Monthly Archives :

August 2018

Aloha+ in the Ala Wai

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The Aloha+ Challenge was launched in 2014 and is a joint commitment to sustainability by Hawaiʻi’s leaders – the governor, the four county mayors, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Hawai‘i State Legislature. The Aloha+ Challenge includes six 2030 goals on clean energy, local food, natural resource management, waste reduction, smart sustainable communities, and green workforce and education. All six goals are being implemented in the Ala Wai Watershed by AWWC partners:

In 2015, the State of Hawaiʻi set for the University of Hawaii System to become net-zero energy by 2035, including the UH Mānoa campus in the Ala Wai Watershed. Hawaiian Electric Company is a member of the AWWC, and you can see solar PV panels on rooftops throughout the watershed!

Want to know where to get local food in the watershed? Check out the farmers market map on the Aloha+ Dashboard!

See the section on community restoration, invasive species, and water sensor network for organizations and initiatives that steward the natural resources in the Ala Wai Watershed.

See the litter prevention and pickup section for organizations and initiatives working on waste reduction, and check out the map of Ocean Friendly Restaurants in the watershed that minimize plastic use!

For organizations and initiatives working to make our communities smart and sustainable, see the disaster resilience, climate change planning, green infrastructure, and design solutions sections.

The watershed includes two major universities as well as dozens of elementary, middle, and high schools who are using the Ala Wai Watershed as a case study for place-based learning. For more information, check out the storytelling, systems thinking, and place based learning sections.

Cover photo credit: Hawaiʻi Green Growth

Neighbor Watersheds

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The ancient Hawaiian land division system included mokupuni (island) of Oʻahu was divided into six districts (moku) eighty-one self-sustaining watersheds (ahupuaʻa), which were sometimes divided further into ʻili (sub-watersheds). After creating the Ala Wai Canal and redirecting its tributaries, the Ala Wai Watershed now includes parts of the Waikīkī ahupuaʻa and the Honolulu ahupuaʻa. Although each watershed is unique, the AWWC works to share lessons and best practices with organizations and initiatives in other watersheds across the island and the state.

The bay that is part of the Ala Wai Watershed is called Māmala Bay, and its neighbor to the east is Maunalua Bay. Mālama Maunalua is a community non-profit that works to preserve Maunalua Bay and its watershed through cleanups, invasive algae removal, and watershed stewardship.

Paepae o Heʻeia is a non-profit dedicated to caring for the Heʻeia Fishpond and its watershed.

The Waiheʻe Ahupuaʻa Initiative is a partnership of the Board of Water Supply, Kualoa-Heeia Ecumenical Youth Project (KEY), and Hui O Koolaupoko.

The Koʻolau Mountains Watershed Partnership (KMWP) is an alliance of major public and private landowners (in the Ala Wai Watershed mainly DLNR DOFAW and the Board of Water Supply, and to a lesser extent Kamehameha Schools, Lyon Arboretum, and DHHL). The KMWP is one of many Watershed Partnerships across the state in the Hawaiʻi Alliance of Watershed Partnerships (HAWP) who coordinate across property boundaries to address invasive species and ungulates that threaten the health of native Hawaiian forest.

The Waiʻanae Mountains Watershed Partnership (WMWP) is part of the Hawaiʻi Alliance of Watershed Partnerships (HAWP), and the equivalent of the KMWP in the Waiʻanae Mountain Range.

Cover photo credit: Mālama Maunalua

Global Impact

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Hawaiʻi has received international recognition for its ambitious climate targets and holistic Aloha+ Challenge goals. The Ala Wai Watershed as a key resilience challenge and the AWWC as a collaborative model to solving this challenge have also received global attention. Below are some of the platforms and networks our members use to learn from places around the world, share our success with other communities, and achieve global impact.

The State of Hawaiʻi, the County of Hawaiʻi, and Hawaiʻi Green Growth are a member of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), a global network of island leaders. The Island Resilience Initiative is a collaboration between GLISPA and the UNDP (GEF Small Grants Program) to scale Hawaiʻi’s model of the Aloha+ Challenge, the Hawaiʻi Green Growth public-private network, and the specific resilience challenge of the Ala Wai Watershed to other islands around the world, starting with Palau, Fiji, and the Marshall Islands.

Hawaiʻi’s Aloha+ Challenge has been recognized as a local partner to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by the United nations in 2015, and the Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration is a model for how to implement holistic solutions locally.

The City & County of Honolulu was selected as one of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) in May 2016.Through the 100RC platform, Honolulu’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency is learning and sharing with cities around the world to develop its Resilience Strategy.

The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) is a non-profit that seeks to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration through experiential educational programs. The Hōkūleʻa Worldwide Voyage shared Hawaiʻi’s message of Mālama Honua (taking care of the planet) with cities and communities across the globe, ending its journey in the Ala Wai Watershed in June 2017. In 2018, GLISPA, Hawaiʻi Green Growth and PVS signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue sharing this message.

Waikīkī, located at the base of the Ala Wai Watershed, is a world famous destination, which people visit from countries around the world and the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority has been a strong supporter of the Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration from its inception.

Cover photo credit: United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Water Sensor Network

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Proper watershed management requires a thorough understanding of the water and ecosystem quality in the Ala Wai Watershed. Indicators include water depth and flow rates, sediment/turbidity, excess nutrients, chemicals, heavy metals, pathogens, temperature, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, biodiversity and habitat quality indicators. Water quality in the canal and streams is not currently monitored by the Department of Health, but the University of Hawaii and multiple schools in the watershed are gathering data that can inform decision making. Learn more how volunteers, students, and teachers are providing citizen science data in our Place Based Curricula section!

The University of Hawaiʻi SMART Ala Wai initiative brings together faculty, teachers, and students to develop a network of water quality sensors that gathers continuous data throughout the watershed. The technology required for creating sensors data loggers has become much cheaper, allowing for the deployment of many sensors that can easily be maintained by non-scientists.

In 2010, ‘Iolani School, located between the mouths of the Mānoa, Makiki, and Pālolo Streams, began to observe, collect, and analyze data in and around the Ala Wai Canal and the streams that feed it.  Named the Ala Wai Watershed Project, students continue to engage in real-world research that contributes to the understanding of the current state of the watershed and to the development of responses and solutions.  In addition to independent research, students in ‘Iolani School’s Robotics classes have built a remote-controlled Ala Wai Catamaran and several iterations of drones to collect water samples from the Ala Wai Canal for water quality analysis in the lab. In addition to ongoing water quality monitoring, ‘Iolani School’s Robotics students are designing and fabricating deployed sensors that will transmit data in real time for recording and analysis. ‘Iolani School also convenes Nā Wai ‘Ekolu, educators from institutions throughout the watershed, working closely with stream biologists and researchers at the University of Hawai’i.  Nā Wai ‘Ekolu aims to inspire and encourage schools that care deeply for their place through curriculum development and work in the streams and communities that surround them.

Nā Wai ‘Ekolu is a collective of educators from K-12 and higher education institutions along the Mānoa, Pālolo, and Makiki streams, who care deeply for their watershed through monitoring, research, restoration, and curriculum development with their students. To see the locations where active monitoring and restoration is under way, check out their interactive map!

The Ala Wai Watershed Association is a non-profit founded in 1996 that organizes volunteer, community education, and development activities, and conducts streambank restoration and research. This includes testing different restoration methodologies at Paradise Park in Mānoa to determine the impact of invasive vs. native vegetation on sediment runoff into the streams.

The AWWC’s Working Group on Environmental Quality, Research and Science helps coordinate the stakeholders who are gathering data to compare datasets and fill gaps in our understanding.

Cover photo credit: SMART Ala Wai

Green Finance

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Green infrastructure is very effective and cost efficient, but in order to provide adequate financing, innovative models are needed to capture its benefits, especially since green infrastructure is often implemented at the landscape level and in multiple distributed projects, as opposed to the conventional grey infrastructure that might consist of a single large project like a dam or a floodwall. Green financing structures should also be fair and incentivize the distributed implementation of green infrastructure on a variety of property types.

In 2015, the HB1325 passed the state legislature, which authorizes counties to charge a “user fee” for creating and maintaining stormwater management systems and infrastructure – a stormwater fee. As of 2018, the City & County of Honolulu has not taken advantage of this authority yet.

The Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration has partnered with the Environment & Climate Change team at Baker McKenzie to explore which green finance tools might be appropriate to help support ongoing and future work in the Ala Wai Watershed.

The AWWC’s Working Group on Policy, Finance, and Infrastructure helps coordinate and connect stakeholders who are working on green finance solutions.

Cover photo credit: Green Infrastructure for Homeowners Manual, City & County of Honolulu, BWS

Design Solutions

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Smart designs can help us create lasting solutions that address flood risk, ecosystem restoration, community livability, and connection to place in an integrated way. Design Challenges can help unlock the creativity in our community and make sure we stay solutions-oriented. Community input in the design process helps ensure that the long-term investment in our infrastructure and our communities meet the needs of residents for generations to come. So mahalo for all the people who participated in the Make the Ala Wai Awesome Design Challenge and don’t hesitate to let us know of your ideas in the Suggestion Box!

In 2016 Nainoa Thompson, president of the PVS, and David Lassner, president of the University of Hawaiʻi, launched the Make the Ala Wai Awesome Design Challenge. The winners were Noelani Elementary School, ʻIolani Middle School, ʻIolani High School, Arizone State University, and the UH Mānoa College of Engineering. Learn more about the winners and finalists here.

The US Army Corps of Engineers Ala Wai Canal Project received funding in July 2018 and will move into the design phase after cost-share agreements with local partners (state and county) are negotiated.

The Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration engaged in the Art + Design + Architecture Panel Series on Resilience hosted by Architects Hawaiʻi Limited and Surfjack Hotel in April 2018.

The Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration submitted a proposal for a workshop on resilience at the November 2018 Design Symposium hosted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honolulu Chapter and State Council, Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiʻi Architectural Foundation, and the UH School of Architecture. This year’s theme is “Building Voices: Livable Cities & Communities”

The AWWC’s Working Group on Policy, Finance, and Infrastructure helps encourage design thinking and works to include the AWWC’s broad goals in design solutions for the watershed.

Cover photo credit: Make the Ala Wai Awesome Design Challenge ASU Team

Green Infrastructure

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In the context of infrastructure that helps reduce flood damage, cleans our watershed, and recharges our groundwater, it is helpful to distinguish between “grey” and “green” infrastructure.

“Grey” infrastructure has caused many problems in the Ala Wai Watershed (channelizing our streams with concrete, paving over the majority of surface area with roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways), but can also be part of the solution (for example dams and retention basins to store flash flood water, pillars to catch debris, flood walls to protect important infrastructure). While grey infrastructure can help reduce flood hazard, it usually does little to improve water quality, recharge the groundwater, or beautify neighborhoods.

“Green” Infrastructure includes a number of infrastructure and landscaping strategies that can be applied across a watershed, many of which are in use in the Ala Wai Watershed to some extent. Below are the seven common types of green infrastructure, sometimes also referred to as “Low Impact Development” (LID) strategies.

1) Rain Garden – a deliberately built depression planted with vegetation that captures excess rain from your helps it soak into the ground. (Photocredit: Hui o Koʻolaupoko)

2) Bioretention – similar to rain gardens, bioretention areas are vegetated ditches that can store and filter rainwater running off from parking lots or other paved surfaces. (photo credit: EPA Water Protection Division, A Handbook for Local Governments)

3) Bioswale – a vegetated channel usually along roads or parking lots. Bioswales have a shallower gradient than conventional drainage ditches, slowing the water down to filter pollutants and allow it to soak into the ground. Deep bioswales, called planter boxes, require more construction, but can be more effective. (photo credit: EPA Water Protection Division, A Handbook for Local Governments)

  

4) Downspout Disconnection – disconnecting your downspout so the rain from your roof/raingutter doesn’t go straight into the storm sewers, but has a chance to filter into the ground in a vegetated area. Ideally, downspouts are connected to raingardens, planter boxes, or bioswales. (photo credit: Green Infrastructure for Homeowners Manual, City & County of Honolulu, BWS)

5) Green Roofs – covering flat roofs with a layer of vegetation (usually 2-6 inches thick) that soaks up rain, filters it, and then evaporates it. Most green roofs are located on industrial facilities or in dense urban areas with little space for other green infrastructure strategies. (photo credit: Green Infrastructure for Homeowners Manual, City & County of Honolulu, BWS)

6) Rain Barrels / Rain Water Harvesting – while rain barrels don’t filter pollutants, they help reduce water use and prevent flooding by storing rainwater on-site and slowing waterflow during high rainfall events. (photo credit: Green Infrastructure for Homeowners Manual, City & County of Honolulu, BWS)

7) Permeable Pavment (Porous Asphalt, Pervious Concrete, Turf Blocks, Permeable Paver Stones) – instead of paving a surface with solid asphalt or concrete, permeable pavement consists of either porous material, or solid material spaced apart to allow water to soak into the ground. This is especially suitable for parking lots, driveways, roadway shoulders, basketball courts etc. (photo credit: Green Infrastructure for Homeowners Manual, City & County of Honolulu, BWS)

8) Natural Green Infrastructure – forests, wetlands, natural streambanks and streambeds serve have the same as green infrastructure (and more). In many ways, green infrastructure seeks to mimic these natural features!

In 2016, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa commissioned an initial feasibility assessment for an Infrastructure Master Plan which includes proposals for integrated wastewater and drainage systems to withstand a 100-year (1% chance) flood, offer flexibility for quick updates to support a 21st century campus, and achieve net zero water by 2050.

The Department of Facilities Maintenance, Storm Water Quality Branch provides information, resources, and tools on implementing Green Infrastructure, and features various green infrastructure projects in an interactive Atlas created by UH SeaGrant.

The Surfrider Foundation Oʻahu Chapter’s Ocean Friendly Gardens initiative helps create green infrastructure in Honolulu’s urban watershed – check out their map of Ocean Friendly Gardens!

The City of Honolulu runs a Storm Drain Markers volunteer program that supports groups to mark City drainage structures with the messages ‘No Dumping, Drains to Ocean’ at catch basins and ‘Unclutter Gutters, Litter Harms Our Ocean’ along curbs to raises awareness that our rainwater doesn’t get treated – it flows straight into the streams, the Ala Wai Canal and the ocean. Check out their video to learn more!

The preliminary designs of the US Army Corps of Engineers Ala Wai Canal Project include a number of grey infrastructure measures, such as retention dams and basins, and in-stream debris catchment features in Makiki, Pālolo, and Mānoa, a flood berm around the Ala Wai Golf Course, and a flood wall along parts of the Ala Wai Canal.

Sustainable Coastlines is a community non-profit that organizes large scale, hands-on beach cleanups, including the Ala Wai Canal, coordinates marine plastic pollution education programs, and works to implement solutions to catch floating debris through technologies like the SeaBin and Trash Water Wheel.

Current regulation by the City & County’s Department of Planning and Permitting require new buildings to have green infrastructure features capable of capturing a certain amount of rainwater on site.

The City & County’s Department of Facilities Maintenance (DFM) 2016 Stormwater Management Program Plan addresses a range of issues such as green infrastructure maintenance, outreach and education, best practices for construction site runoff, street sweeping, and others that fall in the City’s area of responsibility. Check out their video to learn more!

The AWWC’s Working Group on Policy, Finance, and Infrastructure helps coordinate to raise awareness of the importance of green infrastructure and its maintenance needs.

Cover photo credit: Punahou School Rain Garden, PBR Hawaii & Associates Inc.

Climate Change Planning

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Climate change is impacting Hawaiʻi in many different ways, and the Ala Wai Watershed is no exception. Sea level rise is a threat to the coastal and low-lying areas, changes in rainfall patterns will result in more heavy rain events, while at the same time reducing the average rainfall that recharges our groundwater. Changing weather patterns make hurricanes more intense and their likelihood more difficult to predict. In addition to climate change considerations increasingly featuring in the decision making on infrastructure, long-term planning, and disaster preparedness, there are several initiatives and institutions who specifically address climate change on Oʻahu and in the Ala Wai Watershed.

Check out what your neighborhood or favorite beach looks like if the sea level rises by 6 feet! NOAA’s Sea Level Rise Viewer and PACIOOS’s Hawaiʻi Sea Level Rise Viewer allow you to simulate different scenarios of sea level rise.

The City & County of Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency is developing a Resilience Strategy supported by its membership in 100 Resilient Cities, an initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.

The City & County of Honolulu Climate Change Commission, which is staffed by the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency, was created in 2016 and is tasked with gathering the latest science and information on climate change impacts to Hawaiʻi and provide advice and recommendations to plan for future climate scenarios.

The State’s Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission (previously the Interagency Climate Adaptation Committee) was created in 2017 and is tasked with providing direction, facilitation, coordination and planning among state and county agencies, federal agencies, and other partners about climate change mitigation (reduction of greenhouse gases) and climate change resilience and adaptation strategies.

Planning for Climate Change is one of several components to be addressed in the ongoing update of the Primary Urban Center Development Plan (PUC DP) through the City & County’s Department of Planning and Permitting (the Ala Wai Watershed is located in the PUC). The PUC DP was last updated in 2004 and is one of eight Development Plans that help implement the overall Oʻahu General Plan.

Planning for the Ala Wai watershed’s water demand and supply, future water demands, and supply options to meet those demands is addressed in the Board of Water Supply’s Primary Urban Center Watershed Management Plan (PUC WMP), prepared by Townscape Inc. The PUC WMP is a holistic watershed management plan that addresses the health and inter-relationships of land and water resources within the 105 square miles of urban Honolulu. This plan is in the drafting and public input phase and considers the climate impacts of changing rainfall, temperatures, and sea level rise as far out as the year 2100.

Some adaptation measures, in particular to sea level rise, may require adjustments to the City & County’s Land Use Ordinance (LUO).

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was asked to develop the Ala Wai Canal Project to reduce the impacts of a 100-year flood caused by heavy rains overflowing the streams and canal, which will become more likely due to climate change. Although the project was not conceived to address sea level rise, the preliminary designs take into account an intermediate sea level rise scenario of 2.5 feet by 2075 and 4 feet by 2125.

The Waikīkī Beach Special Improvement District Association (WBSIDA) facilitates coordinated management and long-term maintenance of Waikīkī Beach in the face of climate change impacts. Check out their list of ongoing projects, including beach profile and sediment studies, economic studies, and the Department of Land and Natural Resource’s plans to repair or replace the Royal Hawaiian Groin.

More information on partners and ongoing initiatives to plan for hazards related to climate change can be found in the Disaster Resilience and Infrastructure Planning sections.

The AWWC’s Working Group on Policy, Finance, and Infrastructure helps coordinate and raise awareness about how climate change considerations should be included in planning, infrastructure, and disaster preparedness decisions.

Cover photo credit: NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer

Invasive Species

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Invasive species outcompete native species in disturbed ecosystems, and they pose a number of threats to the Ala Wai Watershed. 1) Compared to native vegetation, invasive plants generally cause more runoff, which pollutes the streams with sediment and 2) reduces the recharge to our groundwater (The Ala Wai Watershed includes the Pālolo and part of the Nuʻuanu sector of the Honolulu Aquifer). 3) Invasive species and in particular albizia trees in the lower latitudes also create more storm damage and debris debris during a flood, because their trunks, branches, and roots are more likely to break off. 4) Feral pigs degrade the forest and their feces pollute the streams, and 5) invasive catfish are the most common invasive fish in the streams, outcompeting the native ʻoʻopu and others that are critical to the balance of our stream ecosystems.

The Ala Wai Watershed Association is a non-profit founded in 1996 that organizes volunteer, community education, and development activities, and conducts streambank restoration and research. This includes testing different restoration methodologies at Paradise Park in Mānoa to determine the impact of invasive vs. native vegetation on sediment runoff into the streams.

Nā Wai ‘Ekolu is a collective of educators from K-12 and higher education institutions along the Mānoa, Pālolo, and Makiki streams, who care deeply for their watershed through monitoring, research, restoration, and curriculum development with their students. This includes removing invasive catfish and improve the habitat for the native ʻoʻopu.

Almost all the upland forest in the watershed is managed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife and is designated as State Forest Reserve. Because of its comparatively good condition and lack of funding resources, the upland forest in the Ala Wai Watershed is not currently under active management for feral pig control or invasive management.

The Koʻolau Mountains Watershed Partnership (KMWP) is a voluntary alliance of major public and private landowners encompassing the Ko’olau range. Partners with lands located in the Ala Wai Watershed include DLNR DOFAW and the Board of Water Supply, and to a lesser extent Kamehameha Schools, Lyon Arboretum, and DHHL. The KMWP is one of multiple Watershed Partnerships in the State comprising the Hawaiʻi Alliance of Watershed Partnerships (HAWP)  whose kuleana span across property boundaries to preserve watershed function and address the invasive species that threaten the health of native Hawaiian forests.

The Lyon Arboretum Botanical Garden in Mānoa, run by the University of Hawaiʻi, offers not only research projects on native Hawaiian plants, conservation biology, and Hawaiian ethnobotany, but also community education and volunteer activities, as well as annual plant sales.

In 2018, the Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council (HISC) released the Strategic Plan for the Control and Management of Albizia in Hawaiʻi that  provides a framework to minimize the impacts of albizia on the environment, human health, and infrastructure.

The AWWC’s Working Group on Environmental Quality, Research and Science helps connect partners and activities in the Ala Wai Watershed that work on invasive species issues to identify priority areas and share best practices.

Cover photo credit: Nā Wai ʻEkolu and ʻIolani School

Place-Based Learning

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Place-based learning initiatives not only engage students in science, connect them to the ʻāina and ahupuaʻa they live in, and foster values of stewardship – they also help gather valuable environmental data that help inform watershed management decisions!

In 2010, ‘Iolani School, located between the mouths of the Mānoa, Makiki, and Pālolo Streams, began to observe, collect, and analyze data in and around the Ala Wai Canal and the streams that feed it.  Named the Ala Wai Watershed Project, students continue to engage in real-world research that contributes to the understanding of the current state of the watershed and to the development of responses and solutions.  In addition to independent research, students in ‘Iolani School’s Robotics classes have built a remote-controlled Ala Wai Catamaran and several iterations of drones to collect water samples from the Ala Wai Canal for water quality analysis in the lab.  ‘Iolani School also convenes Nā Wai ‘Ekolu, educators from institutions throughout the watershed, working closely with stream biologists and researchers at the University of Hawai’i.  Nā Wai ‘Ekolu aims to inspire and encourage schools that care deeply for their place through curriculum development and work in the streams and communities that surround them.

Nā Wai ‘Ekolu is a collective of educators from K-12 and higher education institutions along the Mānoa, Pālolo, and Makiki streams, who care deeply for their watershed through monitoring, research, restoration, and curriculum development with their students.

The University of Hawaiʻi SMART Ala Wai initiative brings together faculty, teachers, and students to develop a network of water quality sensors that gathers continuous data throughout the watershed.

Education Incubator is an education non-profit, and its Moonshot Lab Hawaiʻi (MSLHI) encourages innovation and creativity of students through project-based learning that is grounded in their specific community and culture.

Welina Mānoa is a free online resource platform for educators, including learning modules and lesson plans featuring site visits to Lyon Arboretum, Mānoa Heritage Center, Ka Papa Loʻi ʻo Kānewai, and Waikīkī Aquarium. Welina Mānoa sites and a follow up classroom lesson plan.

The Hawaiʻi Nature Center is an environmental education non-profit located in Makiki that connects students and their families with nature through immersive outdoor learning activities.

The Mānoa Heritage Center is a non-profit that promotes an understanding of the cultural and natural heritage of Hawaiʻi. It includes Kūkaʻōʻō Heiau, the the last remaining intact Hawaiian temple in the greater ahupua‘a of Waikīkī.

The University of Hawaiʻi’s Institute for Sustainability and Resilience (ISR) partners with communities across Hawaiʻi to foster multidisciplinary curricular programs that empower students to address challenges to sustainability and resilience, such as the Ala Wai Watershed.

Hālau Kū Māna is a charter school located in Makiki with a strong place-based curriculum including stewardship of the Makiki Stream that runs through its campus.

Hawaiʻinuiākea, the School of Hawaiian Knowledge of the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa stewards an area of taro patches and native trees and shrubs, Ka Papa Loʻi ʻo Kānewai, along Mānoa stream, and offers many volunteer and educational opportunities.

The Lyon Arboretum Botanical Garden in Mānoa, run by the University of Hawaiʻi, offers not only research projects on native Hawaiian plants, conservation biology, and Hawaiian ethnobotany, but also community education and volunteer activities, as well as annual plant sales.

The Hawaiʻi Exemplary State Initiative of the University of Hawaiʻi envisions a statewide effort in which K-12 schools in their respective ahupua’a  participate in place-based STEM collaborations and systems thinking, and has identified the Ala Wai Watershed as a pilot area.

Education Incubator is an education non-profit, and its Moonshot Lab Hawaiʻi (MSLHI) encourages innovation and creativity of students through project-based learning that is grounded in their specific community and culture

Did we miss something? The AWWC’s Working Group on Culture, Education, and Community Engagement appreciates your help in making us aware of other groups and initiatives in the Ala Wai Watershed that have place-based learning programs.

Cover photo credit: Nā Wai ʻEkolu and ʻIolani School