Maui Business

Maui Schools Receive Funding for Conservation Projects

March 20, 2017, 12:03 PM HST
* Updated March 20, 12:06 PM
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Select schools on Maui will be going green with the help of funding from Kupu and Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation’s inaugural Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge mini-grant program.

The funding will support students at Lahainaluna High School, Montessori School of Maui and Seabury Hall to help implement their innovative project proposals, which include ahupua‘a education, a vermicompost tea brewer and an environmentally friendly dry erase marker project.

Students at Kahului Elementary with their plant starts. Photo courtesy of Grow Some Good.

“We’re really excited to be able to support Maui students in developing unique ways to mālama ‘āina,” said John Leong, CEO of Kupu. “Our youth are the next generation of environmental stewards and community leaders in our state, and hopefully projects like these, inspire and empower them to continue to create sustainable solutions for a better, more resilient Hawai‘i.”

A total of 25 schools across the state will receive funding to implement new and innovative environmental projects that raise sustainability awareness and practices in schools and their communities.

The mini-grant program is supporting the following school projects in Maui:


Lahainaluna High School’s “Ho‘okuleana Lahaina” program offers an opportunity for students in any grade to visit ahupua‘a, meet the kupuna that care for them, learn about the history and science of the environment, and how to care for the ahupua‘a systems they live in.


Montessori School of Maui’s 7th and 8th graders will be designing and building a solar-powered vermicompost tea brewer to produce tea with increased healthy microbes, that can be used to nourish soil with healthy bacteria.

Seabury Hall 11th grader Jun Cai’s project, “A Marker Towards Sustainable Classrooms,” will replace all disposable dry erase markers on campus with refillable, environmentally friendly markers through calculating conversions of teachers’ daily use of the markers.

“The Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge has allowed us to further connect with and empower Hawai‘i’s students to carry out innovative and much-needed projects to address their vision for a healthy, sustainable future,” added Natalie McKinney, Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation executive director. “We are inspired by their creativity and look forward to seeing the outcomes of their projects. For over a decade, Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation’s Mini-Grant Program has funded these types of projects in and out of the classroom. We are honored and proud to work with our many partners on the HYSC to reach even more Maui students.”


The Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge was first announced by First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress and is dedicated to inspiring youth to be intentionally engaged with the environment through action, advocacy and education.

“I’m thrilled to see so many students throughout the state engage in the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge, and even more excited to support their creativity and environmental stewardship through this IUCN Legacy Initiative,” said First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige. “These students are agents of change in their own communities, helping us to promote the importance of our natural resources, while implementing innovative projects that will help preserve the beauty of our environment for generations to come. Congratulations to all the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge mini-grant recipients.

For more information about the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge, click here.

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