May 14, 2019

Lanai Culture & Heritage Center offers Cultural Summer Program for Lanai students

This summer, Lanai Culture & Heritage Center will host its seventh annual cultural literacy program, E Ike Hou ia Lanai, which challenges middle and high school students to find creative solutions to care for the island’s aina and perpetuate our unique culture.

“We always engage in stewardship, no matter the lesson we’re teaching, because one of our philosophies is that no matter where you go, always leave the place better than the way you found it,” says Shelly Preza, program lead at Lanai Culture & Heritage Center. “Whether that’s pulling invasive species or helping to outplant native plants, or helping to restore a fishpond wall, we want to emphasize to our students that we should all do what we can if we can.”

The summer program offers students a chance to get outdoors and reconnect with Hawaiian culture and traditions. Organizers hope that students will be able to see some of the science, history and math lessons they’ve learned in the classroom come to life through hands-on experiences restoring historical sites across the island. This year’s curriculum includes visits to Lanai Hale, Hii heiau, Maunalei Valley, and a two-day camp at Waiaopae fishpond. At Waiaopae, students will work with Hawaii Island’s Hui Hooleimaluo, an organization focusing on loko ia (Hawaiian fishpond) restoration.

“It’s so encouraging when you see a student’s eyes light up because they understand the importance of what they’re learning and they’re having fun and they’re also reconnecting with the place where they’re from,” explains Preza. “Place-based learning helps students, especially ones within a rural community, become grounded and engaged in their own education. I think that’s why the work we’re doing is so vital to our community’s future success.”

Sign up for the 2019 Program

Download the Application Here

The summer program is open to incoming 7th through 12th graders who are interested in learning about the cultural heritage of Lanai. Applications can be downloaded from the organization’s website,, or picked up in person at the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center. The program runs from June 10-21, 2019 and the deadline to apply is May 24, 2019.

With support from local and statewide organizations, this year’s program is made possible through partnerships with Pulama Lanai, Kamehameha Schools, NOAA B-WET grant, Hawaii Island’s Hui Hooleimaluo, and other community members.

If you have any questions about the program, feel free to email Shelly Preza at

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