Campus Gardens

Campus Gardens

Did you know that there are 5 campus gardens?

Many hands and hearts came together to create an organized and well thought-out “Campus Garden” page on our website. Botany instructor Michael Ross worked with colleagues and faculty and students from Punahou School to give us a beautiful overview of the five gardens on our campus. These include the following, with names of individuals who have championed the creation and maintenance of each site: Cactus and Succulent Garden (Moriso Teraoka and Sam Camp); Native Hawaiian Garden (Michael Ross); Rain Garden (Wendy Kuntz); Culinary Garden (Chef David Brown); and Māla Māunuunu (Keisha Nakamura).

Mahalo a nui loa for the long hours and dedication by these individuals to make each garden a part of our campus life.

Cactus Garden

In 1988, retiree and former member of the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd RCT sought and received permission to landscape a small portion of unused space at the Kapiʻolani Community College with the intention of planting and cultivating a cactus and succulent garden. Working seven days a week with seeds and plants ordered from catalogs, he crafted a small but beautiful garden. Since that time, Moriso and an ever-changing team of volunteers have cultivated the original space and expanded the garden to expand an immense space running along the lower edge of the campus. The garden is a famous tourist spot and botanical site, attracting many thousands of visitors since its creation. The cactus garden won the Outdoor Circle Beautification Award in 1990 and 1998. And after all these years, Moriso Teraoka still works in the garden he began as a work of passion. You will find some of the cacti featured below in our garden.

Native Hawaiian Garden

The Native Hawaiian Garden is completely dedicated to planting and cultivating indigenous and endemic Hawaiian Plant species. Located between the Kokiʻo and Koa buildings, the Native Hawaiian Garden serves as an important teaching tool for botany courses at KCC. The garden was started in Summer 2015 by KCC botany instructor Mike Ross and two of his students; Christine Nakahara and Juli Burden. There are several rare and endangered Hawaiian plants found in the garden. If anyone is interested in tours of the garden and/or service-learning, there are ample opportunities. Please contact Mike Ross for more information.

Culinary Garden

The Culinary Arts Department believes strongly in the need to provide our students with both practical and informational practices that align with our Sustainability Initiative.

The Culinary garden, located behind the Ohelo Building, is the center of our initiative. The gardens health and robust productivity is due to its nutrient rich soil. The grow beds are regularly amended with compost and worm vermicast, both of which are produced here on campus, with the aid of the students of the Culinary program.

Students are trained to separate all of their waste materials daily, carefully collecting vegetable scrap items that will be used in the making of compost. As a Department, we save, on an average, 10 tons of vegetable waste per semester. These 10 tons of scrap will be transformed into highly usable compost by means of the Earth Tub system located below the cafeteria lanai.

The garden presents an opportunity for any student who wants to learn basic home gardening. It also provides the student the ability to identify the plant from which the vegetable grew. The garden has been thriving for the last 10 years. Additionally, the garden houses our large aquaponic system. Aquaponics is the codependant and mutually beneficial relationship between water, fish, and plant life. The fish are harvested and used in classroom lessons.

Many classes are given tours of our initiative, as there are many conversations on campus pertaining to sustainability. We are also a part of the greater neighborhood, and our systems are often visited by our Kaimukī grammar and middle school partners.

Rain Garden

A rain garden is a deliberately built depression planted with vegetation that allows storm water from impervious surfaces to collect, briefly settle, and then infiltrate into the ground.  By intercepting storm water, rain gardens help to reduce the amount of pollution entering streams and the ocean.  In summer of 2015, the KCC STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) students installed a rain garden on the Great Lawn side of ʻIlima Building.   Water from the ʻIlima roof is now diverted into a collection barrel and then into a specially designed depression filled with native plants.  The rain garden helps our campus reduce our environmental impact and serves as a demonstration project for homeowner and community members. Please contact Dr. Wendy Kuntz for more information.

Māla Māunuunu

Māla Maunuunu – located behind the Mānele building, provides a variety of learning opportunities for Kapiʻolani Community College (KCC) students, faculty/staff, and the community. The purpose of the Māla is to serve as an outside classroom for hands-on ʻāina-based learning, sustenance of lāʻau lapaʻau and ancestral practices through Native Hawaiian plant cultivation for the KCC community. In addition, the Māla is host to group tours, interdisciplinary learning and cultural events. Student opportunities include; conducting undergraduate research, satisfy scholarship requirements, service learning, community service, volunteer opportunities, and simply working the ʻāina. Please contact Keisha Nakamura for more information.

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