Helping Out at Koheo Wetlands
By Kumu Loke Han, Kula Kaiapuni o Kualapu`u
Students from Kumu Loke Han¢s fourth grade Hawaiian Language Immersion class at Kula Kaiapuni o Kualapu`u are learning valuable lessons in kokua and laulima.
Back in November, the students visited Koheo wetlands in Kaunakakai as part of their studies on the `ahupua`a land system. They learned that wetlands are a vital component to the healthy ecosystem of our island. They learned about native plants and animals that help to sustain our native bird population. They also learned about invasive plants and animals and how destructive these introduced species can really be.
After their exciting visit, the students were inspired to help Aunty Arleone Dibben-Young in her work to educate our community. “Pono kakou e kokua!” Tiani Keohuloa stated. “Aka, pehea kakou e kokua?” asked Iokona Albino. “Well, we could really use more signs to show everyone where Koheo is – there are no signs on the fence line along the highway and many people don¢t even know what is happening here.” Aunty Arleone told them. And the Papa 4 Penny Drive was born.
In January, the students read several articles about the penny, its history and current usages, and were tasked with writing an opinion paper on whether we should do away with the use of pennies or not. Discussions were lively – many students were impressed with the amount of money donated to charities in pennies!
“Our class can collect pennies and give it to Aunty Arleone to buy a new sign for the fence,” said Kumu Loke. “Oh, I have plenty pennies at home, in one big bottle!” exclaimed Pomaika`i Stone-Sardinha. “Me too! Me too!” shouted the other students.
For two weeks, the students brought in pennies from home, counted, wrapped and labeled them. They had tubs full of pennies! At the end of the two weeks, they had amassed $120 worth of pennies! In April, the students proudly delivered their rolls to the Kualapu`u School front office to exchange their heavy load of pennies for a nice “light” check made out to Nene o Molokai and on April 24, they were so proud and excited to present it to Aunty Arleone.
“Oh my! Maybe we can get two signs now!” beamed Aunty Arleone.
A big mahalo goes out to the students in Kumu Loke¢s Papa 4 – their families, the aunties at the Kualapu`u School front office and especially to Aunty Arleone for sharing her love of wetlands and their inhabitants with us.