We always hear the term, that Rome wasn't built in a day, especially when we are trying to do something that would require EFFORT.
Central Middle School, located in Honolulu at the top of Bishop Street is trying to make such an effort. Now don't get me wrong, I'd be the first to say that they are not the first school to try and initiate something like this for their students, nor do anticipate them being the last. I'm focused on this school because they are located in the heart of Honolulu, the business district, where everyone lives, works, eats and sleeps. So, if a change can be made in this type of environment, why can't it be made in EVERY environment.
If you're reading this article, I'm guessing you may be one that did not have a STEM program in your school (I know I didn't..trying not to reveal my age LOL). What is a STEM program you ask? It's a program that is based on the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (S.T.E.M.). Central Middle School is giving students a taste of what their future could be like if they pursue a career in this field along with teaching them basic fundamentals of creating a green garden of their own! Gosh, I only could wish I had the opportunity to learn how to do this while in school. These students are so lucky!
The students that are enrolled in this program are in the sixth grade and taught by Mrs. Becky Moylan (STEM program educator at Central Middle School).
I met with Becky to talk about her GROWING program and her thoughts on the future of the program.
Becky is such a delight. She walked me over to the student-tended garden and greenhouse that sat near the road. I peaked over the fence line and saw cars driving in and out of downtown Honolulu. I was taken back a bit as I would NEVER assume that something like this garden would be growing in the concrete jungle of Honolulu.
Vegetables, fruits and flowers of all species could be found in this little Garden of Eden. Becky showed me carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, marigolds, pineapples and so much more! You could tell the pride that she held as she educated ME on the program, the students and the strives that they faced (and conquered) through this first year of growth. She said the students learn everything from care taking, plant transplanting and even a variety of ways to grow plants.
Speaking of growth, let me tell you about their "aquaculture and hydroponics" that is managed by Becky and the 6th grade classes. In fact, why tell you when I can show you!
(above and below) under the dark canopy next to the garden is a new addition to their STEM program...the hydroponics and aquaculture consortium (as I call it...LOL)! Here you'll find towers of hydroponic planters that are growing vegetation.
Next up, you'll find photos of the actual aquaponic system that is being used to grow plants at Central Middle School.
You must be wondering, what is aquaponics? Well, because I'm not even close to being a STEM educator and I'm more of a visual learner, below is a good way to gain a better understanding.
Becky told me that the program is doing well (for it's first year) and although it's still in it's infancy stages, she expects it to get even better as time goes by. I can only imagine that this summer is going to be her time to get things ready for the upcoming school year! I wish her the very best of luck!
Although Becky is the teacher of this program, she said this whole operation couldn't have been done without the help of the Rotary Club of Downtown Honolulu. She said that they provided countless hours of assistance in the construction of the garden, their donation of plant compactors and funds to purchase plants to nurture and grow. She wanted me to express her deep appreciation for their hard work and dedication to the community!
By now you must be wondering...so what does this have to do with SUPPORTING SMALL LOCAL BUSINESSES?
I wanted to showcase this program within the community as I believe that through this "type" of program, we're encouraging our youth to think outside the box and try their hand at growing their own produce. Hopefully, this would inspire more young adults to pursue studies in this field and dare to make a change to improve our environment, community and possibly encourage us to eat healthier.
WANT TO MAKE A DONATION?
Becky is also looking for donations to help the school's program. She said anything from gardening tools, mulch, plants, anything that they could possibly use in their garden would be greatly appreciated.
Please contact Becky or Principal Anne-Marie Murphy at Rebecca_Moylan@notes.k12.hi.us and Anne_Marie_Murphy@notes.k12.hi.us