What Maui Can Teach Your Students About Garden and Farm Preservation

Garden and Farm Preservation - What We Can Learn from Maui

Teachers often use current events to teach students of all-ages about important concepts. Often these current events are tragic, but they come with lessons that are important to learn about, even (or especially) at an early age. This is true for the tragedy that occurred on Maui in Hawai’i in August 2023. While news reports have understandably focused on the obliteration of historic Lahaina town and the businesses and homes within the area, it’s important to shed light on the large scale destruction of land used to support sustainable food production. Maui’s winds and fire took a toll on farmers and ranchers as thousands of acres of pasture, a significant chunk of orchardists’ harvest, and the nursery industry’s output of pollinating flowers were wiped out within a few short hours. The island’s agricultural industry now faces a complicated web of immediate and longterm challenges. And unlike some other international weather events that may not apply to regions in Canada, wildfires are certainly something that Canada can relate to. Look no further than what has been happening in Alberta and BC over the last few years (this summer included) as proof that we’re all in this together.

Let’s not hide behind tragedy, but instead use it to teach future generations about how to preserve what’s important to our survival, one community at a time.

What the Wildfire Tragedy of Maui Can Teach Kids in Canada About the Necessity of Garden and Farm Preservation

The Importance of Seed Preservation

There could be some relief for farmers and gardeners in Maui who stored seeds for crops away from the burn zone. Simply put, if they have the seeds, they can rebuild and grow crops again as soon as soil is ready to accommodate growth and/or other locations can be secured. Beginning immediately, use the tragedy of Maui to teach your students about the critical necessity of seed preservation.

The Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation is here to help with this essential goal. Please reference this 3-Step Seed Preservation Lesson Plan for Students, and start Growing Plants in the Classroom for a more holistic model to follow.

Hands-On Lesson on Gardening for Climate Change

Climate change is the topic of conversation regarding the Maui and Western Canada fires. Your students may feel powerless against such a force when it comes to their school, community, or home gardens, but they are not. With a lesson plan and creativity you can teach your students that there is something they can do to make a difference, even if it is just one small construct at a time. Take note that in nearly every instance of community destruction caused by extreme weather, that there are always reports of one or two yards, homes, or buildings that appear untouched even though everything around them is gone. This is sometimes due to preparation. Your class can protect its on-site (or nearby) gardening and farming spaces from extreme weather caused by climate change via the following:

  • Wind-proof the garden/farm (view tips here)
  • Drought-proof the garden/farm (which ties into wildfire threats)
  • Precipitation proof the garden/farm

You’ll need more insight into each, so please reference this guide to How to Climate Proof Your Garden and this guide for How to Wind-Proof Your Garden. In addition, please read this very relatable (to current events) guide to Removing Fire Hazards from Your Garden.

Water is Life, Protect it Too

Lack of access to water is a big problem when it comes to climate change-related events such as the Maui wildfires of 2023. Abundant water is needed to prevent the spark, abate approaching fire, and to help rebuild farms and gardens. In addition to the lesson plans regarding the protection of seeds and crops, add water preservation into the equation. The Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation has been relentless in this resolve and has created a reservoir of information on how to preserve water for farming and gardening. Please reference the following articles and guides to serve as part of the holistic lesson plan for your students:

We can hope that one day we live in a world where we can teach children about garden and farming preservation through unfortunate things that have occurred in history, and not current events. This possibility can begin today with your very own classroom. Please feel free to contact the Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation to request information regarding FREE learning materials for your Canadian school/s.

How to Make Your Community School Garden More Inclusive

Earth Day 2021 Livestreams

Our videos with Mark Cullen and Brian Minter

Growing Mindful Children

Our Video clip from the 2020 Celebration of Greath Health (9 min)


Sponsors &

Plant a Seed –