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Students get their feet wet helping with maintenance at lo‘i kalo at Paeloko Learning Center in Waihe‘e.

Community programs promote ʻāina-based education on Maui and Lānaʻi

Nov. 8, 2021

Contributed by Communications Staff

A pilot program on Maui that engaged a dozen high school students in ʻāina-based learning earlier this year is now preparing to welcome an adult cohort next spring.

The Ahupuaʻa Stewards Leadership Program is one of two community initiatives that offered free educational experiences this past summer with financial support from Kamehameha Schools’ Maui, Molokaʻi & Lānaʻi Community Strategies Team.

Students interested in conservation had the opportunity to connect with mentors working in the field. The participants came from six campuses, including Kamehameha Schools Maui.

“It was new and it was talking about the land so I was interested,” said senior Kahiau Carino. “What I liked about it was we were going to places that our kūpuna were there, too, and places that matter and affect us.”

The students learned about sustainability and resilience by attending classes at University of Hawaiʻi Maui College and taking field trips to a variety of sites such as Waiheʻe Refuge and Waikamoi Preserve. The program, which is designed to cultivate future leaders, provides training and a $1,000 student stipend.

“Developing this program with Kamehameha Schools and Hawaiʻi Land Trust has enabled us to engage students in experiential learning with conservation leaders across Maui’s diverse ecosystems,” said UHMC Chancellor Lui Hokoana. “Ahupua‘a Stewards will gain a better understanding of how to envision and pursue academic and career goals that align with their values and malama ‘āina by connecting directly with kūpuna and other mentors actively working in conservation.”

KS also helped sponsor E ʻIke Hou iā Lānaʻi, an ʻāina-based cultural literacy initiative that debuted a hybrid summer program for more than 60 participants, ranging from pre-K to adults. The Lānai Culture & Heritage Center hosted 24 in-person and virtual activities, including hale building, kalo harvesting and lauhala weaving.

“They learn about Lānaʻi’s history, culture, about what happened in the past and how we can move forward to make the island a better place,” said board member Diane Preza, KSK’81. “It’s a reawakening for everybody – not only for students, but for adults, too.”

KS also provided funds for the publication of a Lānaʻi book set for keiki learning to read. Diane Preza and her daughter, Shelly Preza, KSK’13, created the 16 books which are available in English and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

KS remains committed to investing in the efforts of community organizations in support of shared priorities.

“UHMC and Lānaʻi Culture and Heritage Center both serve as a nexus of educational services, ʻāina stewardship, and historical and cultural preservation,” said Venus Rosete-Medeiros, KSK’81, nā moku lead for KS’ Maui, Molokaʻi & Lānaʻi Community Strategies Team. “By supporting both of these strategic partners, Kamehameha Schools has the privilege of extending our reach and aligning our mission with programs focused on developing ʻōiwi leaders and nurturing healthy environments.”

On a site visit to Skyline Hawaii in Kula, students planted native trees to support a reforestation and conservation initiative.

Lānaʻi students and their ʻohana participate in a traditional hale building workshop.

E ʻIke Hou participants restored native plants at Hiʻi Agricultural Heiau.

Young readers explore places on Lānaʻi through this book set available in English and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

ʻōiwi leaders,culture-based learning,ʻāina-based education

Kaipuolono Article, Regions, Themes, Culture, Community, Newsroom, Maui, Department News, CRED News (Not on Frontpage), Oiwi Leaders, Moloka’i and Lana’i, LAD News

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