‘Navigating Change’ at Ke Kula Ni‘ihau O Kekaha workshop

Teachers, families, and guests of Ke Kula Ni‘ihau O Kekaha recently experienced a different way of looking at professional development by participating in an all-day workshop at Salt Pond park.

The “Navigating Change” curriculum was written to raise awareness of environmental decline occurring in the main Hawaiian Islands, and the developers of the curriculum were invited to share their knowledge and expertise with teachers by confronting them with real-life environmental issues outside the traditional classroom. In this way, teachers were shown how to take the curriculum out of the binder and actually implement it in the field.

Opening the session at 8 a.m., Hawaiian protocol included chants and hula presented by students of Ke Kula Ni‘ihau O Kekaha under the direction of Lopaka Bukoski. A special guest for the day was a Hawaiian monk seal that clambered up onto the beach just a short way from the site of the program and remained there the entire day.

Activities during the day included acting out the actual extent of the Hawaiian Islands, not just the main islands. Then a 20-minute fish count was conducted by the participants to identify the variety and quantity of fish species present at Salt Pond. It was determined that manini and weke were the most numerous.

Other activities included a reef walk led by retired teacher Takeshi Fujita in order to determine the health of the reef and learn to “throw net” while emphasizing the importance of using nets with regulation-size eyes in a workshop led by teachers Kalei Shintani, Keahi Warfield and Attwood “Maka” Makanani. Makanani also shared traditional Hawaiian values, such as taking only what can be used and learning to develop a reciprocal relationship with the ocean and its creatures.

Students got a taste of fishing from a canoe borrowed from Makanani and lifeguard Dave Duncan, and they even got in a little canoe surfing when the waves were breaking just right.

During the evening, informational presentations were made by a variety of presenters.

David Boynton made a PowerPoint presentation about his stay on the island of Nihoa, and Ann Bell of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did a presentation about the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, often referred to as the Kupuna Islands since they are the oldest islands in the Hawaiian archipelago.

Kekuewa Kikiloi of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve gave a presentation on the cultural aspects of the Kupuna Islands as related in ancient chants as well as identifying research that gives clues to the ancient names of the islands now generally identified only by English names, often those of the names of captains whose ships ran aground on the islands or reefs.

The evening wrapped up with a presentation of celestial navigation by Kayiulani Murphy, a navigator on the Hokulea, who shared wayfinding skills she learned from her teachers, especially Papa Mau Piailug, generally considered the father of modern Hawaiian celestial navigation.

The entire event was videotaped by Koohan “Camera” Paik and Jasmin Camara in order to share the experience with other learning communities who may want to navigate change in teachers’ professional development.

For educators who would like a copy of the “Navigating Change” curriculum binder, a few copies are still available at Ke Kula Ni‘ihau O Kekaha and may be requested on a first-come, first-served basis by calling administrator Haunani Seward at 337-0481.

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