News Releases - 2011
New Program Plants Seed for Local Hawaiian Students
Pacific Southwest Research Station/USDA Forest Service
Science that makes a difference. . .
Contact: Michael Sullivan, PSW Research Station Public Affairs, email@example.com; (510) 559-6434
HILO, Hawaii (8 April, 2011)—Students on the Island of Hawaii will get an opportunity to learn about native plants, ecological restoration and environmental sustainability, thanks to a new program funded through the USDA Forest Service’s More Kids in the Woods initiative.
The Forest Service recently awarded $33,000 to the Pacific Southwest Research Station and Pacific Southwest Region to launch the “Starts with a Seed” program with the goal of providing local community children of Hawaii Island greater opportunities to experience the great outdoors, learn about nature, and build a lasting commitment to conservation and land stewardship. The Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station and State and Private Forestry staff based at the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry in Hilo, Hawaii will work with community partners—who will contribute resources worth $40,000 to the program—to develop a program aimed at boosting environmental literacy for K-12 students attending public charter schools on east Hawaii Island. Students will take field trips to experience Hawaiian forests, grow native plants, help restore native bird habitats and learn about Hawaii’s rich ecology and culture through traditional storytelling. To facilitate these experiences, greenhouses located at the schools will also be refurbished or constructed, providing a working classroom for the students and a source of native planting materials.
"We'll get kids into the outdoors and into the forest. If they learn to love the views, the plants, the trails, and the planting projects when they're young, hopefully, they'll pass that appreciation and love for nature on to future generations," said Pat Manley, program manager of the Pacific Southwest Research Station’s Conservation of Biodiversity Program in Hilo.
The More Kids in the Woods program, now in its fifth year, is a competitive funding program for partnership projects that get kids outside and engaged in active, meaningful learning experiences. Projects focus on serving diverse youth and reaching under-served populations, using outdoor activities and nature-based learning to establish meaningful and lasting connections to nature and to improve children's health. Projects funded in 2010 reached more than 15,000 youth. This year, selected projects range from a mentoring program, to outdoor camps, to science education and experiments, to discovery and stewardship adventures, to programs that reach at-risk youth.
“The value of expanding our programs for children must not be underestimated,” said USDA Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Young people are tomorrow’s stewards of our public lands, and we have a duty to help them develop a lasting connection and passion for conservation of America’s great outdoors.”
The Pacific Southwest Research is headquartered in Albany, Calif. The station develops and communicates science needed to sustain forest ecosystems and other benefits to society. It has laboratories and research centers in California, Hawaii and the United States-affiliated Pacific Islands