Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Foundation Award for Faculty Service to the Community
Service Award Winner
Kapiolani Community College
Nelda Quensell, a botany instructor at Kapiolani Community College for 25 years, has been an active facilitator and participant in the Service Learning Initiatives at the college. Service learning options are offered to students through botany and biology classes. Activities and field trips are performed outside of class times, often on the weekends, and without release time or compensation.
Quensell is the natural science leader for the Adopt an Ahupuaa pathway and was instrumental in the development of the project. She educates students on ahupuaa lifestyles and brings them to community locations where they volunteer to maintain the natural environment and conserve native species important to the Hawaiian culture.
Students do hands-on community service, working with organizations such as Harold L. Lyon Arboretum, Foster Botanical Garden, Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden and area schools. Aside from cleaning, planting and maintenance, students get a taste of Hawaiian culture and learn the historical relevance of the area and the plants they are working with. The relationship between plants, humans and society is learned encouraging better understanding and appreciation of the complete interdependence of all living things. Quensell’s students and the larger community benefit from this commitment of time, knowledge and labor.
Quensell also started and maintains the native gardens at the Kapiolani campus, volunteered hours at the Lyon Arboretum’s micropropagation laboratory and helped restore taro patches at Mt. Kaala.
For a decade, the Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Foundation Award honored faculty members for significant contributions that strengthened ties between the University of Hawaii and the community. The award is no longer given.
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Charles H. Fletcher