Project Pono

Project Pono is an environmental stewardship and service-learning elective and program at University Laboratory School.  Project Pono students learn about and engage in practices that promote environmental awareness and cultural and environmental sustainability. Project Pono students teach themselves and their peers about these topics through identifying their own environmental interests grounded in Hawaiian values and places, finding or founding community events that foster environmental and cultural sustainability, and participating in educational outreach aimed at multiple levels of their school, home, and peer communities.



A ULSMedia Group film about Project Pono:


Flash MOB Update: Keeau Beach Park – November 23, 2013

Project Flash MOB (Monthly Operation Beach clean-up) is a monthly beach clean-up at various beaches on Oahu (and eventually across the state, we hope). Our major goal is to beautify our islands and raise awareness of what litter and marine debris can do to the land, ocean, and the rest of our environment, such as native and other local species as well as humans that are endangered by this human pollution.  We will focus on removing trash and other debris from the shoreline and reef, while incorporating a fun element – our Flash MOB dance routine! Join us for our Fall Launch at Keeau Beach Park in Waianae, and at Makapu‘u Lighthouse on January 20, 2014.


“Greening the Holidays” (Recycle-A-Thon: Recycling and Sustainability Fair) – December 7, 2013

This project is focused on spreading information about “going green”, promoting experiences in peace and sustainability, and providing a public service by gathering recyclers from around the island to accept a wide range of household products. Our theme this year is “Greening the Holidays”.  We hope to help people to learn about ways to recycle and reuse products and reduce our impact on the environment, through a program that includes crafts, activities, recycling of items typically not recycled through an Aloha ‘Aina Earth Day Recycling Drive with Kokua Hawaii Foundation, a canned food and fresh produce drive to benefit the homeless, and locally-sourced, sustainably created foods for the community to explore. We also plan to donate our demonstration holiday crafts to an elder care facility as a holiday present for the elderly.

Event Flyer

Press Release


Ma Ka ‘Aina Ka ‘Ike: Ka Iwi State Park Clean-Up and Restoration – January 20, 2014

This project is focused on removing invasive species and trash from Ka Iwi State Park, the area stretching from Alan Davis Breakwall (next to Sandy Beach) through Makapu‘u (including the Makapu‘u Lighthouse Trail). We will be incorporating the Flash MOB routine in and around the Makapu‘u Lighthouse Trail – come dance with us! After our Flash MOB of Makapu’u Lighthouse, we’ll move down makai to the emergency parking lot and split up into groups to paint, remove debris from trails, and clean the beach.  Hope to see you there! 


Food and Family Day: ‘Ohana, ‘Aina, and Kuleana – March 2014 (date TBD)

This project is focused on getting families together to experience local and sustainable foods, and support local businesses. It is also about learning to grow and harvest your own food. We will have a tasting featuring local products from Oils of Aloha and Naked Cow North Shore Dairy. We will also have other activities and workshops focusing on aquaponics, composting, natural pesticides and seed saving. 


Propagate Peace Project - ongoing

This project is a partnership of ULS Project Pono students, Polynesian Voyaging Society, the International School Peace Gardens and Hawai‘i School Peace Gardens Network. We are trying to coordinate with schools and individuals worldwide who want to dedicate a tree planting to Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Worldwide Voyage to Malama Honua, or start a peace garden in their school around a tree dedicated to the Voyage.  Our hope is that every school and individual touched by the Worldwide Voyage plant a tree dedicated towards helping us reach our goal of One Million Trees. Moreover, we hope those One Million Trees become part of existing and new school peace gardens worldwide, joining the International School Peace Gardens movement. We are also hoping to learn from and engage others in integrating peace and sustainability into their schools and gardens; we hope to share information, inspiration and stories of school’s efforts to support native and endangered species, food resiliency, increasing awareness of climate change and reducing ecological footprints, and other peaceful and sustainable missions and lessons that schools are engaged in.  Website and additional information coming soon!


ULS Courtyard Garden and Botanical Biography - ongoing

This project focuses on creating our ULS Courtyard Garden as an outdoor learning center, that is linked to our local and global communities. While many school gardens and crops focus on growing and identifying plants, we aim to go beyond the scientific and common names of our plants. We are attempting to find information on where each plant originated from (what garden, person, wahi pana), what family or group introduced the plant to ULS, as well as what its cultural and nutritional values are. If you have any plants you would like to add to our garden, or are able to share information about the plants that already exist in and around our Courtyard, please let us know!


Gardens as Living Classrooms - Project Pono

Find more videos like this on Schools of the Future


Go Green After School Program - Project Pono          

Find more videos like this on Schools of the Future


Kokua Hawaii Foundation Plastic Free Hawaii Event - Sept. 20, 2013

Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation’s Plastic Free Hawai’i program is proud to host Beth Terry, author of Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too on O’ahu for a series of speaking engagements! Beth began her crusade against plastic overconsumption in 2007 when she started her blog MyPlasticFreeLife.com, which is the leading blog on going plastic free. Beth will provide personal anecdotes, stats about the environment and health problems related to plastic, and personal solutions and tips on how to limit your plastic footprint. Join us for one or all of her presentations.

Click for Flyer


Polynesian Voyaging Society Press Conference – Sept. 6, 2013

ULS Project Pono and Global Leadership classes hosted the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s press conference about education outreach and the apprentice navigators first deep sea voyage.   See below for excerpts from the press release:

Worldwide Voyage Update – First Deep Sea Voyage

With 9 months before Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia embark on the international portion of the Worldwide voyage, PVS apprentice navigators are preparing for the first deep sea voyageof the Worldwide Voyage (WWV). The young navigators will leave with the first good winds traveling from Kaua‘i to the island of Nihoa. They will test their skills while onboard Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia with PVS’s five master or Pwo navigators – Nainoa Thompson, Bruce Blankenfeld, Shorty Bertelmann, Chad Kalepa Baybayan and Chadd Onohi Paishon This voyage of learning will also be a time for testing the equipment and technology that will be used to transmit data from the canoes to classrooms in Hawai‘i and beyond during the WWV. 

Please join us for an introduction to the new navigators, a demonstration of our educational technology and an update on the Mālama Hawaii portion WWV.  During our travels to the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Kauai more than 10,000 school children and community members have visited Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, celebrated efforts to strengthen communities and learning and shared their aloha and well wishes for the WWV.  Nainoa Thompson, Bruce Blankenfeld and DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi will also be in attendance.


*Worldwide Voyage Update*

*Friday, September 6, 2013*

*11:00am – 12:00pm*

*University Laboratory School*

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