A symphony of excitement, curiosity, and smiles invaded Kawaikui Park as Kumu Michelle Kapana-Baird & her students from Kaiser High School led groups of Ms. Dori Kim’s Aina Haina Elementary students through rounds of hands-on learning and wonderment.
Amongst the soft lapping of the ocean & warm slow breeze, you could see the glee as students ran with their kites, the expressions of surprise at the taste of limu, the tilt of a head & slightly furrowed brow as students listened intently about the importance of limu, the looks of anticipation waiting to see how much limu was collected along the beach, the determined intense faces & chatter while making limu lei and the amazement of using an anemometer to measure wind speed.
Flying kites. Photo: Diane Tom-Ogata
Students learned to use a hand-held Anemometer to measure wind speed. Photo: Diane Tom-Ogata
Littered along the shore was debris which transects were placed over. Using gloves as a safety measure, dried debris was collected within the transect & deposited in an assigned a mesh bag.
Students cleared the beach of limu debris. Photo: Diane Tom-Ogata
Each mesh bag of beach debris was weighed. Photo: Diane Tom-Ogata
At the limu tent, were two Citizen Science Kupuna to share their mana’o. Both Uncles were steadfast in their belief that passing down knowledge to kids is important.
Uncle Henry described limu as a “vegetable” as students munched on a couple of varieties. “I think it’s important that we teach the kids about limu,” says Uncle Wally, “And I think it’s because it’s a big part of the environment. What people don’t realize is that limu is the base of the food web of the ocean.”
Uncle Wally shared the cultural traditional & importance of limu. Probing questions and challenging pronunciation of Palahalaha added to the enjoyment of learning.
Uncle Henry & Uncle Wally talking to Students about Limu Photo: Diane Tom-Ogata
The limu lesson was not over: PVS crew member Max Mukai shared with the kids that “the amazing thing about limu is that, when the invasive are taken away, the native will return and find a way to flourish.” Students made limu lei and watched as PVS Crew Members took out the limu “lei” to plant.
Elementary Student making Limu lei. Photo: Diane Tom-Ogata
Crew members planting limu. Photo: Diane Tom-Ogata
This was a day of fun learning that no rubric or standard can measure. And memories which will be imbedded in the minds of these children forever.