Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sailor's Hat on Kaho`olawe

January 26th, 2015
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Sailor's Hat is a permanent scar on Kaho`olawe, created by a bomb blast during the years when the US military was bombing the island for target practice.

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Kamehameha Schools graduates Kalani Fronda, Mike Naho`opi`i, Mahealani Richardson, and me.

Kamehameha Schools graduates Kalani Fronda, Mike Naho`opi`i, Mahealani Richardson, and me.

Rock is melted from the blast.

Rock is melted from the blast.

 

Today it's actually the largest anchaline pond in the world, home to small red shrimp called opae ula.

Shrimp baby

Mike Naho`opi`i, executive director of the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission, tells more about the history of the crater in this video.

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What's next for Kaho`olawe?

January 23rd, 2015
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For the past 21 years, the state has been drawing from a $44 million trust fund from the federal government to clean up, manage, and restore Kaho`olawe to some semblance of the island it was before half a century of military bombing devastated the topography. While the staff admits the island will never be risk-free or completely clean, it's trying to heal the island - and the people of Hawaii in the process.

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Mike Naho`opi`i, executive director of the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission, explains that the island will be one day transferred to a sovereign native Hawaiian government, so what KIRC and its volunteers are doing currently is establishing the foundation for what they believe Hawaiians want, when that entity takes over one day.

It's set aside for native Hawaiian cultural practices, education, and public use. Naho`opi`i says it's a cause the entire state should care about because "when you come to Kaho`olawe, the culture is very clear: There are no distractions, it's you and the island and the people. This is one of the few places not surrounded by Western civilization."

Here's more in this video:

 

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Sustainability efforts on Kaho`olawe

January 16th, 2015
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Kaho`olawe staff are trying to turn this island into the state's first fossil-fuel free island - and in the process hoping to model environmentalism to visitors to the island. The state legislature appropriated $2.5 million for the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission, or KIRC, to use towards energy infrastructure, which KIRC is now working to get released.

The boat brings in all the fuel

The boat brings in all the fuel

Mike Naho`opi`i, KIRC executive director, provides examples: He says right now, boats bring in diesel fuel, which is KIRC's single biggest cost. The diesel is used for electricity, which is used for everything, including making fresh water from sea water. He estimates it costs $60,000 - $80,000 a year in fuel costs alone.

Naho`opi`i says KIRC is currently developing plans for more photo voltaic and wind power, including eventually replacing the current gas vehicles with electric trucks.

He speaks more about it in this video:

 

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Erosion control efforts on Kaho`olawe: revegetating with pili grass

January 12th, 2015
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When I went over to Kaho`olawe with the Pacific Century Fellows to perform volunteer work, one of the tasks we did was collect grass seeds, build erosion-control dams, and plant grass seeds on the upslope of the dam.

KIRC intern Eddie Wine sitting in a truck bed full of rocks we're collecting

KIRC intern Eddie Wine sitting in a truck bed full of rocks we're collecting

It was a much harder task than it sounds. Each day began shortly after dawn. After a hearty breakfast prepared for us, we jumped into several trucks and began a long, dusty trek towards the final destination. We stopped at a storage area to get supplies first (buckets, bags, shovels, etc.), then made our first stop at a gravel pit to shovel gravel into burlap bags.

Ryan Kawamoto shooting video of Jaime Bruch instructing volunteers how much gravel to add to the bags

Ryan Kawamoto shooting video of James Bruch instructing volunteers how much gravel to add to the bags

After that, we stopped at another area to add kiawe mulch chips to the bags and tie them up. Then, we foraged for large rocks near the roadside, and lastly, we collected pili grass seeds. By this point it was near noon and the sun was high, and it was another hot day on Kaho`olawe. The staff suggested we have lunch before we got to what they called the hardest part of the day.

Pili grass seeds

Pili grass seeds

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Ryan Kadota and I teamed up to collect grass seeds

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Working hard, or hardly working?

 

After a really wonderful lunch and a lot of hydration, we drove to yet another area to haul a quarter ton of rocks up a hill... at high noon. At this point, my cameraman and I had to conveniently bail out to shoot video for the story. *shrug* What could we do? We're working!

Ryan Kawamoto and me

Ryan Kawamoto and me

And 3, 2, 1...

And 3, 2, 1...

 

Ryan Kawamoto worked his behind off. His company, Kinetic Productions, shoots movies, documentaries, and commercials, but he shot my 8 part TV series as a favor to me. Love him!!!

Ryan Kawamoto worked his behind off. His company, Kinetic Productions, shoots movies, documentaries, and commercials, but he shot my 8 part TV series as a favor to me. Love him!!!

The staff showed us how to construct rock dams inside the deep gullies with some plastic mesh and zip ties, which we then fortified with the burlap bags now stuffed with gravel and mulch. Lastly, we scattered seeds on the upslope. The idea is that the dams will catch the dirt when it rains so that it doesn't wash off island. Eventually, the seeds will grow and assist in this effort.

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The area we worked in was only surface-cleared of bombs, so we couldn't dig. The staff had to get creative with ways to catch and develop a soil base. Many of the solutions the staff come up with are incredibly inventive; different contraptions have used dinner plates and old phone books.

We concluded by around 3 p.m., tired, thirsty, and dusty. We didn't finish the task either - it took us another half day to finish the dam building in two different locations.

Mike Nah`opi`i

Mike Nah`opi`i

Still, it's rewarding work. Mike Naho`opi`i, executive director of the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission, details further in this video what we did:

 

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The overnight experience at Kaho`olawe

January 5th, 2015
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If you go to Kaho`olawe as a volunteer with the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission, plan on a four day trip that involves you meeting on Maui and sailing over on a boat. Here's my photo journal:

Pacific Century Fellows volunteers

Pacific Century Fellows volunteers

The week's supplies

The week's supplies

With Ryan Kadota

With Ryan Kadota

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With Mahe Richardson

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Entering the bay at Kaho`olawe. If seas are too rough, you have to swim in with your waterproofed bags.

Entering the bay at Kaho`olawe. If seas are too rough to anchor, you have to swim in with your waterproofed bags.

Therefore, I lived off this for four days!

Therefore, I lived off this for four days!

KIRC Base camp

KIRC Base camp

Tyler Dos Santos-Tam at the ladies' cabin

Tyler Dos Santos-Tam at the ladies' cabin

The women's cabin

The women's cabin

One faltering wireless signal at this corner was often full of internet-starved people

One faltering wireless signal at this corner was often full of internet-starved people

 

We drove around in 1950s military trucks

We drove around in 1950s military trucks

With MJ Mazurek

With MJ Mazurek

With Mike Naho`opi`i

With Mike Naho`opi`i

Pacific Century Fellows volunteer group

Pacific Century Fellows volunteer group

With David Walfish, starting the day at dawn again

With David Walfish, starting the day at dawn again

 

LZ Squid is a storage area, but we like to imagine it as a bar called the Lazy Squid. It makes visiting it much more fun.

LZ Squid is a storage area, but we like to imagine it as a saloon called the Lazy Squid. It makes visiting it much more fun.

We were allowed to swim at the Base Camp beach in the late afternoon. Refreshing!

We were allowed to swim at the Base Camp beach in the late afternoon. Refreshing!

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Bye, Kaho`olawe! 'Til we meet again!

Bye, Kaho`olawe! 'Til we meet again!

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