A generous grant from the Richard Q. Y. and Esther A. Wong Foundation has allowed many children, parents and others of our ohana to experience the Lyon Arboretum the way it was truly intended. The Wong grant provided funding to offer school field trip programs this year at no cost to students in Title One schools (schools with a large percentage of low income families). Over 800 students have participated so far this fall, and 1,100 additional students are scheduled for a full morning of activities directly aligned to their classroom studies.
The school programs are designed to connect local children to their island environment. For many of these students it is the first time they’ve been in a rain forest, taken a hike, or tasted a mountain apple. As Zenobia Barlow stated eloquently “Children are born with a sense of wonder and an affinity for Nature. Properly cultivated, these values can mature into eco-logical literacy, and eventually into sustainable patterns of living.”
The Wong Foundation grant also funded the installation of a drinking fountain at the Education Center, serving the needs of all our thirsty students, teachers and chaperones visiting the Children’s Garden, the Marilyn Mueller Goss Children’s Learning Center, and our Children’s Garden volunteers working in the garden. The new water fountain has been a very welcome relief during the recent Kona weather days, and will help to keep us all well-hydrated for many years to come. We all send a sincere MAHALO to the Wong Foundation for their generous gift!