Kids get hands-on with UH's Urban Garden Center

By Jill Kuramoto
Published On: Mar 11 2013 10:38:42 AM HST
Updated On: Mar 08 2013 01:23:00 PM HST

UH opened up its Urban Garden center to hundreds of school kids. The hands-on experience brought science and agriculture to 5th graders, an age group considered the most impressionable.

PEARL CITY, Hawaii -

The University of Hawaii at Manoa is banking on creating a new generation of environmental stewards by opening up their Urban Garden Center to hundreds of school kids on Friday.

It was all part of this year's Oahu Agriculture and Environmental Awareness Day.

For 600 public and private elementary school students, the center the classroom for the day.

The hands-on experience brought science and agriculture to 5th graders, an age group considered the most impressionable.

“We’d like to capture them, or at least peak their interest, at a point in their lives where they haven’t already made up their minds what they want to do,” said Charles Kinoshita, Associate Dean for the UH Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

Students and teachers were taking part in everything from animal science, to nutrition and wellness, to the importance on the protection against invasive species on agriculture.

“We don’t need them all to be farmers. We certainly need them all to be environmental stewards though,” said Kinoshita.  “We hoping that this will, in fact, be the future workforce that will support contemporary agriculture.”

At one exhibit where students were involved in a real-life plant biology experiment, Pearl Ridge Elementary School fifth grader, Caleb Caetano-Castro, explained what he discovered.

“We learned which plant, like when the bugs eat it, they die and which plant when the bugs eat it, they don’t die,” said Caetano-Castro.

PHOTOS: UH urban garden in Pearl City

Mobile users can click here to see photos from the students' day at the Urban Garden Center.

When asked if he was interested in becoming a scientist, Caetano-Castro was enthusiastic.

“Yeah, it’d be nice to find interesting things, like cures and stuff,” he said.

“To see that spark, to see somebody say, ’Oh yeah, I really get it!’ It really lifts my energy makes me much more enthusiastic about what we’re trying to do in Hawaii,” said Kinoshita.

The public is invited to attend Oahu Agriculture and Environmental Awareness Day on Sat., March 9.

Oahu Agriculture and Environmental Awareness Day
Sat., March 9, 2013
UH Manoa’s Pearl City Urban Garden Center
955 Kamehameha Highway
9:00 a.m. to 12 noon

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