emmons.

“He is the one holding the vision and spearheading the agriculture department,” Koh said. Emmons created the Terrace Restoration Project, a model for sustainable agriculture and preservation at the HPA upper campus.

“Where HPA is located used to be the bread basket for our area, with acres and acres of taro, sweet potatoes, sugar cane,” Koh said. “Deighton has re-established some of that with the terrace farming.”

The symposium is free and open to the public, made possible through the support of the Will J. Reid Foundation and the Richard Smart Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation. And, it’s just one of a number of innovative Earth Day events taking place on Saturday and beyond (see below). Most relate to our island’s thriving school garden programs, which Redfeather indicates are key to teaching children, and inspiring new ways to care for planet Earth.

“Food, water, energy, waste – adults are having a really hard time with those,” Redfeather said. “If we allow kids to start experimenting with real systems, they are going to come up with solutions, which we have been unable to do … Creativity and innovation should be a large part of the education system. It is hard to teach hands-on learning (because) you have to have materials, and Hawaii schools barely have paper and pencils. But the garden is always there, always evolving – just go out into the system.”

For more information on the symposium, contact Dr. Koh Ming Wei at 808-443-9231 or email mwkoh@hpa.edu.

SYMPOSIUM SCHEDULE:

8 a.m., Blessing

8:30 a.m., Keynote talk by Nancy Redfeather

9 a.m., Student presentations on agriculture and environmental science

11 a.m., Hands-on workshops (Choice of one: uala planting, vermi-composting, cooking lunch, tree planting)

12:30 p.m., LUNCH

2 p.m. Pau

LINKS:

Hawaii Island School Garden Network: http://www.kohalacenter.org/HISGN/home.html

Nancy Redfeather’s TEDx Talk about Hawaii Island school gardens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oPYRYpqRV4