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KS’ new five-week summer program for Waialua region haumāna gave them the chance to learn from cultural practitioners, scientists, and ʻāina stewards ways to approach ecological problems. Above, Kilohana Waialua haumāna gather around a huge Hawaiian star compass puzzle after successfully teaming up to piece it together.

Kilohana Waialua summer program culminates with illuminating overnighter in Mokulē'ia

July 16, 2018

Contributed by Nadine Lagaso

This summer, students in KS’ new Kilohana Waialua summer program have been exploring the driving questions: How are humans impacting the kaiaola kai (ocean ecosystems)? How can we mālama the kaiaola kai?

Over the course of the five-week program, haumāna have had the opportunity to interact with and learn from cultural practitioners, scientists, and ʻāina stewards who have woven a narrative that equates excellence with intentional preparation and a growth mindset. 

Through a study of the interactions of the abiotic and biotic factors within the kaiaola kai and multiple mālama ʻāina experiences, haumāna have gained a better understanding of the interconnectedness and interdependence of native plants, animals and people.

“We as kānaka are inextricably connected to ʻāina and therefore anything that threatens the health of ‘āina threatens the health of kānaka and the perpetuation of Hawaiian culture,” said Hawaiian Resource Specialist Kainoa Kaulukukui-Narikawa. “Through a series of classroom lessons and huakaʻi experiences, haumāna have been encouraged to see ecological problems as community problems and as cultural threats and have been empowered to come up with innovative solutions.”

As a Kilohana Waialua culminating huakaʻi, 45 haumāna from papa six and papa seven, had a fun-filled and action-packed overnight adventure at Camp Mokulēʻia. 

Highlights of the experience included:

  • Shoreline minutia exploration using microscopes to see grains of sand, microplastic debris, plankton, limu and other small and often overlooked components of our beaches
  • A Hawaiian star compass and wayfinding lesson
  • Zip-lining
  • A campfire
  • A star-gazing and celestial navigation lesson and talk story with Polynesian Voyaging Society apprentice navigators Lehua Kamalu and Kāʻohinani Kamalu

The Kilohana Waialua team send a special “mahalo” to community collaborators Lehua Kamalu and Kāʻohinani Kamalu; and Kilohana Waialua kumu Ululani Russo, Leialoha Cambonga, Kaʻōlino Yasuoka, Lisa Jeffers-Fabro, Uʻilani Kanehailua and Kaʻimi Valladares for helping to facilitate a safe, illuminating and fun overnight experience for haumāna.  

About Kilohana

Kilohana summer programs are designed to support students in discovering and exploring their love of math through a variety of Hawaiian cultural experiences. The hands-on, place-based program incorporate elements of STEAM to drive inquiry and projects that develop students’ skills in math and Hawaiian culture as well as skills needed for college and/or career success. Programs are held in the following regions for students entering grades 6 through 8: ʻEwa, Hāna, Molokaʻi, Waialua, Waiʻanae and West Hawaiʻi For details, visit the Kilohana website.

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