Field Trips Landing Page


The Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation Field Trip Grant Program helps bring students to outdoor sites where they can experience hands-on learning about Hawaiʻi's environment. Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation offers financial assistance to Hawaiʻi public schools which otherwise could not afford to participate in environmental field trips. Most field trip locations provide hands-on learning experiences for students grades K-12 and offer educational tours that can be customized to any grade level.

Waiahole Nursery & Garden Center

Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu
Grade Levels Served: PreK - Grade 12

Waiahole Nursery & Garden Center (WNGC) was established as a vocational training center for students and young adults with autism and other special needs in 2008. WNGC opened its doors for retail in September 2009 and added the “farm-to-table” Garden Bistro, with food service, in 2015. WNGC offers two main field trips: 1) Jr. Aquaponic Gardener & 2) Native Plant Tour. They can also accommodate small groups for their “Farm-to-Table” Garden Bistro Tour.

The Jr. Aquaponic Gardener tour gives the students the opportunity to be aquaponics farmers for the day. With this program the students get hands-on training in seed planting, seedling planting (out planting into aquaponics system), and harvesting with food-safe practices. The students learn about the mechanics and biology of aquaponics gardens through demonstrations of bell siphons and get to assemble a working aquaponics unit. Water chemistry and testing is explored and students get to practice taking water samples and testing the pH of fish tanks. A fun game of “aquaponics tag” is played on our great lawn to help solidify the concepts of the nitrification cycle in aquaponics. Students also get to observe fish behavior and learn about the basic care and needs of the fish and get a chance to feed the fish (a favorite activity for all!). Finally, students get a chance to sample fresh veggies and herbs from the aquaponic garden at our Garden Bistro.

The Native Plant Tour explores the concepts of native, endemic, indigenous, and invasive plant species of Hawaii. Simple plant anatomy (mono-cot vs di-cot) is explained and students play a “geo-cashing” game to identify invasive and native species. Students get a chance to learn about a variety of common local and native plants and fruit trees. Hands-on activities include propagation of ti leafs & ginger/turmeric (olena) roots. Medicinal properties of edible plants are explored and legends of native plants are shared. A fun art lesson (painting, lei making, flower arranging, etc) is incorporated into the tour and students get to leave with the plant they propagated.

The culinary experience, “Garden of Eating,” is available to small groups (up to 12 participants). In this tour students learn the concept of “garden-to-plate” with hands-on activities in the garden and kitchen. Farm & food safety is reviewed with participants to educate students on the importance of sanitation in farming and cooking. The experience starts in the garden, where the students learn to plant seeds, plant seedlings into an aquaponics system and harvest vegetables and herbs. The journey continues in our Garden Bistro where the students talk about food and nutrition and come up with their own green smoothie recipe to try and taste! Finally, students will design their very own edible garden (based on what they learned about edible plants that grow well in Hawaii) and plan a dinner menu based on the “garden-to-table” concept.

Custom field trips can be requested and created based on teachers’ preferences and the goals of their classroom. Special accommodations can be made for disabled and handicapped populations.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 808-239-6311