Education and the landscape

Integrating the campus landscape and plant collections into the educational mission of the university is one of the guiding principals of the campus arboretum. The arboretum supports use by a wide range of classes, as well as other programs for primary education and for the general public.

Arboretum staff are committed to supporting educational uses, and can work with faculty to help develop exercises or labs that use the campus plants. If you would like to explore setting something up for your class, please contact us.

The physical landscape also materially supports UH Mānoa's commitment to being a "Hawaiian place of learning." Hawaiian traditional knowledge is embedded in a network of relationships, including those between humans and other species or landscape elements, and supporting these in the campus landscape helps create appropriate contexts for learning, supporting Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian students alike by grounding education in place.

UHM Courses using the campus arboretum

  • Bot 160 — Campus Plants.  Non-technical course emphasizing recognition of the many interesting tropical plants seen on campus; origin, status in Hawai‘i, and cultural and economic uses of campus plants.
  • Bot 641 —  Systematics. Campus plants are used in weekly labs to illustrate characteristics.  Students assemble a portfolio of vouchers, mostly from campus.
  • Geog101L — Introduction to the Natural Environment — Lab. "A survey of field and laboratory methods commonly used by physical geographers."  Uses campus landscape for exercises in measuring evironmental variables, classifying soils, etc.  In one lab on biogeography, students prepare vouchers of campus plants.
  • Geog 409 —  Cultural Biogeography. "Coevolution of human societies and plants over the last 10,000 years. Foraging, farming and urban societies economies; spread and modification of selected plants; issues of preservation of genetic resources and traditional plant knowledge. The form and function of gardens."  Campus landscapes are used as illustrations of people-plant relationships.
  • HWST 285 & HWST 385 — La’au Lapa’au I & II: Hawaiian Medicinal Herbs. "Presentation of Hawaiian medicinal herbs including basic philosophy, identification, utilization, and preparation of such herbs for human ailments; advanced study and preparation of Hawaiian medicinal herb combinations." Uses plants from campus, including special gardens at the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies.
  • HWST 351 & HWST 352 — Mahi’ai Kalo I & II: Taro Cultivation. "Historical, cultural and philosophical foundations of the cultivation and uses of taro; in depth-study of taro cultivation techniques and systems."  Taught at the Ka Papa Loʻi ʻO Kānewai Cultural Garden, this class includes other plants which contribute to the traditional cultural ecology of kalo, and which are planted near the lo‘i.
  • TPSS 353 —  Landscape Graphics Studio.  "Basic skills of landscape graphic communication through a creative process model. Learning free hand and technical drafting techniques to creative effective landscape graphics."  Campus plants and landscapes are regularly used for teaching examples and design exercises.
  • TPSS 369 —  Ornamental Plant Materials.  Identification, origin, use, and cultural requirement of trees, shrubs, vines, and groundcovers used in Hawaiian landscapes. Makes regular use of the campus plants for examples and for identification esercises.
  • TPSS 420 —  Plant Propagation.  "Theoretical and applied aspects of seed and vegetative propagation technology involving fruits, flowers, vegetables, and landscape plants."  Campus plants are regularly used for propagation exercises.
  • TPSS 652 — Information Research Skills.  In 2016 this class included a workshop on "Introduction to R - Making Maps and Graphs using your Data" with UH data librarian R. David Beales, using the campus plants data set as one of the exemplary materials.

Other education uses

The university also serves as a resource for primary education, including the students of our own University Lab School — who regularly participate in our public service days — and other public, charter, and private schools. In particular, a number of school and program visit Ka Papa Lo‘i O Kānewai. We are currently working to collect and consolidate curricula and educational materials, which we will consolidate here.

We are happy to share knowledge about plants and plantings during special public events, such as Arbor Day and Earth Day, when we give away plants and invite people to plant trees with us!

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Contact Us

Landscape Services

2002 East-West Road

Honolulu, HI  96822

ph: 808.956.4626

fx: 808.956.4075


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