Maui schools teach tree planting as part of the Lā Ho‘oulu Pae Moku / ReTree Hawaiʻi campaign
The annual November Lā Ho‘oulu Pae Moku / ReTree Hawaiʻi campaign to inform about the climate crisis and encourage planting activities across the state is finding increased interest in the schools this year.
The school closings and restrictions on on-site activities during the COVID-19 pandemic made participation difficult, but no longer, according to organizers.
Some schools are starting or expanding school gardens, some are planning for field trips for the students to help plant trees with the many conservation organizations on the island, and many will be sending home a native Hawaiian plant with each student to plant at home.
“Retree Hawaiʻi is a fantastic program,” said Brit Oliphant at Kula Elementary School. “This is the second year in which they have provided our 4th graders at Kula Elementary with a hands on experience with native plants. This year is particularly special as each student in 4th grade (approximately 80 kids) is getting to take a plant home. In 4th grade, we spend a lot of time teaching our students the importance of preserving native species, so this is a fantastic way for our students to take ownership of their learning while connecting with their community, place and culture.”
Fellow teacher, Mary Dickson at Pukalani Elementary School said, “Students should plant because they are putting hands in and on their future. They touch the food and walls for tomorrow. There is joy and life in this.”
“If there were ever a moment in the story of human civilization when botanical biodiversity
translated to the survival of our species, that precipitous moment is now, in this decade,” said Jeffrey Friedman at Haleakalā Montessori School. “Putting plants in the hands of keiki and the hands of keiki in the earth results in a beautiful experience of owning that responsibility within the web of life.”
Carden Academy’s Marissa Kennedy said having children involved in the process of planting trees is an important responsibility. “It helps students grow (pun intended) an understanding of one of the things they have to do to leave the planet better for the next generation.”
Lā Ho‘oulu Pae Moku / ReTree Hawaiʻi encourages trees and other plants everywhere possible,
to absorb carbon dioxide and store the carbon in the ground while releasing oxygen for us to
breathe, slow or stop soil erosion and stormwater runoff and provide shade and a healthy
environment for people and animals.
Learn more at retree-hawaii.org and find a place where you can plant.