$2.6 Million Grant to boost Environmental Science to Native Hawaiians

Windward Community College
Bonnie J Beatson, 808-235-7374
Marketing Communications, Windward Community College
Ardis Eschenberg, 808-235-7443
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Academic Affairs
Posted: Feb 22, 2017

Members of Halau Ola Honua grant project meet to discuss indigenous environmental science
Members of Halau Ola Honua grant project meet to discuss indigenous environmental science

As part of a statewide collaboration, Windward Community College, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu Community College and Kauai Community College recently have been awarded over $2.6 million for the Partnerships for Geoscience Education project Halau Ola Honua, Our Living World.

Objectives of the project are to increase recruitment of Native Hawaiian high school students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields at University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges, increase the retention of Native Hawaiian students, and facilitate the transition of these students to baccalaureate programs in Earth and Ocean Sciences (geosciences).

“Native Hawaiians made Hawai‘i a thriving nation because their environment was their laboratory—Halau Ola Honua (our living world, living laboratory). This project goes back to this living world laboratory to build a pathway to attract and retain Native Hawaiian students because Native Hawaiian geoscientists are key to Hawaii’s future,” said Ardis Eschenberg, PhD, WCC vice chancellor for academic affairs and lead principal investigator for Halau Ola Honua.

The fundamental components of project Halau Ola Honua include:

  • Establishing geoscience Summer Bridge programs for Native Hawaiian students
  • Increasing the number of geoscience courses available at the participating UH Community Colleges
  • Developing a curricular pathway that establishes an environmental science concentration within the existing Associate in Science in Natural Sciences (ASNS) degree program at UH Community Colleges
  • Developing a curricular pathway that connects those ASNS students with 4-year geoscience degree programs at UH Mānoa
  • Establishing a dedicated environmental science faculty member at each community college campus who will focus on recruiting new students, the retention and proactive counseling of existing students, and coordinating service-learning projects and community outreach events

“Now, more than ever, it is critically important for students to have a deep understanding of the natural environment, knowledge of how our environment is changing and why, and the ability to communicate these complex scientific issues clearly to the community,” said Margaret McManus, professor of oceanography at UH Mānoa and one of seven co-principal investigators for Halau Ola Honua.

For more information about the Halau Ola Honua project, contact Margaret McManus at 808-956-8623.



Members of Halau Ola Honua grant project met with a delegation from Windward CC’s sister college from New Zealand, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, on January 25, 2017 to discuss indigenous environmental science.

(L-R): Academic Program Officer John Rand, UH System, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs James Dire, Kauai CC, Professor and Natural Science Department Chair, David Krupp, WinCC, Chancellor Douglas Dykstra, WinCC, Chief Executive Wiremu Doherty and Council member Rauru Kirikiri, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Associate Professor Michael Ferguson, HonCC, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Ardis Eschenberg, WinCC, Professor Paul Kayes, Graduate School, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Deputy Chief Executive Evie OʻBrien, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, STEM Diversity Specialist Josh Kaakua, UHSystem, Undergraduate Chair Michael Guidry, Department of Oceanography, UHMānoa  (Not pictured): Professor Floyd McCoy, WinCC, Assistant Professor Stephen Taylor, KauaiCC, Professor Margaret McManus, Department of Oceanography, UHMānoa, Dean Marcia Roberts-Deutsch, HonCC.

Photo by Sky Bruno.