Volunteering at Malama Huleia is more than just a site visit and being a helping hand – it is an educational experience of a Hawaiian cultural design that is relevant to this day. At every point there is something to learn about native species, natural systems and our kuleana to restore what was once a sustainable ecosystem. As keepers of this site, we have taken the responsibility of sharing our knowledge to encourage the curiosity and learning process. Our hope is to inspire future stewardship of the land that we are restoring.
Place-based education is a core principle for our organization and the last few years we have expanded our educational partnerships through hosting schools and organizations onsite. Alakoko has a unique opportunity to provide an outdoor classroom experience that enhances learning and understanding which leads to appreciation of our natural resources creating future stewards of the land.
In March, due to COVID, we had to pause site visits and community work days limiting our ability to provide the community education that we are so passionate about. In the same way we approach restoration – adapting to overcome challenges – we began to explore how we could still deliver an educational experience through virtual channels. With the support of DOE OHE, we curated a virtual huaka’i (field trip) experience to share the valuable education that is available from our site and launched the video on youtube.
This video became the starting point of developing further curriculum to support schools and continue eco-cultural education in the schools. As an Aloha AIna partner with Kamehameha Schools, we are continuing to expand our educational resources through custom created curriculum that is based on the 6 topics outline in our initial video:
- Aloha & Ho’omakaukau | Intro & Basic Protocol
- Ka Wa Kahiko | Brief History
- Loko i’a | Fishponds
- Mea Kanu | Plants
- Na Manu | Birds
- He Laulima Mai | Moving Forward
The interactive education modules will deliver an online experience that will be accessible to educators and community members. This online presence will expand opportunities to educate while COVID limits visits but will also be an excellent resource for preparation and learning once site visits resume.
This effort is part of an ongoing strategy that both Malama Huleia and Kamehameha School believe in: to deliver culture- and place-based education that fosters kinship and kuleana between kanaka and ‘āina. This pilot program will build a framework that will bridge resource management and education, inviting participants to actively engage in Hawaiian culture and history, instilling a sense of pride in their heritage and connecting them to communities in meaningful ways.
Stay tuned for upcoming releases and we hope to see you onsite again soon!!!