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September 7, 2016

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Guiding the Guides: The Unique Role of the Master Guide – Part II

By:  Clementine Wilson, Adolescent Field Manager & Jody St. Joseph, Adolescent Program Director

This three part series focuses on the Master Guide position and the significance of this special role at Pacific Quest. The first entry looked at the role itself and highlighted Nikki Robinson.  Part II will introduce Master Guide Alyson Alde.  Check back next week to meet another team member and their focus within this role!

Meet Alyson Alde

Alyson was raised in a small town in Illinois.  There, she learned how to climb trees, play in the dirt, and plant seeds. Her love for the outdoors has continued to grow throughout her life.  She graduated with a degree in psychology with a focus in environmental studies.  Prior to graduating, it was her dream to work with adolescents in a natural setting. Post graduation, she is living this dream at Pacific Quest. The combination of working with The Girl Scouts of America in New York state and working at an all boys residential treatment center in Tennessee gave her the inspiration to combine the two: wilderness and mental health.

The Unique Role of the Master Guide at Pacific Quest

Alyson working with a student in the garden

Alyson loves empowering her students through education at Pacific Quest. She has a firm understanding that there are several types of intelligences, and she utilizes this knowledge with every lesson she teaches. Through her lessons, students are able to draw parallels between themselves and the garden, relate their lives to the Hero’s Journey, and learn sustainability for themselves and the environment.  Not only does Alyson empower her students, she empowers her fellow guides as well. Alyson makes it a priority to work alongside her fellow guides to develop new lessons plans each week.

Of her role, Alyson says, “The most rewarding aspect of the job is seeing the students’ growth.  Typically, I work the earlier phases in the program – Nalu and Kuleana. Several times a week, a student mentor comes back to Nalu and Kuleana. I love to see how the students have created their own leadership styles and I love to hear their invites on life. Often times, they even teach me something about the garden.”

September 5, 2016

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PQ Presents at Wilderness Therapy Symposium

Pacific Quest’s Horticultural Therapy Director, Travis Slagle, M.A. recently co-presented with Darcy Ottey, M.A. at the 2016 Wilderness Therapy Symposium in Park City, Utah.  The three hour experiential workshop focused on the ecological perspective of rites of passage and provided conference attendees hands on activities to activate the senses and deepen their understanding of the integration of rites of passage and nature assisted therapy.  Travis comments, “I believe this is the next wave of innovation in wilderness therapy.  The challenge of the future isn’t going to be climbing a mountain, or hiking in the desert, it’s helping young people learn how to live a more sustainable life.”

Travis Slagle, Horticultural Therapy Director

Travis Slagle, Horticultural Therapy Director

This breakout session brought together clinicians and direct care staff from across the country and included a PQ alumni, now finishing her last semester of college. Together, Travis and the alumni led the audience in a lesson on transplanting; offering participants a tangible experience to reflect on the biological process of stress and adaptation in nature and how to use this as a metaphor for the life transitions that clients experience in treatment and beyond. Participants commented that the highlight of the workshop was hearing the PQ alumni talk about her journey toward self-acceptance and describe the role that working in a garden played in overcoming the debilitating effects of depression.  The alumni commented, “Two years ago, I would have never imagined that I would be here today planting flowers!”

As the presentation concluded, audience members had the opportunity to reflect on their experience.  Participants reported that they felt “deeply moved,” “inspired,” and “hopeful” after the workshop.  As Travis states,”We are promoting a paradigm shift in wilderness therapy, and the greatest reward in my work is seeing the change that our alumni students are bringing to the world, and the love and hope they bring to their families!”

To learn more about Horticultural Therapy and Rites of Passage at Pacific Quest, please visit the following links:

May 10, 2016

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Transformation Tuesday: Parallel Processes in Gardening and Life

By: Anthony Florig, BSBA
Purchasing and Farm Manager

Almost all of the gardens at Pacific Quest are built from the ground up, and also down, by the hands and hearts of all the students and staff that find their way to the Big Island of Hawaii. I would like to share a story about the construction of these gardens, and the parallel process of the development of our students.

The garden camps have been a work in progress for over ten years, constantly changing and evolving and growing along with our student population. When I was a Guide for the Young Adult Program at Reed’s Bay, our Kuleana (Hawaiian for “personal responsibility”) student group was responsible for clearing an area that has come to be known as The Village, the property adjacent to the main Young Adult building in Hilo. It is a small outcropping overlooking Reed’s Bay, surrounded by rock-walled spring-fed brackish pools known as The Ice Ponds. These ponds connect to Reed’s Bay via a small channel, so you can enter for a refreshingly cold dip and then swim out to the bay where the ocean water is warmer.

pacificqueststaff

Anthony Florig, BSBA

The entire Village area used to be covered in cane grass, and was being overtaken by the coastal jungle. Now it is a beautifully landscaped garden park full of Hawaiian canoe plants like taro (kalo), purple sweet potato (uala), turmeric (olena), and banana (maia). To enter The Village you need to cross a small red wooden bridge that spans the first two ice ponds. You are met with various types and colors of Ti trees, with flowers and herbs planted in tree-trunk planters lining the path, leading to a dug-in stone fire circle. There are large garden beds with taro and purple sweet potatoes on either side of the clearing. Off the main path there is a rock-lined meditation labyrinth next to another ice pond. From the fire circle you can follow another path through more Ti trees and colorful relative Cordylines, with white pineapples growing along their base. From here you can continue on to the compost pile (or ki’pulu as we call it here in Hawaii) past various young fruit trees including mango, avocado, soursop, breadfruit (ulu), and plenty of ice cream and apple bananas. Or you can turn right and head past the Red Cuban bananas towards the final ice pond, which is surrounded by a canopy of thick Hau trees (ocean hibiscus). Over the course of the day the vibrant yellow flowers will turn orange and eventually fall into the pond, creating an idyllic scene and popular favorite spot for reflection.

About three years ago, there was one area underneath a large banyan tree that used to be nothing but vines. I remember a particularly rambunctious group of students who needed to get out some serious energy, both physically and mentally. They wanted a punching bag, so I agreed to make one with them. I got an old tarp and we began pulling all the vines off the hillside. For each bunch of vines we placed on the tarp we spoke about something that was bothering us, or that we were angry at. As students identified people or situations they were mad at, we helped identify the feelings and root causes of their pain. One student in particular who had been slow to open up really led this project, and she was able to speak about many of her resentments and what she called her enemies, and also how she wants to learn to forgive them and to let them go. We packed all the vines in the tarp, rolled it up, and tied it into a pretty solid punching bag. The students really enjoyed themselves getting out some more energy and aggression, but pulling the vines seemed to have already worked as a regulatory activity. In fact, underneath the vines we discovered a small hillside of some very rich soil, which was quite a pleasant surprise and grabbed everyone’s attention.

Today that hillside is now two terraced garden beds that wrap around the banyan tree and produce pounds and pounds of turmeric, taro and purple sweet potato. These beds were created and farmed the same way the vines were cleared from the hillside, by a group of staff and students talking about their problems and working them out on the land, over and over again. On top of the hill is a cleared circle of black cinder surrounded by a small rock wall, inside is a ring of coconut log seats. This is now a popular location for council and ceremony, or just a shady place to talk story surrounded by years of intention mixed with the beauty of Hawaiian tropical agriculture.

April 22, 2016

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In Celebration of Earth Day: Nurture through Nature

By: Danielle Zandbergen, MA
Therapist

In celebration of Earth Day, I thought it fitting to write about nature and how it has proven to be one of the most important aspects within the human condition. Nature has been shown to inherently support those struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, stress, low self-esteem, obesity, substance abuse and addiction, social insecurity, obsessive-compulsive behaviors (many of which can be technology or materialistic), physical-verbal-emotional violence, lack of empathy or compassion…the list goes on. A great amount of children and adults alike struggle with a variety of pathologies and nature continues to prove to be an essential, positive, and healthy intervention for many, if not all individuals. It is surprising that more therapeutic programs, treatment interventions, or even academic settings haven’t integrated the exploration of nature.

Let’s face it – humans have a damaged relationship with nature and while many areas of the world are running out of natural resources that are absolutely essential to our very livelihood (most particularly water and food sources), we continue to be blinded by material goods that do not provide the same amount of happiness, or sustenance, as nature does. The very medicines we typically use are derived from a variety of herbs, spices, roots, and leaves from many kinds of plants and flora. Lavender cannot only be used for its scent but can also be used as an antibacterial, antiseptic and analgesic substance for a variety of ailments such as acne or skin irritation, as well as a natural soothing herb to help alleviate stress, cough and cold symptoms. Basil, most commonly known for cooking, can also be used for headaches, stings and bites, ear infections and help with stress reduction. Lemon balm alleviates anxiety, insomnia, upset stomach, and even helps with cold sores. Rosemary is sometimes used to support memory and focus, and may even elevate one’s mood. If one looks closely, medicine can literally be found in our backyards!

PQ_therapist

Danielle Zandbergen, MA

When people engage in the outdoors, a natural sense of wonder and awe opens up a heightened awareness of connection. It rekindles a sense of belonging to the natural world that one cannot experience elsewhere. Some studies have shown that students who often feel fatigue, anxiety and stress have shown an overall sense of restoration both psychologically and physiologically after they take a walk in the woods or a nearby park. In contrast, walking through a crowded shopping mall or around tall buildings with little to no greenery has actually been shown to lower overall self-esteem and increase psychological stress.

Horticultural therapy has been shown to be extremely effective in stress management, treating alcohol and substance abuse, enhancing self-esteem, help elderly individuals with feelings of social isolation, and curtailing burnout experienced by healthcare providers. On top of the psychological support, horticultural therapy decreases one’s dependence on chemically treated food products and increases the inclination to grow fruits and vegetables in our very own garden. In a book titled, Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind, edited by Linda Buzzell and Craig Chalquist, quotes “If you want to enhance self-concept, self-esteem, and self-confidence, facilitate treatment of the mentally ill, or improve family relationships, employing nature is a potent therapeutic intervention. Nature-guided therapy is about putting these demonstrated benefits into therapeutic practice, in ways that will most enhance the achievement of the person’s therapeutic goal.”

So what are you waiting for? Are you feeling stressed, anxious or frustrated? Do you feel like you need a “reset” button? Are you having a hard time concentrating? Take a walk in a nearby park. Embark on an adventure on a weekend camping trip instead of going shopping for things you probably don’t need. Save some money and grow your own natural and organic food, and most of all, take advantage of the cheapest medicine out there…nature! Happy Earth Day!

“Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive, and even spiritual satisfaction.”
– E.O. Wilson

 

April 13, 2016

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Gardening in LA: Alumni find solace and camaraderie in service project

By: Mike Sullivan, MA, LMHC
Alumni and Family Services Director

Approaching Wattles Farm from Hollywood Boulevard is surreal.  A short walk from the iconic walk of fame in the heart of Hollywood, one navigates speeding sports cars, stoplights (which apparently aren’t enforced), and screaming police sirens to find the gate encircling the margins of Wattles Farm.  After traversing an ancient avocado grove, one emerges in the 4.2 acre organic garden of eden- a setting that couldn’t be more dichotomous from the immediate surroundings of bustling Hollywood.

The garden was reminiscent of Pacific Quest- meandering paths lined with rocks and downed limbs, tropical fruits draping from tree branches, and luscious garden beds overflowing with lettuce and kalWattles Farm Alumni Evente.  Travis Slagle and I felt at peace as we toured the garden, taking time to absorb every element of the Wattles oasis.  We basked in the familiarity of the natural landscape and reprieve from the urban gridlock surrounding us.

Head Gardenmaster for 23+ years, Toby Leaman, introduced Travis and I to the array of work needed to maintain Wattles garden.  She identified specific areas that our Pacific Quest alumni group could complete during our community service garden project the following day.  Travis observed closely as Toby showed him where the invasive onion grass was overtaking the roses and geranium, as well as where the rock wall was eroding.  While many people may view the immense undertaking Toby outlined as a nuisance, Travis and Toby see potential.  Being gardeners in their heart and healers/role models for youth, the garden is a means to connecting with something greater – a deeper sense of self and greater connection with community.  Excitement grew as we refined our plans for our project the following day.

Our alumni group dug into our community service project at 10 AM.  Smiles, laughs, and reminiscing about funny stories from Hawaii ensued, while the group maintained diligence and attention to eradicating the onion grass. The group overhauled the rose and geranium beds, creating a discernable difference.  Apparently that project wasn’t enough, as the group then devoured the opportunity to weed a long pathway through the avocado orchard.   Toby exclaimed what an amazing group of volunteers we were, highlighting our attention to detail and positive attitudes.

AJandTravisOver a nutritious lunch and closing circle, the group discussed some observations throughout the day.  Many noted “being in the present” and “sharing a common goal,” as being significant aspects of the project. Others shared a sense of fun, camaraderie, peacefulness, and giving back.  Each of these observations speaks to the power of gardening and intention- when we set aside computers and phones, carve out a shared gardening project, we find meaning.  The group observed that the experience was far from insignificant, but rather served as an amazing conduit for connection and leaving a legacy for others in the future.  It was certainly a memorable Sunday!

I want to share a huge THANK YOU to Toby Leaman for being such a warm host and project leader.  I also want to thank the Pacific Quest alumni for their dedication to others and desire to continue to deepen their self awareness. And lastly I want to thank the entire community for maintaining Wattles Farm for others to enjoy.  Community gardens are a growing movement, and one can see layers of significance far greater than just providing salad greens.

April 25, 2011

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Pacific Quest Ohana Volunteering with Ka’u Main Street at the Naohuleua Historical Garden

The second Saturday of every month Pacific Quest puts on their work gloves and heads off the farm over to the Naohuleua Historical Garden.  Students volunteer to work with Ka’u Main Street in an effort to keep the native garden blooming. Ka’u Main street is a Non-profit organization that was formed in 1991 to protect the economic future of the Ka’u downtown areas and rural communities.

Volunteering at the Naohuleua Historical Garden - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

Naohuleua Historical Garden is located on a beautiful 1864 Roman Catholic church site, rescued from being torn down 3 years ago, Ka’u Main Street was able to save the church and plant native Hawaiian plants as well as Canoe plants ( plants brought over to the island by the Polynesians ) on the surrounding property.

Volunteering at the Naohuleua Historical Garden - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

Pacific Quest is able to contribute by planting, weeding and developing the Historical Garden to its fullest. Students also help by collecting Kukui nuts and seed clippings of the Hibiscus (Hawaii’s state flower).  This was a big job, and great service work to contribute to help preserve the town history. In addition, On March 11 the students of Pacific Quest created a detailed map to scale of the Garden.  The map will be published and colored.

Volunteering at the Naohuleua Historical Garden - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

Click here to find out more about Ka’u Main street and the Historical Garden Project

Volunteering at the Naohuleua Historical Garden - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young AdultsVolunteering at the Naohuleua Historical Garden - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

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April 22, 2011

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Ohana members contribute to the blog!

Ohana members contribute to the blog - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

Ohana members expressed enthusiasm when we talked about the possibility of them contributing to the PQ blog.  They wanted to share “notes from the field” to be able to educate others more about their experience on the farm.  Below are aspects that the students wish to share from this past week.

“A metaphor that I learned over the last three weeks is composting.  Composting is the process of taking old food scraps and dying weeds and using it to make new soil.  We take our old food scraps and place them in a wooden bin.  The bin is then added to with the dying weeds.  We layer it with about three inches of each until it gets to the top.  We water it and mix it up with a pitchfork weekly.  We then look back at our lives and see what past experiences we can compost.  We write these down and I take what I can from them and then compost the rest.  I use my bad experiences in life as a base that I can learn and take from.”

“This week I have really benefited from doing yoga in the mornings.  Yoga is a nice way for me to center myself and start my day.  It eases my body into being alert and helps to clear my mind after struggling to get up.”

“Something I learned was that if you don’t hold yourself to the highest reachable standard you have to the face the consequences eventually.”

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April 15, 2011

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PQ Nursery Order

PQ Nursery Order - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

“We are excited about the garden developments in our newest camps,” said PQ organic garden specialist Patrick Leatherman.  Patrick completed a large scale order from a local big island nursery last week.  He seems very enthusiastic about the tropical fruits that the plants will provide.  Patrick ordered 5 Tahitan Lime trees, 5 Pink Eureka Lemon trees, 30 Lilikoi vines (purple and yellow), and 100 Bananas trees.

PQ students have been working hard preparing for this nursery order.  There are many holes that need to be dug still.  A banana tree requires a hole that is roughly two feet deep by a foot wide.  With 100 banana trees that means a lot of digging.  Photo above are trees that are waiting to be planted.

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April 12, 2011

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Sustainable Growth: A Parent’s Journey

When I went to the parent workshops last December to visit my 14-year-old son, I was struck by the language, the setting and the lifestyle of the Pacific Quest community.  PQ staff repeatedly emphasized the word growth.  I would naturally comment on “change” only to be gently reminded that the PQ philosophy stresses “growth.”   A second word and concept, Ohana, made an especially huge impact on me.  PQ has adopted many Hawaiian terms to capture the essence of what they are doing, and the concept of Ohana—family– is integral to their philosophy.  During the third stage of the program, the teens live in a new setting, or camp, and join an Ohana, learning the value and importance of being a contributing member of a healthy, functioning family.

The organic gardening culture at PQ encourages the concepts of growth and Ohana to co-exist and thrive in practical terms.  Everyday the PQ field staff teaches the teens the skills necessary to plant, grow, sustain, and harvest an organic garden.  Weeding a garden plot, planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, watering plants, harvesting vegetables, cooking raw foods, and then composting waste are all significant parts of the lifestyle and culture of PQ.  In our son’s first letter to us, he excitedly talked about all the vegetables, fruits and herbs he was planting and tasting, and ended by asking us to plant him an organic garden at home.  He had never really eaten vegetables or gardened, but was immediately inspired by the PQ setting.  It wasn’t clear yet to our son, or to us, that the gardening was actually a metaphor for how you can choose to lead you life, and that eventually the Ohana would be a model for how you can cultivate meaningful and supportive relationships with your family and others.

Because our son asked us to plant an organic garden and because his counselor emphasized the importance of the parents doing parallel work, I decided to start a garden in our backyard.  Though I understood that parallel work meant emotional and psychological work, like keeping a journal or writing out my old story (these were things my son was doing at PQ), it felt more manageable to do something practical.  Plus, I was hoping to have a new subject and hobby to share with my son through our letters, and ideally an activity that we could sustain when he returned.  What I didn’t realize five months ago was that planting a garden would mark the beginning of evolving into a different kind of parent, family and lifestyle.

Sustainable Growth: A Parent’s Journey - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

As my son’s letters became more emotionally deep, our garden became more physically rooted.  The PQ philosophy stresses the physical body and its healthy maintenance—proper sleep, food, exercise.  The gardening is an analogy to your own physical body and emotional well-being.  I learned to slow down and be present when I was gardening….no talking fast on the cell phone while checking my email.   I learned to be aware of my environment when I was gardening…is the soil dry and do the plants need water?  I learned to integrate my family into a process and experience of gardening… my son waters, my daughter picks lettuce, I pluck weeds.  I learned to cook healthier meals and to experience mealtime as a cohesive family…no more Panda Express eaten in front of the television, but rather a homegrown, homemade meal with everyone participating around a bustling kitchen. The process of planting and cultivating an organic garden has caused me to re-think my own habits, parenting, and family life.

Sustainable Growth: A Parent’s Journey - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

My son continued to write letters full of both gardening updates and Ohana updates.  The Ohana gardened together, cooked together, ate together.  The Ohana shared old stories, new stories, and intents with one another.  The garden and the Ohana members were all growing simultaneously.  Meanwhile, our home garden was inspiring something quite similar in our family life.  I became very hopeful about my son’s growth, my growth, and our family’s growth.

However, when it was time to meet with our educational consultant again, visit therapeutic boarding schools, fill out applications, and take our son to Montana, I was so consumed with these tasks that I neglected the garden.  I slipped into old patterns, my old story, of doing too many things at once and doing them too quickly.  I reverted back to delivery pizzas for dinner and eating in front of my computer.  The cilantro started to wilt, romaine lettuce started to die.  Family dinners at the
table were abandoned in the name of fatigue and stress.  Once again, I was in an old, familiar state of focusing on the future while neglecting the present.  My kids liked the harmonious feel of the new garden culture in and around our home and begged for its return.  I didn’t regain my own motivation until my son wrote me from his new therapeutic boarding school and said he was quickly losing his own connection to his body and its needs.  He was also reverting back to old patterns—eating fewer vegetables, forgetting to do his yoga breathing, over-exerting his body.  He said he missed his PQ mind-body-emotion connection and was feeling increased emotional distress.  His solution:  be more present and respect his body’s needs.  We visited him last week and he had salad and vegetables on his plate and was happier.

Of course it’s not all this simple, but I have learned through PQ’s philosophy of sustainable growth and Ohana that if you establish strong roots and a meaningful intent, you have the potential to thrive.  After some temporary neglect, my garden is once again thriving and we harvested scallions and arugula last night for both our family and my brother’s family.   For our family, the concept of sustainable growth started with PQ and our son, but has materialized in our vibrant backyard garden.  I am hopeful.

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November 1, 2010

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Notes from Land Manager Patrick Leatherman

Notes from Land Manager Patrick Leatherman - Pacific Quest: Wilderness

Patrick Leatherman (on right side) is our organic gardening specialist at PQ.  He works to help the students develop connections between gardening and their individual therapeutic processes.  I have cut and pasted some of Patrick’s notes from the weekend.  I have deleted the students names to preserve confidentiality.

Nalu Camp:

Friday morning we met in the flower circle to discuss  organic gardening and introduce the students to the idea that we are using our experiences at PQ caring and supporting plants to learn how we can care and support ourselves.  In the garden tour I introduced students to raised beds, the importance of building soil and imitating natures method of building soil, companion planting, harvesting techniques, compost systems. Then we moved into the nursery before lunch to plant beans, tomatoes, and bell peppers.  Today I played more on introducing the metaphors of canoe plants than in the past.  We talked about what they symbolize to us:  These are the tools the Polynesians brought to sustain and build the success of their lives.  While at PQ you should think of what you want to take with you from here and build those tools up to take with you for your success from here.  I suggested that if students are interested in more information they should read the Hawaiian History section in their curriculms.

 

Kuleana Camp:

Friday afternoon I met with Kuleana to run them through a Canoe Plant lesson.  We met in the pineapple circle with jounals and pens to discuss and gather info on what canoe plants are,  why we grow, them,  what they symbolize for us at PQ.  We listed the 4 things canoe plants provide for us:  food, medicine, fiber, and wood.  Then we listed out the 21 canoe plants and talked about what each one provided. I ended the circle by assigning 3 questions:

1)Where are you coming from?

2)What did you leave behind?

3)What resources did you bring with you?

I had brought with me 10 new Ti plant cuttings and sweet potato cuttings to plant in camp.  We spent the rest of the afternoon working to build up a mound of soil beside the perch to plant the potatoes and then we followed this up withplanting the Ti plants around hales.   Overall I think the canoe plant lesson is taing shape well and it gives a great platform to branch the therapuetics and the nature of what we are doing on the land.  The field instructors did a great job using the land as a teaching and reflective tool.

 

Saturday afternoon I met with Kuleana group in the consistent light drizzle of the day.  This made perfect conditions to transplant many of the healthy plants that we had in the nursery.  Before we started to talk about transplanting we moved into the garden to talk thinning plants and the importance of doing that after direct seeding.  Thus thinning gives each plant optimum room to grow to maturity and enough room to ot compete with each other for nuturients.  We talked about the differences between thiinning vaired plants and worked with recently planted beets, lettuce, and Pak Choy to bring in the experiential factor.  We transitioned from that into the transplanting demo.  I talked about the fact that we transplant when plants get to point where they need a bigger home with more nutrients, etc.. to continue growing.  I drew the corrolation between this transition stressing the plants out and how we hopfully have provided a strong enough foundation to help the plants thrive and make it through the struggle.  We then got hands on by transplanting black beans that we plants 2 weeks ago from the kitchen.  So now we are growing the black beans that the students eat every week.  We also transplanted Celery and Cilantro.  The students were very attentive and did as well as any group I have worked with lately at following steps that I layed out.  This made for a very successful day of transplanting.

Ohana Camp:

Saturday morning I met with the Ohana.  We started the morning by heading up to the greenhouse with two projects in mind.  The first was to work with the group to hang trellises (string) for the yard long beans that have taken off in the greenhouse beds.  The green house feels much more alive with plants in the beds.

Next, I worked with students to revamp the nursery including:  organizing and throwing out old seeds,  reorganizing pots of varied sizes, recycling old potting soil, and planting tomatoes, flowers, garlic chives, and papayas.  After the first group finished trellising beans they moved out into the gardens to plant several new beds with beets, arugula, lettuce, and radishes.

Sunday morning I met with the Ohana again.  We started the day by gathering in the Kukui Grove where two students led a Soil Lesson.  They had organized the lesson the day before and did a very good job of addressing the group and posing questions to keep students involved and present.  The lesson was focused with neccassary information that i could build off of and then hand the lesson back over to them.  The students asked very good questions and we sat under the trees discussing varied things relating to soil for approx 40 minutes.  The lesson provided a great foundation to move into the landwork where we focused on  fertilizing the soil around all the papaya trees in camp.  The students moved efficiently through fertilizing and weeding the papayas and by lunch we were finished with that project.  I was impressed at how many questions the students posed about soil and at the quality of the questions as well.

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