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$88K for Cultural and Environmental Education

MMS News Release

MMS grant

Photo courtesy of MMS.

Molokai Middle School, `O Hina I Ka Malama, Ke Kula Waena, Hawaiian Language Immersion Program received a $88,213 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a project titled “Promoting Cultural Based Knowledge and Practices through Environmental Stewardship and Preservation.” The grant’s duration, August 2015 through August 2016, is being lead by Molokai Middle School Hawaiian Language Immersion Program Teacher and Principal Investigator, `Iolani Ku`oha.

“Our goal, through meaningful science-based outdoor experiences for students, is to instill the need for engaging in culture based knowledge that reflects community efforts on Molokai,” said Ku`oha. “In addition, we hope that increased science investigations that are relevant to students will help to increase their achievement on the Hawaii State Science Assessment.”

The proposed project will include research component directly related to culture and science through the study of La`au Lapa`au (medicinal practices) native plant propagation, relevant watershed issues, invasive species removal and more. Community stakeholders will assist students with their research, written reports, technology assistance and oral presentations.

This NOAA funded project was inspired by Ku`oha’s father, Joseph Hamakua, who was a Kahuna La`au Lapa`au, (traditional Hawaiian medicinal healer). Ku`oha hopes that this project will serve to continue his legacy of healing and boost student interest in science.

The project will use an island-wide approach to environmental stewardship and education, from ma uka to ma kai.

“School partnerships that are driven by community need will enhance the objectives of this project,” said Ku`oha.

There will be paid part-time positions available for interested people that want to work with the students and contribute toward the efforts of this project, promoting cultural knowledge and practices, `Olelo Hawaii, and/or with a background in science and technology. Contact Kumu `Iolani for more information at MMS, call 567-6940 and look for the help wanted ad in The Molokai Dispatch.

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