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