The official end date of Mālama Hulē‘ia’s grant-supported project has been extended from January 31 to May 30, 2015. This does not mean that our work will be finished on that end date, because all of the rest of the Hulē‘ia River and the ‘Alekoko Fishpond will still need to be freed of mangrove. But we do aim to accomplish our short term goals of eradicating red mangrove from the Niumalu Beach Park area, both along the Pu‘ali Stream and along the Niumalu Road out to the Hulē‘ia River, by May 30. And we will continue to hold community work weekends every third weekend of the month until then. (See 2015 dates on the right.)
In spite of the tremendous support we have had from community volunteers, progress in our demonstration project has been slowed by bad weather, very wet and muddy ground conditions, and the huge size of mangrove trees. We do have plans to turn this around by employing heavy equipment that can pull the trees out to dry land where the equipment will be located and where the trees can be more easily cut up and disposed. We will start to use this equipment in January, 2015.
Meanwhile, on December 20 and 21, 2014, we still need all the volunteer help we can get to clear the mangrove and other invasive plants, as well as to restore the area with native vegetation. If you have some time, please join our troops and help us to mālama Niumalu. Wear boots or tabis, glasses and sun protection. We will provide gloves and lunch. Ho‘omoe wai kāhi ke kāo‘o. (Let all travel together like water flowing in one direction.)
One of our most important project objectives is to convert the red mangrove-infested space next to the Niumalu Beach Park into a community learning center. To a large extent, this has already been achieved, with several schools partnering with Mālama Hulē‘ia to bring students into the field to learn in a hands-on way about their Hawaiian heritage, the history of the place, the value of mālama ‘aina, teamwork, as well as basic ecology.
Carl Berg with Kaiwaikini Students
We have a continuing partnership with Kawaikini Charter School, which is creatively using our Niumalu site for a variety of lessons. Rebecca Cate, who has been collaborating with Carl Berg, explains how they are doing this: “Kawaikini has been honored to be at Niumalu. Our students have learned so much about the area. On our last trip we had our High school students create 5 lessons plans – Hawaiian stories of Niumalu, plants in Niumalu, invasive plants for clean up, the rivers of Niumalu, and water testing to learn about brakish water. Our high school students taught the younger students, grades 2, 7 & 8 these lessons. We have plans to repeat these lessons with all our Elementary level students so our whole school (k-12) will have a foundation of Niumalu upon which to build in future years. Mahalo for all your help and for making these trips a success.”
In the near future, we also expect to have art students from Kapaa High School come to the site. They will help with signage and begin the process of remaking the Niumalu site into a place of culture and beauty.
If you missed the update of our Mālama Hulē‘ia project on Wala‘au back in September, you can now view it on our Gallery page http://malamahuleia.org/gallery/. Mahalo to Katie Beer for putting together the video, and to Mason, Jan and Justin Kollar for being our spokespersons. They did a terrific job.
As a late reminder, this weekend (Nov. 15-16) is the time when we give back a little bit of hana to the ‘Aina, especially to our ‘Āinakumuwai Hulē‘ia, for all the benefits we receive. Please join our volunteers from Kapaa HS and KCC in freeing Niumalu from invasive red mangrove. Let this be our Thanksgiving.
We will be working in wet and muddy condtions, so please wear boots or tabis and use sunscreen and sunglasses. A reusable water bottle will also help.
Although last month’s regular work weekend was cancelled due to the tropical storm threat, we still made good progress on other days thanks to the help of DOE teachers and members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hawaii – Lihue Clubhouse. Special mahalo to Sabra Kauka and Asaka Herman for initiating and coordinating the help.
Thanks to Malia Chun for keeping our activity reporting up-to-date on FaceBook:
On Thursday, August 28, 2014, the 7-12 grade students and teachers of Kawaikini Public Charter School worked on the Mālama Hulē‘ia project site in the first of a series of partnering activities. Kawaikini is a school that emphasizes traditional Hawaiian values through the Hawaiian language. The partnership with Mālama Hulē‘ia involves hands-on environmental fieldwork as well as Hawaiian cultural education with a commitment to seeing the restoration of the ‘Alēkoko (Alakoko) fishpond. Prior to arriving at our project site, Malia Chun met the students and teachers at the ‘Alēkoko overlook and explained the cultural importance of the fishpond and how Mālama Hulē‘ia’s long term goal is to restore this treasure, which is now overgrown with mangrove. Carl Berg then introduced them to our project site and explained the environmental reasons for what we are doing in restoring the Pu‘ali Stream, Hulē‘ia River and ‘Alēkoko fishpond.
According to Kumu Rebecca Cate, the alignment of Kawaikini School with Mālama Hulē‘ia is based on our shared vision:
“Kawaikini is a K – 12 school that is in the moku of Puna – the same moku as Alakoko. We care for our ‘āina and desire to pass this passion on to our students. We are hoping to partner with Mālama Hulēʻia to learn from the wealth of knowledge this foundation has. Whatever we do at Kaiola will assist us with the restoration of Alakoko. We have a shared vision to see Alakoko restored and we want our students to be active participants of this process – over how ever many years it may take to accomplish this. We believe this process has immeasurable educational value that directly aligns to our school’s vision.”
Kawaikini School’s long term commitment to our cause is greatly appreciated. Mahalo to all the students and teachers who will help us to realize our vision.
Mangrove Hauling Sledge
Faced by a massive wall of red mangrove, deep tangles of hau, and mud that can swallow half of your leg, our Mālama Hulē‘ia volunteer army continued to march toward the Pū‘ali Stream. On the weekend of August 16-17, we employed all the weapons we had, plus a couple of new ones. We had brush cutters and chain saws buzzing. We extended our walkway even further over the mud. We loaded up carts and pushed them to where the chipper could grind up the mangrove and hau branches. We cut down and chained up whole trees and dragged them out of the mud with a truck on dry ground. And we put a couple of truck bed liners to good use as a sledges for hauling the cut up mangrove.
We made good progress in clearing mangrove and other invasive plants bordering the Pū‘ali. Although the challenge of completely eliminating these invaders and freeing the Pū‘ali remains great, we can prevail by practicing our motto: Ho‘omoe wai kāhi ke kāo‘o (Let all travel together like water flowing in one direction.) In the end, the power of wai will be on our side.
Mahalo to all of our volunteer warriors for taking on this battle with the red mangrove, especially to those who have helped before. Big mahalo to the Kane Ohana, including Durgh and Pomai Kane, who after all these years with the Kaiola Canoe Club, still demonstrate that there is more to being in an outrigger canoe club than paddling. Also big mahalo to Dennis Chun, who took time off from his neighboring project in Nawiliwili, Nā Kalai Waʻa ʻO Kauaʻi – Namahoe, to help us with ours.