Pilina—connection, is the foundation of community. The stronger the connection, the more resilient our communities become. The NOAA B-WET (Bay Watershed Education Training) project has been an amazing opportunity for Mānoa Heritage Center to strengthen our pilina with like-minded education organizations throughout the Waikīkī Ahupua‘a watershed. See the list below of the new and pre-established friendships made and strengthened through this B-WET journey.
Back in January 2020, just before the state-wide shutdown halted all in-person gatherings, the B-WET cohort members engaged in what the UH Mānoa College of Education STEMS2 program refers to as a Learning Journey. Learning Journeys take a casual “field trip” to a deeper level of community partnership. It calls for a more meaningful experience between the students and the place they are visiting. Teachers and community partners design tailored experiences where the students do not just visit a place once, but instead, become a part of and contribute to the growth of the place or organization ultimately giving students agency in their sense of place. Whether it be through improvement projects for the community organization or the community organization serving as a resource for student-led projects, Learning Journeys allow space for relationships to flourish around a common physical space with the goal of a healthy social and environmental ecosystem.
MHC is delighted to strengthen our pilina with 4th and 5th-grade teachers and students at Queen Ka‘ahumanu Elementary School to create a virtual tour of our site. Special Education Resource Teacher, Mary Bonnetty chose to take on this project to allow more inclusivity for students with a range of abilities. Feeling that it would be a service to students who are unable to navigate MHC’s rocky paths, Ms. Bonnetty cultivated faculty and student interest and applied for grants to acquire 360 VR production and implementation equipment to support her vision of inclusivity. What perfect timing to create such an experience when school culture has shifted to the virtual scene for every student! MHC docents will be taking the lead in guiding VR tour content and engaging with students to create an authentic MHC experience. Curriculum planning is still in progress but be on the lookout for further updates on our Learning Journey with Queen Ka‘ahumanu students!
We are also excited to collaborate with Noelani School 5th graders and teacher Wendy Gonsalves and her Learning Journey exploring the water of Mānoa Valley. Ms. Gonsalves is interested in using a STEMS2 lens—using science and culture to examine the stories or mo‘olelo (past, present, and future) of the watershed.
We want to extend a big MAHALO to the following institutions who participated in Cohort 1. You made this work fun.
We share with you the feelings of the pilina developed in this NOAA B-WET project through a video recap presented by Arvydas Pauliukas. Our work with Cohort 2 will begin in October 2020. If you know a teacher who may be interested in participating, please let us know!