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Kaua‘i celebrates Earth Day, Volunteer Week

Earth Day has been celebrated globally on April 22 for the past 50 years, and Kaua‘i is not an exception, with a variety of projects for people to get involved in.

Earth Day is observed to promote awareness for the health of our environment, states the Earth Day website.

“Malama,” said Patty Furtado of the Royal Sonesta Kaua‘i Resort Lihu‘e Friday as she joined colleagues in cleaning the area around the Kalapaki resort. She was asked why they were doing it by a couple of people making their way to Kalapaki Beach.

“Malama the land. We’re taking care of it,” she said.

A group of about 50 Royal Sonesta associates, including General Manager Paul Toner, took time on Earth Day to clean the area, including Rice Street fronting the resort’s entrance, in observance of Earth Day.

“Why are there so many cigarette butts?” asked Maribel Mejia, as she picked up a discarded butt along the service road. “There are so many of them. People shouldn’t be smoking. It makes too much rubbish.”

Over at the Kaua‘i Community College, Emily Broderick needed no second invitation to don makeup for “guerrilla gardening” that was part of the college’s week-long Earth Day observance, Lokahi No Ka Honua, that started earlier in the week with a Zoom presentation from the West O‘ahu campus on the niu, or coconut.

“We plan activities that the students have an interest in,” said Pua Rossi, who along with Broderick coordinates the Earth Day programs at the KCC. “Additionally, the campus has been closed for so long because of the pandemic. We’re just coming out now. The campus has opened again, and this is a perfect time to reconnect with the many people who we’ve worked with before.”

One of those partners is the Citizen Forestry program, where program leader Sari Pastore and her corps of volunteers walked Earth Day participants through the measurements and data collection of trees on campus, wrapping up with the creation of seed bombs similar to the genki bombs used on O‘ahu to combat bacteria in the Ala Wai Canal.

People were invited to the lo‘i for a day of getting hands and clothes dirty in cleaning up the kalo plots and harvest what was already growing there, Rossi said.

“We were supposed to make poi, but the kalo isn’t cooked,” she said.

A beach cleanup at Hanama‘ulu Bay took place Saturday, led by the Ho‘omalu Ke Kai group with support from the Restore Hanama‘ulu group. Some of the ocean plastics collected were diverted to the Ocean Plastic Art Therapy with Hale Malama program Tuesday at the Learning Resource Center on campus starting from 2 p.m.

This is apart from the Earth Day observance weekend, but reflects the growing concerns about the earth’s changing environment.

“We really want to have this art project be exhibited somewhere,” Rossi said.

This project is similar to the partnership KCC has with Leadership Kaua‘i in presenting “Envisioning Kaua‘i’s Sustainable Future,” Wednesday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the KCC Fine Arts Auditorium, where people can talk story with ‘aina-based organizations creating economic diversity through social impact work on cultivating Kaua‘i’s future in pursuit of island innovation and sustainability through food systems.

Friday, more than 70 volunteers from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands joined with sponsor organizations including the Navy, Hawai‘i Air National Guard personnel, PMRF civilians and recreation pass holders to remove more than 500 pounds of trash and debris during the beach cleanup celebrating Earth Day.

“It’s great to finally be able to celebrate Earth Day together,” said PMRF Environmental Director Jessica Behnke. “Being able to get the PMRF ‘ohana together to do a beach cleanup is just amazing after two years of being limited to virtual celebrations. Celebrating Earth Day in person and seeing each other put their energy into helping our planet and its sustainability is great to experience.”

Volunteers scoured the beach from Kokole Point at the south end of the base, Waiokapua, or Major’s Day, and Kinikini Ditch, meeting at Shenanigans for a special meal for patrons and a discount for those who helped.

“It is really a privilege to be able to celebrate Earth Day and serve those who helped here at Shenanigans,” said Jeffrey Shaw, director of Morale, Welfare, and Recreation at PMRF. “It shows that it is a team effort, and all of us are willing to help each other take care of the ‘aina.”

Mayor Derek Kawakami thanked the nearly three dozen county workers and their families who turned out Saturday to do work in filling holes left by wild chickens, and do a general cleanup of the lawn fronting the Historic County Building.

“This is not just Volunteer Week or Earth Day,” Kawakami said. “This is a safety issue for the countless number of turned ankles that were victimized by those holes.”

The county’s Department of Parks & Recreation arranged to have truckloads of dirt available for the county’s Employee Council, also partnering with the Kaua‘i Board of Realtors in Kekaha to do cleaning and improvements to the park surrounding the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

Tommy Noyes of the Friends of Kamalani Playground and Lydgate said his name was not on the organizational chart for Earth Day in Lydgate Park.

“I did the work for the Kaua‘i events for Volunteer Week,” Noyes said while tending to his grandson and helping to reorganize the tool shed located adjacent to the sewer treatment plant. “My grandson can’t be left unattended. Tom Worthen is the chair for Earth Day in Lydgate Park.”

The goal of the Earth Day/Volunteer Week project was to secure at least 200 volunteers doing a wide range of tasks from the Tim Bynum Bridge to the Hikina‘akala He‘iau.

“We’ve got at least two dozen down at the Bynum Bridge, another 20 in the water at Morgan’s Ponds, and a lot of people doing work at the he‘iau,” Worthon said. “I’m sure we’ve met the goal.”

Patti Ornellas of the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau was among the group volunteers as she, Sue Kanoho, and the KVB office staff got the help of retired Kaua‘i Fire Department’s Sol Kanoho in trying to get weeds out of the he‘iau.

“This is part of the KVB Destination Management Action Plan,” Ornellas said. “We had to get our hands dirty. We’re talking with Nalani Brun of the county’s Office of Economic Development on getting more signage and improvements to enhance this for all visitors.”

Cheryl Shintani was in charge of litter patrols, and had the help of Kiwanis Club of Kaua‘i member Arryl Kaneshiro, and both the Kaua‘i and Kapa‘a high schools’ Key Clubs, as well as a visiting KCC exchange student.

“This is one of the few times we have the Key Clubs from both schools working together,” Shintani said. “Mayor Derek Kawakami is also a Kiwanis Club member, and he stopped by earlier in the morning. It’s such a good feeling to see these clubs coming together and working together.”
Source: The Garden Island

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