Teaching Change
Summer immersion group at HIP Agriculture in Kohala
Hawaii Island students learn to plant trees
Teaching Change Summer Immersion group at Puʻuwaʻawaʻa

In collaboration with GEAR UP Hawaiʻi and the Honokaʻa-Kelakehe-Kohala-Konwaena educational complex, we launched week-long Summer Biocultural Immersion Field Courses in 2019. As part of the schools’ “Summer Bridge” programs, we developed an extended Biocultural Immersion Field Course in order to provide a more in-depth educational opportunity for summer school students. Participants in the Summer Biocultural Immersion Field Course walk away from the course with an understanding of mālama ʻāina efforts across Hawaiʻi Island.

Course Details

Grade Level
Student Capacity
Up to 30
7 Days up to 6 Nights
1 Per 8 Students
4x4 | Provided


Multiple Sites on Hawaiʻi Island

Locations include multiple sites on Hawaiʻi Island including Hawaiʻi Volcano National Park, Puʻuwaʻawaʻa State Forest Reserve, Kohala Institute, the Kahikina Learning Center, Kalopā State Park, and Kīholo Bay.

In this course, students explore the diverse ecosystems of Hawai‘i by traveling to and working in multiple natural areas on Hawaiʻi Island. Students learn from professionals and experts about the ecology and management of areas from tropical wet forests, to mesic forests, to dry forests, which are home to some of the rarest plant species in the world. Students engage Hawaiian cultural practices by working with practitioners and experts. For example, at the Kohala Institute students learn how to make hau cordage and tī leaf lei; at Kīholo Bay, they learn moʻolelo and oli specific to the place from the descendents of the land from partners at Hui Aloha Kīholo. Student activities may include planting huli at the Kohala Institute’s loʻi kalo, learning about farming at HIP Agriculture, or planting native tree saplings at Puʻuwaʻawaʻa State Forest Reserve, assisting in the removal of the invasive kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum) at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, rebuilding a loko iʻa at Kīholo Bay, practicing plant identification skills on an interpretive hike at Kalopā State Park, and learning the cultural geography of Hilo watershed from mauka to makai with the Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance.

Teaching Change Summer Immersion Map

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