Thank You Maui School Garden Network

On behalf of the South Maui School Gardens Project we’d like to congratulate Lehn Huff and the Maui School Garden Network for connecting our school garden programs by way of the recently launched blog site.  Great things are growing  in Maui County!

Thank You Lehn, for providing the vision and direction to see the development of MSGN into an online resource for connecting, engaging and inspiring our youth, our educators and community volunteers and supporters.

And special thanks to South Maui School Gardens Project member Kathy Becklin who has dedicated herself to seeing the MSGN web presence meet the needs of a multitude of different users.    Great work Kathy!

Our Sponsors Keep Our Gardens Thriving

Through structured pledges of support and commitments to school garden and nutrition programs, our Garden Sponsors share a vision of educational gardens in every school in Maui County.

Contact us if you’d like to find out more about becoming a partner.


Thank you to our Kihei School Garden sponsors:

Chef Brian Etheredge
Capiche? & Il Teatro

Chef Dan Fiske
A Private Maui Chef

Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman


We’ve got worms!

Worm composting, or vermiculture, provides students an opportunity to enrich their school garden, both literally and figuratively, and is an easy way to teach students that waste is in the eye of the beholder.  While learning and applying skills that satisfy Hawaii State Academic Standards,  students can study worms and how worm composting turns garbage into worm food and then  into soil nutrition for new plantings.

Use of school cafeteria and garden vegetable waste for the worm bin also provides opportunities for a variety of interesting experiments, and maintaining  a worm bin in the classroom can culminate in a school garden or class project using the finished super nutrient rich product as worm “castings” or worm “tea”.

By organizing students or classes into worm care teams, (or worm farmers!) they take on the responsibility of providing an optimal habitat for the worms. Such responsibility is an important component of student development and an added bonus to this hands on garden learning experience.   Contact Kirk Surry – School garden Coordinator for South Maui School Gardens Project to schedule a learn about worms class.

Thanks to Kihei School Garden volunteer Buck Joiner for donating our first red wigglers and their new worm bin home located in the KES garden.

Learn basic anatomy of a worm in real life by bringing your class to the garden for a fun and educational opportunity to bring your classroom lessons to life in the garden.

For more in-depth exploration of worm composting download a copy of “The Worm Guide – A Vermicompsting Guide for Teachers”.


Fun Worm Facts

  • There are over 2000 species of earthworms worldwide.
  • There is a species of earth worm that grows to over 8 feet long.
  • Worms do not have eyes but have light sensitive cells. They are also sensitive to touch and vibration.
  • Worm bodies consist of a digestive system, a circulatory system (with about 5 hearts) a head and a tail as well as reproductive parts.
  • Worms are hemaphrodites, having both male and female reproductive organs.
  • Some species of worms can survive for days in water.
  • Worms have setae, which are tiny bristles, which allow them to attach themselves in a certain spot in the ground, making it harder for birds to snatch them up!
  • Most wormsare burrowers, foraging deep into the ground for food. Others are top dwellers and are well suited for bin type composting.
  • The burrowing action or worms helps to aerate the soil (adds oxygen) and their castings (poop) provide the soil with nutrients along their journey.
  • Worms are primarily vegetarians, they prefer dead organic matter as food, like mulch, leaves and vegetable scraps, but will also dine on cardboard, newspaper or even drier lint.



Your Gift Keeps Us Growing!

Thank you for considering a donation to the South Maui School Gardens Project.  The important work you’ve heard about in these pages is made possible entirely because of people like you.  Your contribution will be put right to work buying soil amendments, seeds, starts, mulch, garden tools and much more to keep our gardens growing.  We accept the following types of contributions:

  1. Contribute In-kind donations of equipment or supplies. The generous contributions of in-kind donations of resources, supplies and labor from local businesses are key to getting school gardens established and are an integral part of their continued sustainability.
  2. Contribute your time by signing up as a volunteer.
  3. Make a donation to the South Maui School Gardens Project. Your tax deductible contributions directly support  our work with teachers, students, educators and provide outreach support. Your support is an investment in our keiki and our island home.  We have 501c3 status as a project under Tri-Isle RC&D

You may donate one of two ways:

1.  By Check or Cash:  Please make checks payable to TriIsle RC&D.

Mail checks to:

South Maui School Gardens Project
c/o Kathy Becklin
545 Halalai Place
Kihei HI 96753


2.  Donate Online:

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Mahalo nio loa for your kokua.

Kihei Elementary “Work & Learn Day” this Saturday, April 2nd

Saturday, April 2nd
8:00 – 11:00 A.M.
Kihei Elementary School

The Kihei School garden  is thriving with new spring plantings.   Come join us this Saturday, April 2nd for a fun morning of weeding and sprucing the garden in preparation for our chef harvest pizza parties  on April 7th and 8th.

Its a great opportunity to check out what’s been growing on at Kihei Elementary and also a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk story with some of the real heroes of the Kihei School Garden Program.  The teachers.

Kihei Elementary is fortunate to have a dedicated core  group of teachers who have really connected with the garden and give back to the program with they’re tireless participation in these workdays.  Want to get inspired?  Come garden next to these educators and you’ll  better understand the impact school gardens are having locally.

This weekend we have light maintenance planned: weeding, some irrigation work, soil aeration and compost turning.

Bring your gardening questions or come share your mana’o.  And while this is a living classroom its still outdoors so dress accordingly comfortable gardening clothes and closed-toed shoes,  hat and sunscreen.

South Maui School Gardens Project provides  fresh fruits, snacks and water.    Please bring your own cup or bottle.

Look for us in the middle of the campus, past the office and the new new upper campus playscape area.

Kihei Elementary School is across Lipoa street from the Kihei Community and Aquatics Center.  Gates open 7:45.

We hope you can join us.

South Maui School Gardens Project is always  bringing  new volunteers into  our classroom and weekly  garden maintenance and watering schedules.  They’re is always something to do!

Checkout the South Maui School Gardens Project calendar at  see what volunteer times are available.  Or contact SMSGP garden coordinator  Kirk Surry at Yahoo dot com for more information on volunteering with our programs.


Gardens for Learning – Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden

Gardens for Learning is a comprehensive guidebook that provides a strong foundation to support the growing school garden movement. It was developed by a team of experienced garden educators, nutritionists, California state officials, and other garden experts.


This guidebook is a must-have resource for anyone looking to enhance learning through the use of gardens in schools and other community settings.

Download the Complete PDF of Gardens for Learning

Download PDF Chapters of Gardens for Learning:

Cover and Introduction – Table of Contents, About CSGN, Foreward

Chapter 1 – Introduction to School Gardens

Chapter 2 – Planning Your School Garden

Chapter 3 – Linking Gardens to School Curriculum

Chapter 4 – Promoting Healthy Living

Chapter 5 – Designing Your School Garden

Chapter 6 – Finding Supplies and Funding Your Garden

Chapter 7 – Planting Your School Garden

Chapter 8 – Maintaining Your School Garden

Chapter 9 – Sustaining Your Garden

Chapter 10 – Working with Volunteers

Resources and Back Cover


What’s Bugging You? Reference Material

For a good overview of some common garden pest and plant issues check out this  quick reference library of bugs, caterpillars, insects and other plant diseases and problems, courtesy of National Gardening Association.

This is easy to use resource can help you quickly identify common plant pests and problems you’re likely to encounter in your garden.  Great color photos and concise descriptions make this a great go-to-guide for every level of garden enthusiast, educator, student,  and volunteer!

Find out  what’s  been buggin’ you.


Why Care About Pollinators?

Pollination — the transfer of pollen grains to fertilize the seed-producing ovaries of flowers — is an essential part of a healthy ecosystem.  And pollinators play a significant role in the production of over 150 food crops in the United States.In this introductory curriculum educators have purposely chosen to focus on just two of the many pollinators as a means for teaching basic concepts about the process and importance of pollination.

Bees were chosen due to their primary importance among pollinators and butterflies were chosen because of the interesting and distinctive stages of their life cycle and their intrinsic appeal.

Find out more about butterflies, bees and other pollinators through activities designed to provide a systematic exploration of the topic using  scientific thinking processes at the Pollinator Partnership’s website.  This SERIES curriculum was funded through a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The Nature’s Partners curriculum contained here is designed to be a highly adaptive and flexible resource for teachers and youth leaders.   Here’s a link to one of the learning modules if you’re ready to buzz and flutter into the world of pollinators.

Kihei School Garden Chef Sponsor Featured in Maui Menu Magazine

Chef Sponsors in the News

Kihei School Garden Chef Sponsor Featured in Maui Menu MagazineChef Brian Etheredge of Capische? and Il Teatro  and friend, celebrated Maui Chef Dan Fiske, recently teamed up to help fund the  South Maui School Gardens Project at Kīhei Elementary School where kids learn about the importance of food systems in their community and get connected to the environment in a hands on and exciting way.  A positive offshoot of the project is that young people learn about nutrition and sustainability while using skills helpful in language arts, math, science and social studies.

“Society and mass marketing put forth food options for children that I don’t necessary support and this is my way of standing up for the future health and welfare of our children,” shares Chef Brian in a typical moment of enthusiasm when asked about the garden project.  “Everyone has a voice in this community and this is one way that I choose to use my skills to give back and contribute to the Island ‘ohana.”

Read full article in Menu Magazine.