Green Learning And Living

By Betty Gearen
Wednesday - November 09, 2011 Share

By Betty Gearen,
Director, The Green House

In the past 50 years, in our transition to urban life, we have given up our relationship to the land that feeds us, to the food we eat, and to the dirt under our feet.

In early 2004, facing this fact, The Green House Sustainable Learning Center was born. The center offers workshops for people of all ages covering topics including gardening, composting, making soap and natural cleaners, recycled art, cooking and renewable energy. The Green House mission is to re-educate children, adults, families and communities in the sustainable environmental practices that were once present in daily life, helping to create a fertile ground where the “seeds” of sustainability can grow. In the process, The Green House aims to recreate our sense of place and joy of community. Since our inception we have moved beyond the weekly workshops held at The Green House and now offer outreach programs in “greening” schools and an after-school environmental education program.

Kids gardening. Photo courtesy The Green House

In 2008 we received a grant to take our Learning Environmental Awareness Program (LEAP) to middle and high schools throughout Honolulu, especially to those students at greatest risk. LEAP classes are designed to promote action on climate change and waste reduction, while fostering creativity and a sense of personal ability and responsibility. LEAP has provided environmental education to more than 1,000 students in 17 schools. Plus, we have trained, talented teachers in the mentor component of the program.

In a recent workshop, students made masks out of recycled materials. They were excited about the project since many of them would not have Halloween costumes. The students were very involved in drawing, cutting and decorating their masks. This project gave the students a sense of ownership of what they created and meant a lot to the children who would have been left out of celebrating Halloween otherwise. It is wonderful to see the creative ways they expressed themselves each mask was different and reflected the personality of the child.

We welcome donations to help fund LEAP and we encourage anyone interested in volunteering or getting involved to check out our website at or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call The Green House at 524-8427.

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