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Teachers from Hawai’i public schools can apply for Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation Project Grants to help advance their environmental education goals. Previous grantees have used KHF funds for garden supplies, eco-footprint workshops, vermicompost trainings, and more. One school has raised enough worms to start a commercial-scale vermicomposting bin for their campus food waste!

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Pre-KinderGARDEN for ʻEwa Keiki

ʻEwa Elementary School

The "Pre-Kinder GARDEN for Ewa Keiki" branched from a vermicomposting project that Ewa Elementary School's Pre-Kindergarten teacher, Akeyo Garcia, started in her classroom. Vermicomposting demonstrates how worms contribute to the ecosystem, Garcia says "My students have been excited about planting to attract more bees and butterflies (pollinators)..." She had students help design the garden by choosing 9 plants to grow. They worked together to build their rot-resistant garden beds in their classroom. Then, with the help of parents, they moved it outdoors to lay the soil and plant the seedlings. They also kept some moistened seeds in their greenhouse to observe plant growth, which they used a hand-held microscope to study closely. The garden has impacted their school community and the families that visit campus. "One grandma came to my class and gave me a seedling of a giant tomato to plant in our garden one morning. She thought that it will (sic) be fun for our kids to see how fast it grows," say Garcia. "I am planning to apply for another grant to expand my project because my neighboring classrooms each want one!" They plan to compare how well plants grow with vermicast and without vermicast, to measure how beneficial worms can be for gardens.