Herb Lee Jr at Historic Fishpond

Hawaiʻi Diaries: Windward Community College Site Visit

A team of SENCER representatives and practitioners traveled to Hawaiʻi in February and March for ten intensive days of meetings, conversations, consultations, and site visits with the state’s students, educators, community partners, administrators, and public figures. The goal of the trip was for the SENCER team to learn about the important and inspirational work Hawaiʻi does to advance science and civic engagement, and to share methods and resources that SENCER can provide to further support existing and future projects. This article represents the fourth in a series recapping SENCER’s visit to the islands.

The SENCER team was treated to a full day of activities during its site visit to Windward Community College (WCC).

The day began with a meeting between the SENCER team and WCC SENCER practitioners. Each group introduced themselves, then discussed their work and resources. The SENCER team presented a brief version of their Faculty Institute program, while WCC faculty described their projects and courses. Dave Krupp (Biological and Marine Sciences Professor, WCC) gave an overview of the Pacific Center for Environmental Studies (PaCES) program, which encourages and supports undergraduate and K-12 environmental science education, research, and stewardship. Floyd McCoy (Geology, Geophysics, and Oceanography Professor, WCC) discussed his use of current events, such as the recent Puna lava flow on the Big Island, to engage students with science, civics, and cultural issues.

After the meeting, Todd Cullison (Executive Director of the 501(c)3 non-profit watershed management group Hui o Koʻolaupoko (HOK) (Hui is Hawaiian for group, and Koʻolaupoko is one of the seven regions on the island of Oʻahu)) took the group outside to WCC’s rain gardens, installed by HOK to prevent stormwater from running off impervious surfaces and carrying pollutants into nearby Kea’ahala Stream and Kāne’ohe Bay. The gardens, featuring 2,000 native plants, were installed by WCC students, professors, and community members in April, 2014. Community volunteers and WCC’s Student Sustainability Club are assisting HOK in long-term maintenance of the gardens.

Later that afternoon, the SENCER team sat in on The Ahupuaʻa, a three-credit, interdisciplinary studies course on traditional Hawaiian approaches to natural resource development, utilization, exploitation, and management. (Ahupuaʻa is a Hawaiian word for subdivisions of land and sea.) During the day’s class, Clyde Tamaru (Interdisciplinary Studies Lecturer, WCC) and Winston Kong (Counselor and Assistant Professor, WCC) led a review session in preparation for the students’ upcoming test. The class was diverse in terms of both age and background. Some students were there to help inform their personal businesses, others to learn more about their cultural history. Hearing the students’ inspirations for learning and what they get out of the course was a major highlight of the trip.

SENCER’s visit to WCC ended with an off-campus field trip to Waikalua Loko I’a, a 400-year-old fishpond that is maintained through student and community work days.

Herb Lee, Jr. (Vice President of the Waikalua Loko Fishpond Preservation Society) served as the SENCER team’s tour guide while at the pond. Before showing everyone around and describing the surroundings, Herb had the group form a circle and join hands to chant E Hō Mai, an ancient chant used in preparation for receiving wisdom and knowledge:

E hō mai (i) ka ʻike mai luna mai ē
ʻO nā mea huna noʻeau o nā mele ē
E hō mai, e hō mai, e hō mai ē (a) x3

Give forth knowledge from above
Every little bit of wisdom contained in song
Give forth, give forth, oh give forth

This translation is courtesy of Kamehameha Scholars.

To read the previous articles in this series, click the titles below:

  1. Hawai’i Diaries: SENCER, Sustainability, and the Hawaiian Islands
  2. Hawai’i Diaries: Faculty Institute
  3. Hawai’i Diaries: Kapi’olani Community College Site Visit and SENCER Reception

Connect with SENCER on Twitter at @SENCERnet.

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