Through the passing showers, early on Saturday morning, February 1st, 2014, more than 100 community members volunteered at the Kauhale Preservation Site Wetland to clean the preserve of introduced battis (pickle weed) in preparation for the annual nesting season of the endangered kukuluāe‘o, or Hawaiian stilt (pictured above). The volunteers included residents from across ‘Ewa and the neighboring communities, and spanned three generations. Hale Pono – Boys and Girls Club, ‘Ewa Beach Lions Club members, the ‘Ewa-
Wetland Restoration - A'ohe hana nui ke alu 'ia! "It is no great task when done together by all!"
Pu‘uloa Outrigger Canoe Club, ‘Ewa Pu‘uloa Hawaiian Civic Club, and Haseko Hawai‘i joined the Hoakalei Cultural Foundation in this annual project. Wetland specialist, Charlie Morgan provided participants with background on why the objectives of the clean, explaining, “The native kukuluāe‘o are an endangered species of Hawaiian water birds. Their habitat has been reduced, and introduced cats, rats, mongoose and dogs have raided the nests over the years, killing the birds. The birds nest on the ground, making their home in the moist mud of the wetland. The Kauhale Preserve Wetland has been protected, to keep many of the animals out, but the introduced battis (pickle weed) covers up the mud, and the young hatchlings can get tangled in the weed and die. The birds will begin building nests in the next month or two, and the young will be hatched by May and June. So the work done by volunteers today helps to ensure increased success in building a healthy population of this native species, along with other waterfowl like the Hunakai (Sanderlings) and other native species.” At the end of the service project, Charlie Morgan observed that “Today's work by the volunteers made a significant contribution to protecting the habitat for these living Hawaiian treasures.” After several hours of hard work, Uncle Mitch of the Lions Club, along with Lisa Enanoria got to work making shave for everyone, and the gang ate their fill of pizza. At the close of the activity, 25 volunteers joined Kepā Maly on a tour of the Kauhale Preserve Heritage Trail, where one steps into the past of Honouliuli, when Hawaiian families lived on the land, sustaining themselves with the bounty of the coastal lands, and exchanged their goods with those families who live inland. At the end of the day, Aunty Kau‘i of the ‘Ewa-Pu‘uloa Outrigger Canoe Club, and board member of the Hoakalei Cultural Foundation, gathered ‘ōpio of the club who shared a mele (chant) celebrating the some of the storied places of Honouliuli. To learn more about the history of Honouliuli and about volunteer and educational programs of the Hoakalei Cultural Foundation, please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mahalo nui – a e mālama pono i ka honua ola!