Hawaii Pacific University Guest Blogger Student Series.
Located on Ohau’s north shore, is the beautiful Waimea Valley and Falls. Many tourists come to walk through the botanical gardens and see the waterfall but how would you like to see more than just a tourist’s perspective of Waimea Valley? Through travel2change, I was able to experience breathtaking views on the top of the valley that I would never have seen from just going by myself. Not only did I have a great time taking in the beautiful scenery but, I was able to make a difference at the same time and give back to the Hawaiian community.
According to scientists, strawberry guava is one of Hawaii’s most invasive species and is crowding out native Hawaiian plant species. Travel2change partnered us volunteers with Waimea Valley’s conservationist to help remove these invasive species in order to make room for the planting of one of Hawaii’s unique and very desirable native plant species, the koa tree.
The experience was overall very eye-opening! Looking at the valley I would never have guessed that it was being taken over by an invasive species but our group leader showed us how to identify and properly remove these invasive plants. Parker, the leader of our travel2change group, showed us the koa trees that had previously been planted and explained the importance of the different native Hawaiian plant species to the ecosystem.
So if you enjoy gorgeous island views, making a difference in the community, learning more about the earth around and getting your hands dirty then this is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss out on. I learned so much through this once in a lifetime opportunity! I feel like I really made a difference within the community but at the same time had an amazing time hiking and taking in the spectacular views Oahu has to offer.