Students excited about ag

WAILUA — Ed Kawamura found a new way to get young people excited, and worm ranching was something new, Thursday during the 21st annual Ag and Environmental Awareness Day at the Wailua Research Station.

“Look at this,” Kawamura said. “I have all the different tools cut into strips. The kids have to choose a slip and go stand next to the tool that’s on the paper.”

Kawamura was one of nearly 24 vendors taking up the display area where students scrambled for answers for premiums.

More than 625 students in the fifth grade from all parts of the island including the public schools, charter and private schools, and home school students converged at the Wailua Research Station, taking in a series of mini interactive lectures as well as gleaning information in the display area.

“This year, we decided we would be a lecturer,” said Kim Tamaoka of the Department of Water. “It’s not as wild and crazy as being a vendor. We have lessons we can use from Project WET and we try to show how water plays a role in agriculture.”

Brad Carter of Wiki Wiki Worm Ranch was another first-year presenter, getting screams of “Worm Pee!” when showing off bottles of tea created by earthworms.

“These aren’t the same kind of worms I bring home from work for my farm,” said Tabitha Kauakahi, a presenter on home gardening from the Kauai Nursery and Landscaping. “Brad said these worms are more active and aren’t the ones you find in the ground. Those are not as productive. These live in cow manure. We’d like to start one at work.”

Josh Silva and the Master Gardener volunteers offered their students an opportunity at plant propagation, including creating pots from recycled newspapers, or rooting plants by cuttings.

Rodney Haraguchi of Hanalei Taro talked about plant challenges and trying to balance a business while living with endangered bird species.

“It is really nice to see how excited these students get about all things agriculture,” said Saundri Harris, partnering with Kauakahi at the home gardening station. “I love teaching them about new things.”

Ag and Environmental Day is presented by the University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, and the Kauai County Farm Bureau with help from the County of Kauai, DuPont Pioneer and the Kauai Economic Development Board.

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