(BIVN) – The theft of seven laying hens from the Malaʻai Garden of Waimea Middle School, the latest in a string incidents at the garden and around Waimea, has left those involved with the garden heartbroken.
From the Waimea Middle School:
Seven laying hens that lived in the one-acre Malaʻai Garden of Waimea Middle School were stolen sometime during the night of Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. The hens lived in a spacious fenced in yard with large coop and are an important part of the school garden’s outdoor living classroom, which provides hands-on environmental science and health-wellness lessons enjoyed by all of the school’s 260+ students.
“The hens belong to the students who regularly feed and care for them. It’s a meaningful learning experience to be responsible for their wellbeing. Students love our hens. They also regularly harvest their eggs to learn to prepare healthy delicious food,” said Amanda Rieux, Malaʻai Garden Founder and Program Director.
“We are heartbroken to discover this morning that the coop had been broken into and seven of our beloved hens were gone – stolen,” said Garden Leader Holly Sargent-Green. “Who would steal our students’ hens?”
The theft was reported to Waimea police. If anyone knows or hears anything about this, they are asked to please call the police at the non-emergency number (935-3311) or call Crime Stoppers (961-8300).
In the nearly 14 years since community volunteers, donors, school teachers and administrators came together to create this outdoor living classroom, there have been few incidents, but in the past six months, we have had four with this being the most devastating, said WMS Principal Janice English.
“We don’t know what we’ll say to our students upon their return from winter break this coming Tuesday. These were their pets,” said Rieux.
Malaʻai is a learning garden on school land but it is run by a private not-for-profit that is supported by generous contributions from the community as well as by grants and gifts from local and national foundations to support student learning, health and wellness. Garden lessonsare integrated with core curriculum to make the most of student time spent in the garden. Malaʻai has been recognized repeatedly for its leading edge work in developing standards-based curriculum that also incorporates cultural lessons and practices. For more about Malaʻai: www.malaai.org.
Waimea has also experienced several acts of vandalism in recent months, such as the damage to the Waimea Park Bandstand in November.