Mighty Seed plants roots

Thanks to a grant from Young Brothers, the Mighty Seed Learning Center is able to build its first open-air classroom, or learning hut, on Retro Farms, a non-profit farm in Moloa‘a Bay View lots, a news release states.

The learning huts will be gazebo-type structures where the students can enjoy environmental lessons that correspond with their field experience. The first hut will replace a temporary shade structure that served as protection from the elements during the first field experiences that were conducted at the learning center last fall. It will also represent the first permanent structure of the learning center.

“We are teaching them lessons about respecting the ‘aina that will not only change the way they view the land, but encourages them to pass the message on to friends and family as well. Everyone benefits,” said farm director Mary Ellen Houston.

Nearly 100 North shore students participated in the fall 2010 program titled “Pollinators in Paradise.” Students from Kanuikapono Charter school and Kaua‘i Christian Academy received three weeks of in-classroom lesson plans which prepared them for their field experience at the learning center.

When the students begin the program and are asked what they think of when they see a bee, most of them relate to the sting of a bee. At the end of the program, they are able to discuss how bees find nectar sources, communicate this information to the rest of the hive, how their nectar gathering pollinates plants and how they make honey, the release states.

Most importantly, they realize that without bees and other pollinators, most of the food we eat would not get pollinated and therefore would not exist, the release states. The program culminated with a field trip where the students designed and planted their individual school pollinator gardens with native plants. The gardens will provide an ongoing learning resource for the students to visit each year and observe growth and the habits of the pollinators that are attracted to their garden. They each have a pollinator journal to record their observations.

The Fall 2012 programs will be offered in October and November. The focus for the students who already participated in the Pollinators in Paradise program will be the Friends in the Forest Program where the students explore the three acre natural forest located on the farm. The program will include three weeks of in classroom lessons followed by a field experience at the farm.

The Pollinators in Paradise program will be offered on a continuing basis for new schools or youth group programs who wish to participate. The Mighty Seed Learning center will offer a new program every year to provide ongoing field trip opportunities for participating schools, while continuing to offer previous programs to new schools. The programs are available to all island schools and various youth groups.

Contact the learning center for more information at retrofarms@gmail.com.

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