Cleaning Up Koke‘e After Fires

Jonathan Kalk and Brad Soria collect strawberry guava sticks at Koke‘e. Amanda C. Gregg photo

In honor of National Public Lands Day (Sept. 29), I’d like to mention how listening to Hui O Laka executive director Marsha Erikson while up in Koke‘e State Park last week was one of those chickenskin moments, when the passion of whomever is speaking changes the ambient air with a palpable energy. As readers know, Koke‘e suffered major fires in recent months and lost thousands of acres of vegetation. But, among ash and seeds, Erikson explains that “fire reveals everything.” Indeed it does. Unfortunately for Koke‘e, what has been revealed includes decades’worth of junked cars and other mind-boggling trash left at the foot of the Kekaha entrance. Hui O Laka, part of the Kokua Koke’e program led by Erikson and Brad Soria, hopes residents will continue to volunteer at Koke‘e, doing everything from cleanups, helping eradicate invasive species and freeing native species to understanding watersheds and linking “kai to uka.” Kudos to Sherri Patrick of Leadership Kaua‘i and Soria, who led a group to kokua Koke‘e, gathering invasive strawberry guava and helping turn it into walking sticks to benefit the program. There’s still plenty to be done, and this Saturday (Sept. 29) is yet another opportunity to volunteer. For more information, (and to sign up for lunch) call 335-9975 or go to kokee.org. As it says on Soria’s truck: “May the forest be with you …”

What a beautiful picture Jon Letman from National Tropical Botanical Garden sent me last week of an albatross soaring and Lord Howe Island, 370 miles east of Queensland, Australia. Acclaimed Australian naturalist Ian Hutton, who will give a lecture next month, shot the image. NTBG will partner with KCC to present the lecture on island plants, birds and marine life Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 5:30 p.m. in the Kaua‘i Community College cafeteria. Hutton has spent more than 30 years studying the ecology of Lord Howe Island and will share the richness of its flora and fauna during his visit to Kaua‘i. Similarities between Lord Howe Island and the Hawaiian Islands will become evident during Hutton’s talk. Forty percent of its roughly 300 species are unique to the island. Eighteen species of land birds breed in the forests, and 14 species of seabirds breed on the shores and interior of Lord Howe Island. The free lecture is one of many collaborations between NTBG (ntbg.org) and KCC (kauai.hawaii.edu) …

The muralists (from left): Kiley and Katie Parkinson, Ka Noe Lani Nadeau, Leilani Mass, Makaya Kaduce, Eden Green, Bella Snow, Larissa Macknight and Robin Yost. Photo courtesy Katie Black

Speaking of beautiful images, mahalo to art teacher Katie Parkinson of KEA Homeschool, who proudly alerted me to the ocean-inspired mural the art class has been working on, which now hangs at Children of Land in Kapa‘a. So I’d like to say “well done” to teachers and students Kiley Parkinson, Katie Parkinson, Ka Noe Lani Nadeau, Leilani Mass, Makaya Kaduce, Eden Green, Bella Snow, Larissa Macknight and Robin Yost

Congratulations to the County Housing Agency, Kimura International Inc., and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which won the 2012 Outstanding Planning Award for their collaboration on the Lima Ola Workforce Housing Development Master Plan. Kaua’i District health officer Dr. Dileep Bal, Kaua’i County Housing planner Barbara Pendragon, Glenn Kimura, housing director Kamuela Cobb-Adams and Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. were on O‘ahu last week to accept the award by the American Planning Association (APA). Carvalho says part of the pride he has for the project is it “clearly illustrates how the collaborative efforts between government entities and the private sector can lead to success.” Among the reasons the APA jury chose the project was its incorporation of Smart Growth principles, promotion of environmental sustainability and encouragement of healthy living initiatives. The housing agency has the option to build some of the units by itself or in partnership with affordable housing developers with funding from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, Low Income Housing Tax Credits or other available funds. Private developers also can choose to build various phases of the community to satisfy their affordable housing commitments. To access the entire Lima Ola’s Workforce Housing Development Master Plan, go to kauai.gov/housing

NTBG nursery manager Ashly Trask will lead a workshop titled “From Seed to Salad” Sept. 26 from 5 to 6 p.m. at NTBG headquarters in Kalaheo. The workshop will focus on small-scale sustainable gardening, and Trask will teach participants how to get the most out of a vegetable garden, and how to start and save seeds. Class fee includes a small bag of organic fertilizer, and the class is limited to 25 participants ($5 fee payable at the door). To sign up or for more information, call 651-5907 or email propagate@ntbg.org…

(from left) Dr. Sileep Bal, Barbara Pendragon, Glenn Kimura, Kamuela Cobb-Adams and Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. Photo courtesy Katie Black

Auditions for the dinner theatre production of Miss Saigon will be held Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 29 and 30) from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Jam Room at Kukui Grove Center. Casting calls are for a variety of Asianand American-looking actors and actresses with singing talent. (First audition based on singing alone). For more information, go to Facebook page “Miss Saigon on Kauai,” call Jason Blake at 652-5210 or email talent@luckydogkauai.com …

Just a reminder, Kaua‘i Rotary Clubs Humanitarian Awards nominations are still being sought for the categories of health care worker, social worker, water-safety officer, firefighter, police officer and homeless care worker through Oct. 5. Nominators are asked to include a completed form and an essay of 250 words or less explaining why the nominee should be selected. Successful nominees are individuals who deal with problems/conflicts professionally, contribute to colleagues’ growth and development, and who “show aloha.” The six clubs on Kaua‘i — Hanalei Bay, Kapa‘a, Kalepa Sunrise, Kaua‘i, Po‘ipu Beach and West Kaua‘i — will honor selected nominees Oct. 18 with a dinner at the Courtyard by Marriott Kaua‘i at Coconut Beach, which the mayor and Hawaii Rotary district governor will attend …

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