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Science Department Head Chris Blake and his Mālama Honua science class students used the ‘āina as their classroom during a visit to Punaluʻu Ahupuaʻa Farms, a KS agricultural park dedicated to food production.

KSK science students study food sustainability at Punaluʻu Ahupuaʻa Farms

May. 29, 2015

  • Mae Nishimura

KS Kapālama High School Mālama Honua science class students recently learned about food sustainability from one of the state’s best sources: its farmers.

Science Department Head Chris Blake and his students used the ‘āina as their classroom during a visit to Punaluʻu Ahupuaʻa Farms, a KS agricultural park dedicated to food production. Video production kumu Leah Kihara and her students tagged along to film the interviews and educational activities that took place on the Windward Oʻahu site.

KS staff and farmers spoke to students about agriculture, sustainability, cultural stewardship, internship programs, KS’ Cultural Resources Management Plan, KS’ Strategic Agricultural Plan, and how KS is partnering with farmers to increase local food production for Hawaiʻi.

Speakers included Land Assets Division Operations Manager Joey Char, Cultural Resources Planner Analyst Sean McNamara, and traditional crop farmers Danny and Ikaika Bishop.

“Getting to have our haumāna interact with the ʻāina and the people who work closely with this area was a great honor,” said Blake. “We want our haumāna to be able to experience these places, learn with these people, and to make connections that will help them to gain a better sense of place and to build their own identity as Hawaiian learners.

“The idea of Mālama Honua is more than just caring for the Earth, it is about making impactful choices and acting upon them for the betterment of our future.”

The day concluded with a visit to the University of Hawaiʻi loʻi located at the park, and discussion surrounding other ideas for educational opportunities for KSK High School students who have a love for the outdoors and the science field.

“It was interesting to learn about the Land Assets division part in Punaluʻu, but what stuck out most to me is how beautiful the valley is and how much more there is to discover, said KSK senior Kainoa Ah Quin. “Being outside in Punaluʻu made me feel more connected to the ʻāina and if I could do it again, I would.”

Punaluʻu Ahupuaʻa Farms was established in 2000, when Kamehameha’s lease agreement with Koʻolau Agriculture expired and management of Punaluʻu Valley was returned to KS. The agricultural park encompasses approximately 337 acres, 187 of which are currently occupied by 30 farmers.

For more information on KS’ Strategic Agricultural Plan, visit

From classroom to coaching

In addition to being KSK High School’s science department head, Chris Blake has served as the school’s head girls’ volleyball coach since 2003, winning seven state titles while appearing in all 12 state title matches during that span. Blake’s teams won six state titles in a row from 2005-10, and he was an assistant coach for five other state titles in the 1990s.

Along with the success in Hawai‘i, he has also guided the team to national prominence. His teams have consistently been ranked in the top 25 nationally, and have finished in the top 10 at the prestigious Durango Fall Classic, in Las Vegas, in five of the last eight years.



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