Learning To Be Green With The Help Of MLC

By Pauline Sato, Executive and Program Director, Malama Learning Center

As a child growing up in Hawaii, I got bit by the “green” bug, the type that got me to commit to taking care of our environment. Decades later, I’m happy that more people are now “going green.” Whether it’s for the purpose of saving money or a more intrinsic value, it’s all good. But learning how to be green takes some research, and sometimes it can appear to cost too much. That’s where Malama Learning Center (MLC) can help.

MLC is a nonprofit organization located in Kapolei that teaches and inspires communities to live and work in a healthy, sustainable way. Malama means “to care for” or “protect.” MLC strives to unify schools, residents and businesses around a shared ethic of caring and conservation.


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Pauline Sato, Executive and Program Director, Malama Learning Center

Founded in 2004, MLC has a strong relationship with Kapolei High School and bases its programs on the campus, reaching out to students throughout West Oahu. Students are connected to the community through MLC’s programs, such as the Hawaii Green Collar Institute, which exposes them to professionals working in green careers, including sustainable agriculture, marine biology, forestry and engineering. MLC also has helped schools build and operate native plant nurseries and aquaponic systems, which provide ongoing opportunities to learn science in a hands-on way.

MLC works with many partners, including Leeward Community College, to encourage students to continue their education and enter green careers. Another partner is the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, which helped MLC bring a farmers and green market to Kapolei High School, called Makeke Kapolei. This weekly market (Thursdays from 3 to 6:30 p.m.) brings together about 40 vendors who sell fresh produce and locally produced goods. Healthy living and Hawaiian cultural activities also are featured.

With the help of partners, MLC reaches more than 3,000 people every year in hands-on projects, including monthly community workshops, and 800-1,000 people every week through Makeke Kapolei. MLC relies on various funding methods to operate, including grants, donations and sales of sustainable products. Volunteers of all ages also are needed. If you can help, please contact us at 692-8200 ext. 2267 or info@mala-malearningcenter.org, or visit mala-malearningcenter.org.