With the onslaught of climate change and increasing debate in Hawaii about environmental conservation and pollution, it’s more important than ever to teach younger generations about the environment. Kaiser’s Wipeout Crew (WOC) has been at the forefront of environmental education for younger students from feeder schools in the Kaiser complex.
The Wipeout Crew has been a major force in Kaiser’s community outreach efforts. “A couple of years ago, the Crew made some picture books [and a short film] about the work that we do and why it’s important,” said WOC president Jordan May. “Soon after, we received a couple of awesome messages from teachers… saying our mission inspired their [students] to help the environment.”
The younger members of the Kaiser complex have begun to form their own gardens and involve themselves with environmental conservation efforts. Hahaione’s Green and Blue Crew, which also participates in beach cleanups like the WOC, were featured earlier this month in the news for creating a machine that separates microplastics from sand. Meanwhile, at Niu Valley Middle School, teachers have begun to cultivate mini gardens outside their doors. “It’s super cool to see kids… involved in learning about ways we can live a more sustainable lifestyle at such a young age,” said May. “[Sustainability] is such an important lesson that [WOC] focuses on, so seeing [the younger students] get interested in caring for the environment is inspiring to us, too.”
WOC has also started to work directly with the feeder schools. Last year, the club put together an outreach team to talk to students at Koko Head Elementary about plastic pollution and reef-safe sunscreen. Students and their families were invited to volunteer in one of the WOC cleanups. “It was amazing to see how quickly the [younger students] learned from the issues we taught them about, and how eager they were to change their habits,” May said. “It made me wish that older people looked at sustainable efforts and issues from a [child’s] perspective.”
An event that has Hahaione and Koko Head bringing their students to Kaiser for a garden day is happening sometime soon. “That’s definitely [been] discussed, we just haven’t been able to do it yet.” said WOC advisor Paul Balazs, “That’s coming up though. It’s gonna be in the future.”
Contributed by Morgan Ku