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Inspiring the Next Generation

Future Foresters is our longest standing program and our most beloved endeavor. The program brings keiki to the Waikōloa Dry Forest Preserve after-school to hike, explore, learn, and reflect in nature and has a lasting impact on our students. Through place-based education and adventure, we are inspiring kids to become life-long learners and stewards of our ‘āina or as they say: “Hike, plant, learn, repeat!”

Future Foresters is an ongoing after-school program that serves students at Waikōloa Elementary and Middle School. We have 42 Future Foresters and our group is comprised of new and returing 4th and 5th grade students as well as several Forest Leaders who are middle school students that return to the program to help mentor our younger students.

Each week, our students learn in nature whether in the Waikōloa Dry Forest Preserve or at another inspiring place in our region. These field trips are fun, educational, and impactful; not only do students connect with the environment and their communities, but they also give back!

Our curriculum is science-based and presented within the biocultural context of our dryland forests and storied places within our region. Our students learn through exploration and connect to place through stewardship.

Future Foresters plant trees, monitor outplanting health, build trails, pull weeds, care for seedlings in our plant nursery, and teach others about the dry forest and their efforts to help conserve it. They also provide volunteer service at our partnering sites around the island.

Future Foresters is a free program sponsored by WDFI and our supporters. The program is offered to students based on need and interest. Applications are distributed to classrooms in early August. Our program fills up quickly and a waiting list is maintained throughout the year. If you have any questions, or would like to support our haumana, please contact us.

“It is a great place to learn about native plants and Hawaiian culture. You get to plant these plants with an awesome teacher Auntie Jackie.”

– Aileana Pajimola, 4th Grade, Age 10

“For years I heard that there was a green huge forest and I want to see that again.”

-Trey Thomas, 6th Grade Age 12

“Future Foresters has influenced my view of the environment in a positive way because being out in nature and helping out the forest helps me see that we can make a difference in the environment.”

– Shaniah Spear, 7th Grade, Age 13


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