KAILUA-KONA — On Friday night, seven of 16 chickens were allegedly stolen from a fenced coop at Malaai Garden at Waimea Middle School.
“The hens belong to the students who regularly feed and care for them,” said Amanda Rieux, the garden’s founder and program director. “It’s a meaningful learning experience to be responsible for their well-being. Students love our hens.”
The garden serves as an outdoor living classroom, providing hands-on environmental science and health wellness lessons for students.
At about 7:15 a.m. Saturday, a volunteer went to the garden to let out the chickens and discovered the lock to the coop was broken, and almost half of the hens were missing. There were also displaced items such as a flipped over bin, a bag that was emptied out and the garden’s outer gate left open. Hawaii Police Department officers responded to the scene.
Holly Sargent-Green, the garden leader, said in a press release that staff were heartbroken to discover the coop was broken into and that seven of the hens were gone.
The Malaai Garden has been available to students for nearly 14 years and strives to cultivate a relationship between students and the land through growing and sharing nourishing food. Students from science, physical education and health, and Ike Hawaii classes participate in garden lessons throughout the year.
The garden is made possible by volunteers who mentor students and support classes, upkeep the grounds as well as assist with fundraising and developmental improvements.
Anyone with information about the missing chickens should contact the Waimea police station at 887-3080 or the police department’s nonemergency number at 935-3311. Those who prefer anonymity can call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.