Senator Mike Gabbard plays Oily Al to teach keiki what not to do to the environment.
Kualapu`u students learn healthy habits.
By Brandon Roberts
Awesome Al was not always a pal. He used to be Oily Al until he met Water Girl, who showed him how to malama `aina.
Kualapu`u Elementary students gathered last Friday under the shade of a hala tree at Ali`i fishpond to enjoy a presentation by the Healthy Hawaii Coalition.
Senator Mike Gabbard founded the coalition with his daughter in 1996 to raise environmental awareness in Hawaiian keiki. Since 2001, the senator and his wife Carroll, have traveled to schools throughout Hawaii, teaching positive environmental habits.
The Kualapu`u keiki were entertained by a play where Oily Al’s bad habits, like throwing rubbish on the ground and dumping chemicals into the drain, were corrected when Water Girl educated him on how to respect the environment.
“Our presentation reinforces a positive message for schools and homes,” Sen. Gabbard said. He believes the interactive afternoon strengthens teachings from Kumu Piliana Naeole in the classroom, as well as reinforcing messages keiki receive at home, from like parent volunteer Sharon Likua.
Following the play, roughly 25 students broke into four groups that rotated around the fishpond – exploring their environment and learning to live “malama `aina.”
The Healthy Hawaii Coalition has presented to over 4,000 students in 45 schools with the help of a grant from the Department of Health.