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ISLAND HISTORY: Forester Albert W. Duvel introduced the Kokee plum to Kauai

Born in Honolulu, Albert W. Duvel (1903-1978) was a 200-pound center and utility lineman on the University of Hawai‘i football team and the chief forester on Kaua‘i from 1925 to 1963.

In 1928, he discovered several small hibiscus trees on Kaua‘i damaged by cattle that he brought to cultivation and proved to be a new species, hibiscus clayi.

And, in November 1929, he led a major airborne forestation effort in Kaua‘i’s mountains and watersheds that was initiated by the Forestry Division of the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association and the Territorial Board of Agriculture and Forestry.

Duvel, as chief forester and head of HSPA’s reforestation effort on Kaua‘i, directed the pilot of the Army’s “Bird of Paradise” Fokker C-2 aircraft where to fly, while Joe Arita of the Kalaheo nursery, Koke‘e forest ranger A. L. McDonald and a member of the aircraft’s crew scattered 1,689 pounds of seed from the aircraft over Kaua‘i’s leeward interior.

Pride of India, karaka, ironwood, java plum, kukui, eucalyptus, Chinese fan palm, African tulip and Hawaiian lolou palm seeds were sown from Kalalau to Mount Wai‘ale‘ale, the Makaweli highlands toward Wai‘ale‘ale, and over the headwaters of the Wailua and Hanalei rivers.

Also, it was Duvel who gave George Cliff (1896-1973) of Waimea a couple of Methley plum trees that Cliff propagated and then went on to plant thousands of plum trees in Kokee.

From 1937 to 1942, Duvel was the administrator of the Koke‘e Civilian Conservation Corps Camp, which was comprised of several buildings, including an administration building, a mess hall, barracks, recreation building, supply room, garage, workshop and laundry room.

Unemployed, unmarried men were eligible to work at reforestation and trail- and road-building projects in Koke‘e, and were paid $30 per month, while the CCC provided them with food, shelter, clothing, cots, Army blankets, sheets and mosquito nets.

Albert Duvel also served in the Hawai‘i National Guard during World War II and was later the commanding officer of the Guard on Kaua‘i.

He and his wife, Charlotte, had two children: Albert W. Jr. and Jane Duvel.
Source: The Garden Island

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