Consortium for Hawaii Ecological Engineering Education (CHEEE) dba Mālama ‘Āina Foundation
The Consortium for Hawaii Ecological Engineering Education (CHEEE) was formed in 1998 to bring together a number of institutions interested in carrying out research programs on the preservation and protection of Hawaii's natural environment. A central concern of the Consortium was to develop educational programs at all levels (K-12 and college-level) that would train Native Hawaiian and other students in the ecological sciences so that they could become better stewards of Hawaii's unique environment.
The Consortium has at various times included the following entities: University of Hawaii, Partners in Development Foundation, Ocean Arks International, the Bishop Museum, the Massachusetts Foundation, and several others.
Beginning in 1998 CHEEE was incorporated as a Hawaii not-for-profit group. All of CHEEE's administrative activities were carried out by Consortium participating entities so that CHEEE did not maintain its own staff. During the period 1998-2003 CHEEE was selected as a "pass through" entity for two federal grants, both related to education for Native Hawaiian students in ecology and environmental issues. These projects were Malama I Ka ‘Aina (carried out at the College of Education of the University of Hawaii with the cooperation of other agencies) and Pikoi Ke Kaula Kualena (involving the University of Hawaii, Partners in Development Foundation, and other groups). Both projects have been highly successful in encouraging Native Hawaiian students to study the mathematical and scientific principles embedded in traditional Hawaiian environmental practices.
In 2003 several Consortium entities collaborated on a proposal for a project related to education of Native Hawaiian students, using Kaneohe Bay marine systems as a real world teaching example of how knowledge of traditional Hawaiian culture can contribute to contemporary environmental sustainability.
This proposal was approved at the federal level in 2004. Because of this new grant a decision was made to convert CHEEE from a non-administering "pass through" consortium into a working foundation that would be able to administer the new project. Appropriate legal steps were taken to transform CHEEE into a new kind of organization, with new By-laws, and able to hire staff and conduct fiscal matters. A new name was adopted — Mālama ‘Āina Foundation. (For the time being both names will be used, until the Mālama ‘Āina Foundation can assume all of CHEEE's functions).