10 Jun Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge Recipients


Schools Statewide Received Funding and Mentorship to Launch Sustainability Projects in their Communities

HONOLULU – Kupu, Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education organization, and Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation (KHF) awarded 23 student teams across 21 schools statewide with a total of $18,471 in funding through its second annual Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge. Each school received mentorship from Kupu or KHF staff, in addition to $150 to $1,000 to help fund innovative and impactful sustainability projects, including sustainable businesses, marine debris cleanups, recycling and outreach programs, garden expansions, aquaponics, and restoration and waste reduction projects.

“It is incredible how much our youth can accomplish and inspire others with just an idea and a little bit of support,” said Kupu CEO John Leong. “Through the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge, we are empowering the next generation of innovators and creators. Congratulations to all the students and their teachers who participated in this program and are making a positive change on our environment and in their communities.”

The 2017-2018 HYSC recipients and projects are:


  • Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School – Ka Momona O Nā Mea Kanu


  • Campbell High School – #BinItEwaBeach
  • Ewa Makai Middle School – Pono Ponics
  • Hawaii Baptist Academy – HBA Garden Expansion
  • Hawaii Technology Academy – Schoolwide Aquaponics Education
  • ‘Iolani School – EcoGrindz and The Fork Project
  • Island Pacific Academy – IPAquaponics
  • Kaʻohao Public Charter School – Solar-Powered Compost Tea Brewer
  • Kainalu Elementary School – Kainalu Worm Partners Initiative
  • Kalani High School – Computer-Assisted Urban Agricultural Production
  • Le Jardin Academy – Protecting “The Big Water”
  • Punahou School – Green Boxes and Rocky Hill Restoration
  • Roosevelt High School – Ola for Native Hawaiian Plants
  • The School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability (SEEQS) – SEEQS Groundbreakers: How to feed our community?
  • Sunset Beach Elementary School – Living Chess


  • Aka‘ula School – Moloka‘i Electric Parade

Hawai‘i Island

  • Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School – Hui Lokahi Mala ʻai restoration project
  • B. de Silva Elementary School – AquaBees
  • Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School – Sustainability in Motion
  • The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences – KAULANA KAWA
  • Waiakea High School – Waiwai Koa

Four select student teams from schools across the state – Aka‘ula School, Campbell High School, ‘Iolani School, and Volcano School of Arts & Sciences – will present their projects and results during a public session at this year’s Hawai‘i Conservation Conference at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center in Room 315. For details about the session, “Kids Creating Conservation Innovations: Students Share Their Hawaiʻi Youth Sustainability Challenge Projects,” visit https://bit.ly/2zn1Xl9.

“Through the HYSC, students are working together to create better schools and communities through a sustainability lens,” added Natalie McKinney, Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation executive director. “It’s been exciting to see what sustainability challenges students from across the state have focused on learning more about and coming up with creative solutions.

Kupu and Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation will be offering up to $20,000 in funding for the 2018-2019 HYSC program. Students and educators in grades 6-12 at public, private and charter schools statewide are encouraged to apply. Further information and applications will be available at the start of the 2018-2019 school year in August. For more information about the mini-grant opportunity, visit www.kupuhawaii.org/hysc/.

The 2017-2018 HYSC mini-grant program is funded by Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation, Pūlama Lāna’i, HouseMart, and Finance Factors. It is a legacy initiative of the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress held in Hawai‘i. The concept for the HYSC initiative was first announced by First Lady Mrs. Dawn Amano-Ige at the Congress. The goal of the initiative is to inspire youth to be intentionally engaged in the environment through action, advocacy and education.


About Kupu

Kupu is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. Kupu in Hawaiian means “to sprout, grow, germinate, or increase.” Kupu’s mission is to bring life back to the people, land, and ocean while restoring the larger community for a better tomorrow. Founded in 2007, Kupu provides service-learning programs in industries like conservation, renewable energy, agriculture, and sustainability. Through these initiatives, Kupu aims to teach youth vital work skills as well as leadership, responsibility and learning to serve the community, incorporating vocational training, educational degree achievement and service learning. Kupu provides hundreds of paid internships, engages up to 10,000 volunteers, and provides more than $16 million benefit to Hawaiʻi through its programs annually. This includes over 280,000 service hours and more than a half million dollars in college and continued education funds to Hawaiʻi’s youth. For more information, visit www.kupuhawaii.org.


Media Contacts:

Christina O’Connor                                         Lea Okudara

Christina.oconnor@kupuhawaii.org                lokudara@gmail.com

(808) 735-1221 ext. 1045                               (808) 729-6776

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