One of the teachers suggested I post and share with you all with an update of what's the status of our school's sustainability efforts. These are just some of the things I'm working on. So here goes!
GARDEN - The recipient of most my time and energy!
I've been gardening with Ms. Akau-Naki's reading workshop kids 2x a week, and Ms. Lolotai's kids 1x a week (3 periods total each week). We've planted a variety of herbs, tomatoes, beans, cucumber, squash, melon, corn, green onions, chives, sweet potato, and chinese spinach (amaranth). Phew! Most of our plants are still small, but we started cooking some of our harvest. We've made quesedillas, sweet potato leaf curry, and a corn/spinach/bean soup. We're also teaching the kids about composting so we can absorb more of the cafe waste. We're learning that we need at least 2 adults to manage kids in the garden. Thank goodness that 7th grader Austin's mom, Debbie, has been volunteering with us on a weekly basis. She's been a huge help as garden activities are super hands-on and spread out. We also learned that seeds take a LONG time, and I should've started them in the summer. We also installed an irrigation system at the garden, so we now have an abundance of water.
I was lucky to be a small part of Ms. Kirio's basil project for her health class. I gave the kids a tour of the Green Lab, talked about soil and environment, and helped them plant their basil seeds. The kids are currently collecting data on growth, and are learning to nurture and care for life! I'm trying to contact KCC's culinary program to see if we can get some college students to come to her class. Eventually, the kids will take the basil plant home as a gift for their family. Thanks Ms. Kirio for letting me be part of your project!
In the future, I'm helping with Na Hoku's sustainability IDU team day. I might also work with Ms. Fujimoto and Ms. Wakabayashi with an aquaponics lesson when their teams start their Ahupua'a IDU. There's an upcoming Educator Aquaponics workshop that I'm planning to attend.
Feel free to let me know if you want to start some plants with your classes, or just work in the garden for a change in scenery!
Composting - Our worms and hot compost bins are currently absorbing 2-3 buckets of cafe waste per week. Thank you Keith and Staff for being so supportive of our composting efforts! We are hoping to increase this amount as the school year progresses. Most of the food goes to our 4 worm bins, and the rest go to our hot compost bin (newly constructed over the summer). I tried to compost post-consumer (leftovers from kids' plates), but have been asked to put the project on "hold," by the Green House, since they are running pilot composting programs at Kalani, Palolo Elem, and AOP. They have a grant to pilot large-scale composting efforts, and will test the finished compost and make sure it's safe to use on campus. They plan to work with DOH and DOE to create a best practices manual that all other schools can follow.
Styrofoam plates - Mr. Matsuki, our cafeteria manager, has just informed me that the DOE is in the process of testing more environmentally-friendly alternatives to styrofoam plates. It'll just be a matter of time before we switch over, yay!
Science Club has offered to collect recyclables for the campus. Thank you! I hope the system that the club set up works well for everyone.
We built a simple kitchen cart from generous donations from teachers and family. I'm currently housing it in V101, but it has wheels, so if anyone wants to do a cooking demo (it's okay if it's not garden related), we can wheel the cart to you. It has a burner, a frying pan, a wok, an electric pot, cutting boards, mixing bowls, basic spices, a knife, 35-small bowls and spoons to serve, and a few kitchen utensils. It's very handy to do simple cooking demonstrations.
We've had two joint science and social studies department meetings to try to organize the school's efforts. Rather than squeezing sustainability into the curriculum, we hope that it can be used as a vehicle to meet our existing benchmarks. Our plan is for each grade level to focus on a different sustainability topic, so by the time kids leave KMS, they have a well-rounded experience and ideas on how they can live sustainably. Thank you science and social studies for meeting together and brainstorming on such short notice! Here's a brief summary of what each grade-level is planning. Please keep in mind that as teams get further into their planning process, some of the ideas below may change.
- 3R's and reducing waste, especially plastics
- alternative energy
- sustainability and how it relates to the rise and fall of ancient civilizations
- sustainability in the ahupua'a system
- a little bit of aquaponics, and how it is similar to a lo'i
- the industrial revolution and it's impact on the environment (water and air pollution, and overall sanitation in cities)
- land use and maybe smart city design
- possible connection to space exploration and how to design future space stations and colonies so that they are "sustainable"
I'm still researching possible field trips for each team. I've touched bases with a bunch of places already, I just have to type them and send them your way! The challenge is that most locations (lo'i, farms, Sand Island Waste Water Treatment Plant, Mari's Garden, etc.) can only host 50-70 kids at a time. Boo! So I've been investigating if there are several points of interest in any given area. Good news, Ground Transport said their bus fee includes 3 stops (other than KMS) no charge. For example, when the kids go to Challenger, the bus could stop at Challenger, the Kapolei library, and the Water Park (the kids wish!), with no extra charge. This makes it possible to do a rotation...of course, time permitting. Just when I thought rotations were possible, I heard about the "no sack-lunch" policy. Shucks! Hopefully, we reach a compromise so we can keep the kids on their field trip until 1:00ish.
I'm still researching guest speakers too, but it helps that I know your topics. Please email me if you find anyone interesting too. It'd be great if I could keep a log of all our resources. Thanks!
HECO - alternative energy in Hawaii (6th grade)
Ramsay Taum - Sustainability in the ahupua'a system (7th grade)
Pacific Resources - Smart City Planning and Rail Transit (8th grade)
SORT IT OUT PLAY
HTY's recycling play (6th grade)
Jan 22nd, 9:00 (we can change the time to match 6th grade's schedule better!)
- I will check out energy kits for our next science department meeting.
- Sun Power For Schools - I'm currently working on a proposal to get a demonstration solar panel. The communication software allows us to take data on electricity output, which we can correlate to other variables like weather or season.
Phew, that's the big topics I'm tackling. Thanks again for keeping me on board part-time this year. There's a lot to do, but we're definitely moving forward! Please let me know if you come across any neat environmental opportunities. Special thanks to Keoni Dunn and Sue Akau-Naki who frequently send ideas and thoughts my way!