Connect with ‘aina: Kohala Center offering outdoor education programs for students

Students harvest and learn about different varieties of kalo (taro) in the Kohala Center’s High School Sustainable Agriculture Program. GLADYS KONANUI/The Kohala Center

The Kohala Center is offering two outdoor education programs for high school students March 19-23 during the public school spring intersession.

• The Kohala Center’s High School Sustainable Agriculture Program will meet from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily at the center’s demonstration farm in Honokaa. Participants will learn about traditional and modern sustainable agriculture methods from cultural practitioners and successful agricultural producers through hands-on workshops and field trips.

Site visits will include a thriving taro patch in Waipio Valley, a restored Hawaiian fishpond in Keaukaha and a poultry producer in Keaau. Students also will visit the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s College of Agriculture to learn about aquaponics and greenhouses, as well as higher education and career opportunities.

The Kohala Center will offer free shuttle service from and to Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, with shuttles departing for Honokaa at 7:30 a.m. and returning to Laupahoehoe at 4:30 p.m.

Students who attend and successfully complete the full program are eligible to receive a Visa gift card valued up to $125. Applications are available online at koha.la/highschoolag or by contacting the Kohala Center at 887-6411. Forms must be received by March 15.

The program is sponsored by the Kohala Center, Kamehameha Schools and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Program 2501.

• The Alaka‘i ‘Opio program provides high school students with opportunities to develop leadership skills in the areas of ‘aina-based education and watershed restoration and discover careers in natural resource management.

Students accepted to the program can choose to focus on ‘aina-based education (7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily) by shadowing education specialists during Kamehameha Schools’ Kilohana Spring Program for middle school students, or on forestry and watershed conservation (7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily) by shadowing the center’s Kohala Watershed Partnership field crew on watershed restoration projects that include controlling invasive species and propagating native plants.

Students who successfully complete the Alaka‘i ‘Opio program will be eligible to receive VISA gift cards valued at up to $250. Applications are available online at koha.la/alakai-opio or by contacting the center at 887-6411. Preference is given to applications received by March 5.

The program is made possible with support from Kamehameha Schools and Hawaii Community Foundation.

Founded in 2000, the Kohala Center is an independent, community-based center for research, conservation and education. For more information, visit www.kohalacenter.org.