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Reflections of 2020

Due to the current pandemic, all of our scheduled programming had to be cancelled for the summer and fall. We entered a hibernation mode for the summer time, shifting our focus to renovations and community building. Some wonderful improvements to our facilities include:

  • Brand new deck, ready to accommodate larger groups to enjoy outdoor dining & activities

  • New/Old entryways, connecting the old Mamalahoa Hwy to present usage

  • Silver oak gate : Our first beautiful example of using silver oak to build new infrastructure

  • Enhanced fertility system in the garden using ducks

Pilina - connecting to community

Over the summertime, we also focused on supporting local communities of the elderly and low income housing with the abundance of produce from our gardens. We were able to send out weekly donations of produce, filled with fresh, healthy, locally produced food. We are very happy that our gardens were used to keep our local communities fed through these hard times, and hope we can continue to contribute to the benefit of our community.

Program ʻIke Loa

In the midst of the pandemic, we were fortunate to offer a free summer program for keiki in the local community. ʻIke Loa was a day program that took place in July - over the course of four sessions. The keiki were eager to be outside and play. Check out our blog post for highlights from this program.

ʻAkahiao Ohana

In preparation for our future programming, we have brought in Liana Macdonald-Kainoa to join our ʻAkahiao ohana. She has joined us as the Community Outreach Coordinator and Cultural Liaison, bringing in much needed support in our local outreach and local knowledge. We expect a low start to 2021 in terms of programming, but intend on expanding our programs with local youth throughout the year. One of her first community integrated project is the SEL Project, a partnership with University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Waiakeawaena Elementary School.

SEL Project Update

We recently teamed up with the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Waiakeawaena Elementary School to co-create a third grade curriculum based in the HĀ framework. The framework emphasizes a child’s sense of kuleana (responsibility) and sense of belonging to the community (Hawaiʻi). We chose to bring awareness to sustainability because of limited natural resources. From that we have outlined a curriculum action plan that includes a series of lessons and activities that pertain to the topic. Planning and development is still underway but we have successfully completed our first activity worksheet which focuses on the importance of water. The worksheet is titled “Koʻu Pilina I Ka Wai” which means ʻmy relationship with water’. This activity is a three day water interaction log, to bring awareness to how water functions in their life. We hope to implement this project in the upcoming Spring term.

Before the pandemic was in full swing, we managed to offer three overnight programs in the Winter/Spring:

GLAD Program - Musashi University

2020 was the third year a group from Musashi University came back to Akahiao Nature Institute. Brian Masshardt and 7 of his students came as part of their GLAD Program (Global Leadership and Awareness Development) with this yearʻs theme being innovation, sustainability and social responsibility. Check out the blog page for more.

Heathwood Rustic Pathways

At the very beginning of March, we hosted a group of 14 high school students from Heathwood, North Carolina. They came as a part of our partnership with Rustic Pathways, a global organization specializing in socially responsible travel around the world. More on the blog page.

Kealakehe Culinary group with Karen Sheff

This was a very last minute group that came together amid the first cancellation of programs due to COVID. We are grateful that we were able to host this group and forge a strong alliance with Kealakehe HS and their culinary instructor extraordinaire, Karen Sheff. Check out the blog post for photos and highlights.


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