19 Dec Kupu Announces Recipients of 2018-2019 Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge

Kupu Announces This Year’s Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge Winners


Schools from Throughout the State Earn Mini-Grants and Mentorship to Support Their Environmental Projects

HONOLULU – Conservation and education organization Kupu, in collaboration with Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation, recently selected 29 projects from schools throughout the state as the recipients of this year’s Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge mini-grant program.

SEEQS students grew herbs and vegetables on campus as a part of last year’s Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge.

Now in its third year, the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge funds student-led sustainability projects at public, private, and charter schools. Each school receives mentorship in addition to $150 to $1,000 in funding for projects that address environmental challenges in schools and the larger community.

“We are so excited to begin another year of the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge,” says Kupu CEO John Leong. “We are continually in awe of the students who participate. Their projects address some of our greatest environmental challenges, and we have seen some truly inventive solutions come out of this program. Our planet faces monumental challenges, but the creativity, passion, and innovation exhibited by these students gives me hope. Congratulations to all of our recipients.”

The 2018-2019 recipients and projects are:

  • Hawaiʻi  Preparatory Academy – Creating a curriculum to teach younger students about coral
  • Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy – Providing outreach information for beachgoers at Spencer Beach
  • Hilo High School – Raising awareness on the importance of using eco-friendly sunscreen and hosting sunscreen exchange opportunities
  • Honokaʻa High & Intermediate – Creating plastic-free campus lunches and setting up a composting system for paper plates
  • Honokaʻa High & Intermediate – Creating an on-campus paper recycling program at school and increasing the amount of recycling bins
  • Laupāhoehoe Community PCS – Creating sustainability focused animation projects aimed at informing and inspiring youth
  • Volcano School of Arts & Sciences – Purchasing a water pump for Kawa Wildlife Park to more efficiently water native coastal plants
  • West Hawaiʻi Explorations Academy – Building a device that uses kinetic energy from human motion or exercise to charge batteries and power smartphones
  • Kanuikapono – Building a greenhouse out of repurposed materials
  • Kauai High School – Breaking down food, paper, and organic waste into liquid fertilizer and compost
  • Kawaikini NCPCS – Building raised garden beds to grow medicinal plants
  • Maui Huliau – Providing reef-safe sunscreen alternatives to beach-goers in exchange for a bottle of sunscreen that contains oxybenzone
  • Hālau Kū Māna – Creating indoor hanging garden kits to grow food
  • Hālau Kū Māna – Raising awareness about energy use
  • Hālau Kū Māna – Protecting Kuliouou Beach from erosion
  • Hawaiʻi Baptist Academy – Establishing a daily food waste collection system to generate compost for the campus garden
  • Hawaiʻi Tech Academy – Building a fully automated, sustainably powered vertical aquaponics system
  • Honolulu Waldorf School – Creating a mural depicting a restored version of Niu Valley
  • ʻIolani School– Increasing the number of plant-based meal options in the school cafeteria
  • James Campbell High School – Creating an organic fertilizer out of indigenous plants
  • James Campbell High School – Creating curricula to inform middle and elementary school students about rapid ohi’a death
  • Kapolei High School – Creating a club to engage with the community to connect to the land through food
  • Kapolei High School – Creating a hydroponic system that will harvest produce for consumption and medicinal purposes
  • Kapolei High School – Conducting an energy audit of Kapolei’s G-Building
  • Kapolei High School – Reusing Kapolei’s water and soda bottles by turning them into 3D filament that can be used in the school’s 3D printing program
  • Le Jardin – Designing a learning and service experience for local youth leaders through a 3-day conference
  • SEEQS – Making school garden systems more available to the public, culminating in an end-of-year feast for the community
  • Sunset Beach Elementary – Creating a water catchment system
  • Voyager – Providing students with the opportunity to connect with nature by making several changes to campus, including installing a living wall of plants in the classroom and creating marine debris art


This year’s recipients will begin work on their projects after returning to school in the new year.

The 2018-2019 Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge mini-grant program is supported by Kamehameha Schools, Kaiser Permanente, Public Schools of Hawaiʻi Foundation, eWorldES, HouseMart, Finance Factors, and Turtle Bay Foundation. The Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge mini-grant program 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 Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge 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.

For more information, visit www.kupuhawaii.org/hysc/.

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