Experiential spring intersession programs offer opportunities for high schoolers to engage with aina

  • Students harvest and learn about different varieties of kalo (taro) in The Kohala Center’s High School Sustainable Agriculture Program. (COURTESY PHOTO/TKC, GLADYS KONANUI)

WAIMEA — The Kohala Center is offering two outdoor-education programs for Hawaii Island high school students March 19 through 23, during the public school spring intersession.

Participants who successfully complete the week-long programs are eligible to receive a $125 to $250 stipend in the form of a Visa gift card to commend their dedication to natural resource college, career and community pathways.


The Kohala Center’s High School Sustainable Agriculture Program will meet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, starting and ending each day at The Center’s demonstration farm in Honokaa. Participants will learn about traditional and modern sustainable agriculture methods from cultural practitioners and successful agricultural producers through hands-on workshops and field trips.

Site visits will include a thriving taro patch in Waipio Valley, a restored Hawaiian fishpond in Keaukaha and a local poultry producer in Keaau. Students will also visit the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s College of Agriculture to learn about aquaponics and greenhouses, as well as higher education and career opportunities.

The Center will offer free shuttle service from and to Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, with shuttles departing for Honokaa at 7:30 a.m. and returning to Laupahoehoe at 4:30 p.m.

Students who attend and successfully complete the full program are eligible to receive a Visa gift card valued up to $125. Applications are available online at koha.la/highschoolag or by contacting The Center at 887-6411, and must be received by March 15. The program is sponsored by The Kohala Center, Kamehameha Schools and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Program 2501.

A second option is The Center’s week-long Alakai Opio Program, which offers high school students opportunities to develop leadership skills in the areas of aina-based education and watershed restoration, and discover careers in natural resource management.

Students accepted to the program can choose to focus on aina-based education from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily by shadowing an aina-based education specialist during Kamehameha Schools’ Kilohana Spring Program for middle school students, or on forestry and watershed conservation 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily by shadowing The Center’s Kohala Watershed Partnership field crew on watershed restoration projects to include controlling invasive species and propagating native plants.


Students who successfully complete the Alakai Opio program will be eligible to receive Visa gift cards valued at up to $250. Applications are available online at koha.la/alakai-opio or by contacting The Center at 887-6411. Preference is given to applications received by March 5.

The program is made possible with support from Kamehameha Schools and Hawaii Community Foundation.