We love working with kids (keiki) in our community, and we love what Ka `Umeke Ka`eo Hawaiian Immersion Public Charter School in Keaukaha does for its keiki and its community. The school is a Hawaiian immersion school, and hands-on experiences are integral to the curriculum. We were asked to transport kids and chaperones into the forest high above Laupahoehoe to learn about sustainable forestry, and effective husbandry and stewardship in the native forest. One of our four wheel drive vans was pressed into service, as was the driving services of one of our guides.
The keiki learned the importance of these forests to our fragile ecosystem, and how their everyday choices impact the environment. They explored the forest looking for dead and burned trees to cut down, and smaller pieces on the ground to collect. They discovered that there is a use for everything, each piece they brought back, no matter how big or small, could be fashioned into something useful.
Next month, we will help transport these same keiki to a lumber mill high up in the Kaiwiki neighborhood adjacent to our friends at Honoli`i Mountain Outpost so they can see the next step in a sustainable forestry process. This was a very rewarding experience for us, and we can’t wait until next month!