By: Erin Higa
On a recent Sunday morning, HHF Planners staff, family and friends came to volunteer at Waimea Valley undaunted by flash flood warnings. On hand were HHF Principal, Rick Quinn, his son Shawn and friends; the wonderful Cindy Gamiao, her husband Jesse and daughter, Chelsea; Senior Planner, Aaron Mann and myself. We were led by Hi‘ipaka Conservation Land Specialist, Laurent Pool who explained our mission that day: to aid restoration efforts on Kalahe‘e Ridge by planting native endemic Acacia koa or “koa” trees and helping to cut back invasive species like Koster’s Curse (Clidemia hirta) and Strawberry Guava (Psidium cattleianum).
Before we began our hike up to the ridge Laurent shared a beautiful oli of respect for the ancestors of Waimea (oli and translation courtesy of Kamehameha Schools’ Kamehameha Scholars page):
E Ho Mai
E hō mai (i) ka ʻike mai luna mai ē
ʻO nā mea huna noʻeau o nā mele ē
E hō mai, e hō mai, e hō mai ē (a)
Give forth knowledge from above
Every little bit of wisdom contained in song
Give forth, give forth, oh give forth
When we got to the ridge, Laurent showed us some of the progress already being made on the ridge: plantings of indigenous ‘a‘ali‘i (Dodonaea viscosa), ‘ulei (Osteomeles anthyllidifolia) and endemic koa and ko‘oko‘olau (Bidens amplectens) that were coming up.
Then we got down to work, planting 146 Acacia koa seedlings on a hill that Laurent designated. Here is Laurent showing us the steps to successful planting:
Here’s further photo documentation of our adventures:
We started out with fresh faces and clean shoes, and ended it tired, pretty filthy, but feeling even better than when we started…having put in a good days work.
Aloha to Laurent and all the hard-working folks at Hi‘ipaka for bringing us along, and for all that they do to restore Waimea.
Further acknowledgement goes to Rick Quinn, for providing all the names of the indigenous, endemic and invasive plants that we encountered (a specialty of his). Click here to see more of Rick’s work with native plants.