Environmental studies project planned on Westside

Some west Kaua’i youths wanting to learn more on how to protect the environment have turned to the Waimea Higashi Hongwanji Church for pointers.

The church has offered a slew of projects that have enabled the youths to find out about environmental resources and why it is important to protect them, according to the Rev. Noriaki Fujimori of Waimea Higashi.

In addition, youths and older folks from Kaua’i and the rest of the state have gotten to learn about environmental protection programs in Japan through cultural exchange programs, Fujimori said.

The church-sponsored projects will help participants become better stewards of the land in Hawai’i, he said.

Last week, five or six teenagers from the church and west Kaua’i visited the Kaua’i Resource Center in Lihu’e to track recyclable materials, and plan to visit the Kaua’i Water Department to identify water resources, Fujimori said.

The next step after that involves mapping of those water resources and trees, the purpose of which is to identify “areas for protection,” Fujimori said.

All of the information will be presented at a meeting of a Buddhist council scheduled at the church on Dec. 8, he said. About 1,200 people, all from Kaua’i, are expected to attend.

In January, with the help of Fujimori’s church, youths from Kaua’i will be visiting Waipio on the Big Island to talk with Hawaiian groups about their culture and their approach to conservation, Fujimori said.

For at least two days during the same trip, 28 people from Hokkaido, Japan will be talking with the same Hawaiian groups, Fujimori said. The same group will then be staying at individual homes on Kaua’i.

The church has been sponsoring student exchange programs for a few years. This past June, seven Kaua’i people and three people from Hilo, ranging from ten years of age to their 80s, joined Fujimori for a ten-day trip to Hokkaido.

The group, which stayed at Buddhist temples , got a glimpse of Japan’s people, history and culture, Fujimori said.

Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and mailto:lchang@pulitzer.net

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