Growing a Garden at HTA Maui
Maui HTA Gardening Club members met with Professor Cynthia at her UH Master Gardener Lab on Friday. This was her culminating activity for her budding HTA student gardeners, who she has guided and advised for the past semester. This initiative started when Mr. Wu needed more ideas for engaging student clubs for our very first year at our Learning Center. Previously, we had no real "home" as we were just renting classroom space from Maui Community School for Adults. But our new space is located in the heart of Wailuku town, a sort of concrete jungle with very little green space. In fact, the only view we have out of our Learning Center is one of the municipal parking lot.
We wanted to make our students feel welcome and to introduce some greenery to our school. On the side of our building is a dirt corridor and soon dreams and images of flowers and plants sprung up. What can grow there? Especially with the shadow of our six-story building blocking most of the day's sun. The first step is to ask the experts. I have worked with Nancy Ooki of 4-H Youth Development Programs at UH Manoa Extension, Maui County so I inquired if an expert can come analyze the situation. I was pleasantly surprised that I was connected with Dr. Cynthia Nazario-Leary, PhD in Urban Horticulture. How lucky! She graciously agreed to come inspect our site and we came up with possibilities. We decided on a raised garden and came up a list of plants that might do well with the indirect and infrequent sunshine.
With approval from our new landlords, redwood, hardware, and soil were purchased and students were put in charge of building the 8'x8' planter. A few math lessons were thrown in. All the work was done by students, as was the planting. Dr. Cynthia continued her training and leading of our student gardeners to ensure success of the garden. She planned and delivered lessons on plant physiology and needs, soil science, and the scientific method. Students were soon charting their plants growth from germination to, hopefully, maturity! We'll see...
Jun Wu, HTA Maui Middle School Teacher
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