There is an exciting new pilot project going on at Highlands Intermediate School in Pearl City, Hawaii. Thanks to a grant from the Pearl City Complex STEM Consortium, isisHawaii has partnered with Hapa Farms, the Hawaii Nutrition and Physical Activity Coalition (NPAC) and the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) to develop an intra-curricular science enrichment program for 7th and 8th graders.
Working with Highlands’ entire science department and under the strong leadership of Principal Amy Martinson, the Project Team will integrate core science concepts with hands-on activities that apply culture-based biology, botany, chemistry, physics, energy, economics and nutrition/health.
New isisHawaii industry partner, Hapa Farms, specializes in innovative agriculture, namely aquaponic and static hydroponic farming. They believe in the importance of aquaponics as a sustainable agricultural method that can reduce Hawaii’s dependence on imported goods with little environmental impact. Hapa Farms is owned by Co-Executive Directors Reyn Horner and Sean Moura. Both were born and raised in Hawaii and have been in the land management and ecosystem restoration field for over five years.
Hapa Farms will be taking the role of lead facilitator in isisHawaii’s newest pilot project at Highlands Intermediate School (HIS). Backed by research from the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture, Hapa Farms will work with HIS science teachers to apply classroom concepts in real-world application through aquaponics.
Initial phases of the pilot will introduce educators to science-based aquaponics – history, set up and types, research and alignment. Follow-up phases will involve student-directed activities and, possibly, collaborative research activities and community service projects.