Kawananakoa Middle School Native Tree Planting Project

Kawananakoa Middle School principal Sandy Ishihara-Shibata (left) wields an o'o to plant an ohia lehua tree while Prince Kawananakoa (middle), and Alapaki Luke (right) wait their turns.

Kawananakoa Middle School principal Sandy Ishihara-Shibata (left) wields an o’o to plant an ohia lehua tree while Prince Kawananakoa (middle), and Alapaki Luke (right) wait their turns.

Thanks to a grant from Kaulunani Urban & Community Forestry Program and the efforts of Lester Inouye and Drew Braley of Lester Inouye & Associates, Kawananakoa Middle School now has 24 new native trees growing on campus.

“This has really been a huge coordination effort between us and the school,” Lester commented, “but I have to say, I’m very happy with the results.”

The entire student body (880 students) of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders attended lectures about the importance of trees and training on how to plant trees given by industry leaders from Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii (Chris Dacus), The Outdoor Circle (Mary Steiner), American Society of Landscape Architects Hawaii Chapter (Dr. Andy Kaufman and Drew Braley), Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program (Jackie Ralya and Teresa Trueman-Madriaga), the nursery industry (Rick Barboza), Aloha Arborist Association (Steve Nimz and Carol Kwan), and the City and County of Honolulu’s Division of Urban Forestry (Stan Oka and Brandon Au), during the three weeks prior to the tree planting.  Those same industry leaders were there along with Lester Inouye to guide the students as they planted the trees, assisted by over a dozen volunteers from Hawaiian Electric Company.  In addition, Green Thumb, Inc. provided men, materials, and equipment to assist with the planting and Kona Irrigation donated the irrigation equipment.

KWAN - Kawananakoa plant project           “We were greatly honored to have Prince Kawananakoa, a descendant of Prince David Kawananakoa for whom the school is named, participating in the ceremony as well,” added Lester.

Just to keep things interesting, the tree planting was held on Friday, May 6, 2011, during a week of stormy weather.  As the assembly prior to the tree planting was finishing, the skies opened up once again to flood the already soggy planting areas and many of the prepared planting holes.  The students took to the tree planting like ducks to water, bailing where necessary before and after planting the trees, and having a lot of fun in the process.

This project was made possible by Kaulunani, an Urban and Community Forestry KWAN - Kawananakoa plant projectProgram of the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the USDA Forest Service.




Carol Kwan is the President and Certified Arborist of Carol Kwan Consulting LLC.

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About the author  ⁄ Chauncey Hirose-Hulbert

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