Alaka'ina Foundation Receives Grant to Promote Place Based Sustainability Education
November 13, 2012: HONOLULU, HI - The Alaka`ina Foundation has received a $99,273 grant from the NOAA Hawaii Bay Watershed Education Training (B-WET) Program for its Moloka`i Ho`ike Project. Serving six public schools on Moloka`i, the project fuses contemporary science, history, and technology education with traditional Hawaiian cultural knowledge to help students and teachers research the place names and mo`olelo of the areas surrounding their schools. Students then utilize the historical and cultural knowledge to assess the areas' resources and characteristics to determine if things have changed or remained the same. The analysis is then incorporated into their shared vision for these areas. "Our students are fascinated by the history, culture, language of the areas where they grew up and are motivated to connect "what was" with "what is." This process is incredibly valuable and we are all learning from each other," said U`ilani Lima Moloka`i project manager."We thank the NOAA Hawaii B-WET Program for recognizing the importance of preserving and perpetuating our Native Hawaiian cultural knowledge through education in science and technology, "said Jessica Horiuchi, Alaka`ina Foundation Executive Director. "This is one of those projects where all of us are students working together to learn from those who have come before us in order to determine what lies ahead." The Moloka`i Ho`ike Project will serve 20 teachers and their students in grades K through 12 on Moloka`i. The overall goal of the project is to establish a multi-tiered sustained program that allows educators and their students to holistically view their community as a system that they impact daily. The Moloka`i Ho`ike Project examines historical changes, i.e., alterations that have changed the general make-up of the island and impacts of these changes. More importantly, by learning about the traditional Hawaiian place names, students, teachers and community members are able to reconnect with these areas and through a true sense of place. The Moloka`i Ho'ike project helps students to understand the impacts of environmental changes, gives them the analytical tools to decide for themselves (through interaction with local Kupuna, scientific methodology, and state of the art monitoring equipment), if their chosen study areas are capable of sustaining the historical life and culture of these communities, and establishes an Environmental Student Council that will help to determine an appropriate course of action to support their future vision for their island.