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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       May 1, 2006





            At 11 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday, May 2, 2006), Mayor Mufi Hannemann and officials of the Department of Environmental Services will welcome more than 100 students and faculty from Kamehameha Middle School Kukui Team to Honolulu Hale, where the students’ projects on storm water pollution will go on display until May 12.

            The students studied the pollution of Kalihi Stream, which shares the same ahupua‘a with their Kapalama campus. They conducted research by interviewing interest groups and government officials, listening to guest speakers, reviewing existing public policy and performing water quality testing.  They decided that one way to address this problem would be to work with the City’s Adopt-A-Stream and Storm Drain Stenciling programs. To encourage others on their campus to join them, they developed an action plan; including the production of a public service announcement, distributing bumper stickers and T-shirts and presenting their Project Citizen portfolio to the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus Management Team.  They sense that they have started a process of change.

            “After finishing Project Citizen, I felt that my classmates and I have accomplished so much and made a big contribution to our community,” said Niutao Seau, Jr., Kamehameha Middle School student body president.  “One main lesson that I learned was that anyone can make a difference and that it is our responsibility to keep our community a safe and healthy environment.”

             Amy Callahan, an eighth grade English teacher at Kamehameha Middle School and one of the project’s principal advisors, said, “Through Project Citizen, an interdisciplinary and service learning project, our students learned how to become involved citizens and community leaders.  As educators, our hope was for students to understand they have a voice and a responsibility to find solutions to community problems. We are proud of our students’ efforts; and we have already witnessed a change in their disposition regarding government and their responsibility to be engaged and active citizens in the public policy-making process.”

            Kamehameha Middle School Principal Sandy Young said, “I would like to congratulate our students and staff for the research they did to identify the needs related to the Kahili Stream and to owning up to their responsibilities as citizens of Hawaii.  It is imperative that our youth know about and are willing to be ready to correct problems when they see it.”

Looking Out For the Watershed
Gerald Takayesu, head of the Department of Environmental Services’ Storm Water Quality Branch, said the Kamehameha students; teachers Amy Callahan, Kim Maunakea, Renade Kaneakua and others; Principal Young and President Michael Chun are definitely starting something.  “They provide a connection to people and government,” said Takayesu. “They serve as a means by which students and residents in the community can become engaged in a variety of actions to improve the quality of life in the watershed.”

            The City and County of Honolulu, through the Storm Water Management Program (SWMP), is legally bound to implement the mandates of a 1987 amendment to the Federal Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit. The federal government regulates water that enters the ocean and other bodies of water. This federal regulation requires permits for stormwater discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) in urbanized areas and for construction activities disturbing one or more acres. Changes at the local and statewide level have included new requirements to further reduce the amounts of pollutants entering the ocean and other bodies of water.   To do this, we need the help of everyone who lives on Oahu.

Project Citizen
Project Citizen is a multi-disciplined, national curricular program for middle school students, funded by the Center for Civic Education.  The intent of Project Citizen is to address the civic mission of schools by motivating and empowering young people to learn and practice the responsibilities of citizenship in a constitutional democracy. Project Citizen brings relevancy into the classroom by helping students identify an issue of public concern, understand the current public policy regarding the problem, and generate alternative solutions that can be implemented to address the issue. 

             The culminating projects for the class are on display at Honolulu Hale as part of the 2006 Project Citizen Hawaii State Showcase until May 12.





            Iwalani Sato, Department of Environmental Services, 429-4112

Monday, May 01, 2006

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