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Alakoko mural work continues with community help

NAWILIWILI — Kamalei Berg remembers pulling mangrove from the days when Malama Huleʻia started the project at the Niumalu Pavilion.

“I still have the photograph that was published in the newspaper,” said Kamalei, now an Eagle Scout and a college student. “And, we’re still pulling mangrove, today.”

Kamalei was with the Scout Troop 148 that participated in the Alakoko mural project Friday with mother Devi and sister Hi‘ilei, the reigning Little Miss Kaua‘i and a scout with Troop 148. There were a pair of Cub Scouts joining the group as well.

“She has her sash and crown in the car in case we need it for a photo op,” said Devi.

Prior to picking up the paintbrushes, the troop was engaged in clearing mangrove from the Alakoko fishpond near the wall separating the fishpond. from the Huleʻia River ahead of a Community Work Day scheduled for Saturday. The activity served to give the volunteers a sense of place and purpose for their visit to the ancient fishponds.

“It’s good that today is a holiday,” Devi said. “The troop wanted to participate in this, but all the dates and times were when school was in session.”

Holly Ka‘iakapu, the Mo‘olelo Murals team leader, said the mural is a manifestation of the Alakoko “Menehune” Fishpond area and should serve as the driving force behind the eventual “functional educational piece” that is scheduled to be completed by the end of the month.

“We’re actually ahead of schedule because of the energy from the scouts,” Ka‘iakapu said. “We’ve come a long way from when the mural project started with the keiki handprints. We should be completed on schedule.”

Malia Chun of Na Pua No‘eau at the Kaua‘i Community College has been coordinating the student visits to help complete the mural.

“We’ve got the Kaua‘i Community College staff and student activities council coming to help, next week,” Chun said. “Today, we have the Scouts in the morning, and the Girl Scouts are supposed to fill in the afternoon time slots. As the mural progresses towards completion, we’ll have the older students coming in to help finalize the mural.”

The Alakoko mural project is a collaboration between the Mo‘olelo Murals artists, Na Pua No‘eau, and Malama Hule‘ia, a nonprofit organization that advocates, educates, and leads community efforts to remove red mangrove along the Hule‘ia River, re-establish native wetland ecosystems, and creates an environmental stewardship program honoring Hawaiian values.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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