Community

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

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

Systems Thinking

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Managing a modern urban watershed like the Ala Wai Watershed in a sustainable and holistic way requires systems thinking. Before western colonization, Hawaiians managed resources holistically and efficiently, sustaining a level of population comparable to today through the ahupua‘a system – traditional divisions of land that provided a foundation for stewardship, governance, and sense of place. A number of organizations and initiatives in the watershed are working to uplift the systems thinking and indigenous knowledge of Native Hawaiian natural resource management, stewardship, and connection to place.

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 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. Nainoa Thompson, president of the PVS, and David Lassner, president of the University of Hawaiʻi, launched the Make the Ala Wai Awesome Challenge in 2016.

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.

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 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.

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 promote systems thinking.

Cover photo credit: Mānoa Heritage Center

Storytelling

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The work of the AWWC’s members and partners in the watershed is both an environmental endeavor and a cultural endeavor. Stories connect the two.

Estria Foundation’s Mele Murals Project tells the stories of the place through murals painted by students. Check out the beautiful murals at Jarrett Middle School, Palolo Elementary, Kuhio Elementary, and Kaimuki High School.

The Mānoa Heritage Center is a non-profit that promotes an understanding of the cultural and natural heritage of Hawaiʻi. It includes a Native Hawaiian botanical garden, a Visitor Education Hale, and a Hawaiian star compass driveway for wayfinding and celestial navigation.

Kūka‘ō‘ō Heiau on the grounds of the Mānoa Heritage Center is last intact heiau (ancient temple) in the greater ahupuaʻa (land division) of Waikīkī.

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.

Did we miss something? The AWWC’s Working Group on Culture, Education, and Community Engagement would love for you to tell your story and let us know if you know of additional storytelling initiatives.

Cover photo credit: Estria Foundation Mele Murals

Community Restoration

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Urbanization, channelization, and land-use change have dramatically affected the health of the Ala Wai Wathershed’s major streams (Mānoa, Palolo, and Makiki streams), and our access and connection to them. Throughout the watershed, schools, restoration non-profits, and neighborhood groups are stewarding these ecosystems and connecting people to the land through volunteering.

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.

Trees to Seas is a community education and restoration non-profit that does stream cleanups in Palolo Valley, and reef cleanups with SCUBA equipment.

Mālama Mānoa is a community organization that has adopted a part of Mānoa Stream to keep it clean and prevent non-biodegradable materials from entering the ocean and harming marine life.

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.

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.

Smart Trees Pacific is a non-profit that administers the state’s Citizen Forester Program, which trains volunteers to plant urban trees using an interactive street-tree map inventory.

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 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 AWWC’s Working Group on Culture, Education, and Community Engagement as well as the Working Group on Environmental Quality, Research and Science help coordinate volunteer and restoration activities.

Cover photo credit: Ala Wai Watershed Association