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HISGN to hold learning symposium in June

School garden teachers, classroom teachers, administrators, staff, volunteers, and interested community members from around the state may register now for the annual Hawaii Island School Garden Network summer symposium in June.

The symposium, “School Learning Gardens and Sustainability Education: Bringing Schools to Life and Life to Schools,” is June 7–8 in Kamuela at the Gates Performing Arts Center at Hawaii Preparatory Academy and Mala‘ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School.

Symposium registration is 7:30–8:30 a.m., Friday, June 7. Friday’s keynote address will be followed by 15 breakout sessions and a Hawaii Farm to School and School Garden Hui panel discussion with representatives from each island. Friday evening will feature the West Hawaii premiere of the documentary Na Kupu Mana‘olana - Seeds of Hope, Danny Miller’s new film on Hawaii’s agricultural history and promise.

The agenda on Saturday, June 8, includes a presentation by Pomai Bertlemann, followed by tours of up to six school gardens in the Kamuela area, and concludes with a garden luncheon at Mala‘ai with Slow Food Hawai‘i.

Symposium registration is $80 per person and includes conference materials and breakfast and lunch on both days. Registration and payment are due by June 5. Register online at or call 887-6411.

This year’s keynote speaker, Dilafruz Williams, is a professor of educational leadership and policy at Portland State University. She has studied the effects of ecological education on academic achievement and social skills acquisition for more than 20 years.

Williams also served as chair of the board of the Council of Great City Schools, comprising 66 of the nation’s largest school districts. She has distinguished herself in sustainability education, environmental education, learning gardens, garden-based education research, K-12 leadership and policy, diversity, social justice, service-learning, and community-university-school strategic partnerships. Williams will also be serving as a mentor for the second cohort of Ku ‘Aina Pa, the new school learning garden teacher training program for Hawaii’s teachers.

Symposium participants may order William’s book, School Learning Gardens and Sustainability Education: Bringing Life to Schools and Schools to Life, at a discount when they register for the event.