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UH Manoa College of Education landscape garden to support sustainability education

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Helen Au, (808) 956-4949
College of Education
Posted: Sep 29, 2005

HONOLULU—The UH Mānoa College of Education lawns are currently in the hands of students and staff who plan to give the landscape a new look and purpose. Designed by local landscape architect Janet Gillmar, the new gardens integrate multidisciplinary studies with a real-life setting—a unique kind of laboratory that students and faculty of all areas will find useful.

The new landscape addresses several concerns for students and faculty, as well as visitors to the college. At the aesthetic level, the gardens serve to beautify the college, creating a more inviting and pleasing experience for passersby. The focus on a "curricular landscape," will also serve to educate students on many levels. The on-campus Hawaiian landscape will save students the efforts of travel so that they may experience botany, Hawaiian studies, science, agriculture, history, and art hands-on.

The college conceived the idea of a new garden and invited Gillmar and her students in the Fall of 2003 to propose a new landscape design. Their ideas led to a plan for a landscape that would both aesthetically please onlookers and inform students. College of Education Dean Randy Hitz granted the students permission to carry out the project, and work began the following summer. By Fall of 2004, students were planting both indigenous and endemic plants, including sweet potatoes, ohiʻa, ti, taro, and Hawaiian gardenia.

The project continued in the summer of 2005 with the help of 60 freshman Honors Program students. Hoping to create a "curricular landscape" with a "Hawaiian sense of place," they worked to harvest the fall sweet potatoes, and planted a variety of plants that encourage sustainability: hala, coconut, sugarcane, milo, kou, kukui, taro, and ohiʻa were planted in the courtyard and ewa side of Wist Annex.

Members of the Adopt-a-Landscape team also periodically contribute to the project, and plan to continue maintaining the grounds.

The UH landscaping and botany departments, Lyon Arboretum, College of Education faculty and staff, and Pikoi Ke Kaula Kualena, have provided plants for the project. Monetary support has been provided by Pikoi Ke Kaula Kualena.

For more information regarding the College of Education landscaping project, contact Nica Pyron, Landscape Coordinator, at