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Maui County Farm Bureau hosts 15 schools at its annual Agriculture in the Classroom field trip 

By Staff | Jun 1, 2017

Students from Princess Nahi‘ena‘ena Elementary in Lahaina and 14 other schools learned about agriculture during Maui County Farm Bureau’s Agriculture in the Classroom field trip. 

MAKAWAO – Maui County Farm Bureau (MCFB) recently concluded its 2016-17 Agriculture in the Classroom program with an annual field trip held at Oskie Rice Arena in Makawao.

It was two days devoted to agriculture education for second-graders, teachers and chaperones representing 15 schools and nearly 1,000 students.

MCFB and its agriculture partners, including the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Haleakala Ranch Company, East Maui Watershed, Maui Electric Company, Maui Soil & Water Conservation Districts, and Monsanto Hawaii, organized six activity stations.

The school groups traveled Upcountry from as far as Hana and Lahaina. For some students, it was their first time Upcountry.

The participating schools included Wailuku Elementary, Carden Academy, Doris Todd Schools, Paia Elementary, Pukalani Elementary, Montessori-Makawao, St. Anthony School, Princess Nahi’ena’ena Elementary, Hana, Kahului, Lihikai, Haiku, Makawao, Pu’u Kukui, and Maui Adventist.

“Our Ag in the Classroom Field Trip is definitely one of the highlights of the year,” said Warren K. Watanabe, executive director, Maui County Farm Bureau.

“The program is a priority for MCFB, and it’s important for us and our ag partners to introduce agriculture to the youth of Maui. We hope to plant a seed about a future career in ag.”

One of the popular activity stations is the livestock station with Greg Friel of Haleakala Ranch Company. Friel is well-known for working with sheep and goats to move cattle and control invasive species. He explained how the animals help him on the ranch.

The East Maui Watershed activity station led by Jordan Jokiel is hands-on fun. During his presentation, Jokiel explained his work to protect native Hawaiian flora, fauna and birds from extinction, and the students got their hands dirty by making “seed balls.”

These are five cent-size balls made of moist dirt and seeds. The seed balls are taken into watershed areas and planted as part of the East Maui Watershed’s reforestation project.

Learning is always fun with the educators from Maui Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Maui Electric Company, Monsanto Hawaii and College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

MSWCD focuses on conserving our soil and water resources. They built two exhibits. The first was a trough with soil in it for the students to feel and observe. They were able to look for components that make up soil, such as rocks, plant matter and critters like earthworms. The second exhibit was a soil tunnel that was constructed to represent being underground. Students went through the soil tunnel to gain an appreciation and understanding of our soil profile.

MECO and Monsanto Hawaii ran activity stations centered on parts of plants. Students in the Monsanto Hawaii station played with soil. Using individual potted plants, students removed soil to uncover roots and were shown how to identify other parts of the plants.

MECO focused on nutrition with a lesson plan about fruits and vegetables that grow above and below the ground and the importance of including fruits, vegetables and grains in our daily diet. The students enjoyed chilled Maui Gold pineapples.

CTAHR’s activity station focused on canoe crops – the first food plants brought to the Hawaiian Islands. Students were introduced to the concept of food grown on Maui and made into value-added food products like banana bread.

Schools may apply for the AIC program by contacting MCFB via their website at www.mauicountyfarmbureau.org.