HONOLULU (KHON2) — The natural environment in Hawai’i contains some of the most gorgeous landscapes on the planet. Secluded from the rest of the world for millennia, Hawai’i’s unique natural beauty, including its flora and fauna, evolved in a vacuum.
However, since the world has converged on these tiny islands since the late 1700s, indigenous land and marine life have struggled to stay alive.
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It is through the efforts of residents, government agencies and non-profits that stand in the gap to repair, nurture and restore the ʻāina and wai that preservation of Hawai’i’s natural environment is possible.
One such group that has embarked on teaching its students their kuleana in protecting the natural world around them is St. Louis School.
On Saturday, April 8, a group of 40 volunteers from the school along with community members spent the morning clearing Pālolo Stream of illegally dumped rubbish.
The group removed invasive plant species and replaced them with Native Hawaiian flora. In addition to cleaning the stream, the group took an inventory of both native and alien aquatic life.
St. Louis School said that their emphasis on “ʻāina-based learning and the stream holds cultural and historical significance as the site of several moʻolelo or legends as well as the long-forgotten Mōʻiliʻili petroglyphs documented by the Bishop Museum almost a century ago.”
Pālolo Valley has deep roots in mo‘olelo (Hawaiian oral tradition). The stories tell us of the menhune who used the area for earthen ovens used to smoke their ti roots. They tell us of the burial caves and the gods who visited Hawaiian ancestors.
Kaimukī was known as an untamed territory “blanketed” with boulders. Home to sacred burial caves, Pālolo Valley has been swarmed with economic development.
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Also, as you contemplate your kuleana to the ʻāina and wai, consider contacting a local group or agency that seeks to malama ka ‘āina. There are usually several events each week that focus on protecting, restoring and/or cleaning the ʻāina and wai.