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Earth Day celebrated at PMRF

BARKING SANDS — More than 125 keiki from three area schools around the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands joined the facility in participating in Earth Day activities that, according to PMRF Environmental Director Jessi Behnke, “centered on a shared desire to care for the land and invest in our planet.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity to have you out here at PMRF at this beautiful beach,” said PMRF Commanding Officer Capt. Brett Stevenson, welcoming the students. “We love our island home, and we want to make it as beautiful and safe as we can. I’m so thrilled that all of you were able to come here to help us out.”

The children and PMRF personnel engaged in a competitive beach cleanup that resulted in approximately 385 pounds of debris and trash removed from the coastline of Waiokapua, or Major’s Bay.

PMRF personnel shared their excitement for Earth Day with demonstrations on meteorology, and protecting and conserving native plants and animals with the keiki.

As part of the featured activities, Kawehi Harris, a biological science technician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for PMRF, demonstrated how she uses Sweep, a bird-hazing dog, to safely remove birds from the hazardous areas of the facility.

PMRF Meteorologist Tim Golden hosted a science experiment for the keiki, showing how he can make a cloud.

“This was a wonderful event, and I am so grateful for the schools,” Behnke said.

Tara del Fierro Duran, an archaeologist and cultural resources manager at PMRF, said Earth Day is every single day.

“On Earth Day, I just want to recognize that we are all kupu, translated to mean ‘a sprout.’ We are on a journey, and we are all growing, ” del Fierro Duran said.

“Today we’re celebrating our journey here with our environment, with the land, and in journeys with each other in the communities we are with, and with the many schools here. We’re all part of Kaua‘i, so mahalo for being here. We’re here t0 learn about a lot of things and visit with the partner organizations who are also here today,” said del Fierro Duran.

Earth Day at PMRF partners included Save Our Shearwaters, Kaua‘i Invasive Species Committee, state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife, DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, University of Hawai‘i SeaGrant program, Zero Waste Kaua‘i, USDA Wildlife Services and The Nature Conservancy.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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