Today on this huaka’i, we worked at the Wai'anae Kai Forest Reserve with the Wai'anae Mountains Watershed Partnership to get rid of weedy grasses and the haole koa trees. We are doing this to restore the native plants to their homes and places they belong. The challenge in this huaka’i was trying to work hard and keep hydrated at the same time. Another challenge was trying to stay cool in the hot sun with only little to no breeze and barely any shade. Well my favorite part of this field trip would be when we were pulling weeds because we were challenging the lady’s to see who worked harder. A topic that was discussed would be safety, we talked about safety because we were using dangerous tools and in the hot sun. We also talked about what kind of native plants and animals could be found here in the past and the importance of our work to restore this area. We were getting rid of the haloe koa trees and invasive grasses because they are fire starters and also to create a fire break to protect the watershed area where we were at. Everyone worked hard together contributing to a very productive day.
On this Huakai what we did was first learn about how Kaina got started with the E Ala. To start, he said; that there was a fishing sanctuary from the harbor down to the fifty yard line of the football field at Wai'anae High School. What he also talked about would be how they got the E Ala. First of all the wa’a E Ala was under water and needed to get out from under the water. One of the canoes of the double hull was under sand and needed to be uncovered. They also talked about how they got their hālau for there Wa’a and to teach classes out of it. The person who help them get the Halau was William Aila from the Department of land and Natural Resources(DLNR). This guy told them to attend a meeting to put their idea out to the table. When that day came Kaina and someone else attended the meeting and after the meeting was finished, Kaina had left that meeting with half a million dollars to build the hālau. They showed their blueprint to William Aila and the height was originally 45ft tall but when the hālau was finished William aila had added 15ft more to the original blueprint. He added on the 15ft to the halau so they can have room for the future and is now the biggest hālau in the state. What we also did here was sand down the railings for the wa’a, which were made out of hau. We sanded down the railings so that the gloss stays on the wood longer. What we also did there was learn about a mural they did on the container. I also learned that the mural was started by the kids that and family members that live in Harbor. This knowledge is important because it shows that kids and family in the harbor put there own Mana (power) into that mural. Yes I could see myself sailing in this canoe, why I think so is because its something I've always wanted to do in my life.
Today we went on a tour of MA‘O farms and learned that the whole farm is on Lualualei vertisol soil, which is very fertile and found nowhere else in the world. We also learned about the place names surrounding the farm and how much fruits and vegetables are grown here by the local youth that helps to feed the community. We also went to their ‘Ahu that was in the piko of their farm to get all of your negativity out and put your postive mana into the ‘ahu. We also did a little hana, the hana we did was pull the weeds away from the mango trees because the weeds are no good for the plants that are fruiting because it takes away nutrients that the tree needs. We also made a lot of pizzas, fruit salad, and sassy salad using the produce grown at the farm. We cooked the pizza in a brick (Earth) oven that uses no electricity. Some highlights of today would be the ‘Ahu because I pulled out the secret poi pounder that was in the ‘Ahu. Another highlight would be making the pizza and salads with everyone. A topic that was discussed were oppurtunities to go to college for free if we join this leadership program at MA'O. This program would help me earn my 2 year degree and help me get into a four year college.
Today at the Pioneer Farms, we did a tour of where they keep their corn and where they start their corn plants and seeds. We also learned how they pollinate the corn, they do it all by hand. A topic that we discussed were GMO’s, ways to get rid of bad insects, and also what insects are beneficial for the farm. We looked at the good and bad insects under the microscope. After this, we moved on to the Mālaola Cultural Garden at Pioneer Farms, at this garden we worked on removing weeds and invasive plants that we don't want in the garden so that the native plants there can grow successfully. We also worked on a mulch bed to keep weeds down as well as moved rocks to anchor down the weed mat. A highlight of today would be when we were weeding because I helped pull out a lot of weeds and invasive plants. Another highlight would be counting the 29 trash bags of weeds and invasive plants showing all of our progress as a group for the day.
The purpose of this huaka'i was to explore Honiniwai Stream (aka Stink Pond) and the surrounding area known as Zablans. We tested both the ocean and stream water for things like pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and temperature using water quality test kit tablets as well as probes to collect and compile data that we can compare later on in class. Although we tested the water, we also did a little bit of community service, such as cleaning the rocky area of any debris like glass, plastic bags, and fishing line. Another essential point is that we were looking at the diffirent types of plankton that were in the Honiniwai stream and from the ocean. Additionally, Aunty Elsie Ryder from Alu Like taught us about how the beach “Keaulanas” got its name and what resources were abundant here like pa'akai (salt) and limu. She also taught us how to make salt natrually in the reef. My highlight of the day was collecting the sea water because I kinda got wet when I went to grab the water and eating lunch and talking story with everyone at Alu Like.
To start off our first huaka'i for Field School this year, we went to Pālehua with Ranger Anu and Dr. Sinton to learn more about our home from a different perspective. What we did on this hike was first listen to Dr. Sinton talk about the different layers of lava and ash that helped form the Wai'anae mountains. Afterwards, we stood at Pālehua next to the Makaiwa Gulch and listened to Anu talk about how we could see the chain of islands from this pu’u. Some topics the host talked about were the geology of the Wai’anae mountains and the significance of this place to our ancestors and what they would use our mountains for. For example, they would use it as a vantage point to look out towards the ocean and other islands and also for navigation purposes. On our way to Manawahua, we collected data of our steps every 30 minutes and used that data the next day to create graphs in class. Also, we came across a couple of wild horses before we came to Pu’u Manawahua. While we were standing up at Manawahua, Anu had us pick a comfortable spot to sit and be absolutely silent for five minutes straight allowing us to take in the breathtaking views of our community and appreciate the place we call home. After looking off Pu’u Manawahua, we headed back to an area where Anu was trying to bring back the native plant, ‘a'ali’i. While we were at that area, Anu had us get into partners and clear out the California grass so the 'a'ail'i would have a better chance for survival. After our hana, we headed back to the vans and called it a day! The highlight of this day was the five minutes of silence because I enjoyed seeing my valley from above. To add another highlight would be seeing everyone’s reactions when the horses were coming towards them. It was a great day indeed!
To begin the first day of Field School on Friday June 12, we started off with the He Aloha No Nānākuli oli in the morning. After doing the oli, we all gathered for community circle and introduced ourselves and why we joined this program. After community circle, we split up into our two groups which are Papa Ulu and Papa Koa, the Papa Ulu group is the underclassmen like the 7th graders as well as some student mentors from last year. The Papa Koa group is made up of the upperclassmen like the 9th and 10th graders. After splitting into the two groups, we worked on our interactive notebooks, which organizes all of the work we complete in class. The first thing we worked on for their notebooks were their cover page, it consisted of five different colors and what malama ‘āina means to them. After they finished their notebooks, we worked on learning the oli because most of the students didn’t know this oli yet and it's an important part of our everyday routine for Field School. After the oli, we did an activity called the ‘Aha, which is a key chain ornament that represents how we are strengthened as a community when we work together. After a productive first day, we cleaned up and headed to community circle with both groups, Papa Ulu and Papa Koa to reflect on a highlight we had.
Aloha , My name is Tango Keohuhu - Goldson and I will be writing this year's Mālama 'Āina Field School blog, which I will be updating with new pictures and posts of the latest Field School activities. I will be an upcoming senior at Nānākuli High & Intermediate School. This year, I am participating in the Mālama 'Āina Field School for a second year because I love the field and cultural experiences that we have and get out of this program. This blog will be coming from my perspective as a student mentor.