Kaua‘i students present scientific, cultural significance of Palapalai fern

The students of Na Pua No‘eau Kaua‘i Pathways Project recently traveled to O‘ahu to present their project, “An Ethnobotanical Study of Palapalai Fern in the Ahupua‘a of Waipa Kaua‘i,” at the native Hawaiian Education Association conference held at Leeward Community College.

The students — Levi Silva, Kyle Kaona, Tania Moribe, Jolene Lee-Hornstine, Shaleah Rodero-Workman, Steevy-Rae Tavita, and Seanne Andrade — participated in an intensive study of palapalai fern in which they took surveys, researched cultural uses, and found solutions to help regenerate the population of palapalai fern in Waipa. The students presented their findings to an audience of students, teachers, organizations, and kupuna.

The Na Pua No‘eau Pathways Project is a year-round extracurricular activity that is deeply focused on science and saturated with the Hawaiian culture. It is funded by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and is dedicated to getting more Hawaiian students into the field of science.

This year, the Na Pua No‘eau is offering a two-week residential education enrichment program at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Classes are open to students in grade 6 through 12. The classes offered are Hawaiian Volcanoes, Rocks & Rolls, Papa Malama Kai, Caring for your Ocean Resources and Mai Na Kupuna Mai, Orgins of our Universe from the Eyes of our Kupuna.

A native Hawaiian component is integrated into the class to provide students with Hawaiian role models, culture, values, history, protocol, and language. The classes are designed to expose students to a “living classroom” with hands-on experiences in science, cultural activities and personal development.

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