Having no experience in reviving an estuary and not much knowledge about work, I decided to take part of one of travel2change’s activities during September, it was hard work but very fun, and I would do it again!
The day started off early in Waikiki. We were a group of four going to participate in this new experience starting at 9am, so we left Waikiki at 8:15am. Getting there, we parked at their main parking lot at the ‘He’eia State Park’ and walked down to the area we would meet the hosts Jamie and Lehua with her daughter Lika. Lehua started telling us about the area in general and how the He’eia largest restoration project is just something that they started working on early 2015. With the help of volunteers, they are hopeful that they can accomplish great things along the five acres of the He’eia stream estuary. As we were waiting for every participants to gather, a mix of high school students doing this for community service purposes and residents who are looking to give back to the community, Jamie started sharing with us the program of the day. She started off by talking about the project and sharing pictures of how it used to look like in the area years ago, and how with the help of volunteers, they have been able to clear much of the area from invasive plants in order to help improve the water quality and increase the habitat for native species. In general, volunteers work on planting new plants or pulling weed and clearing out the dry land into the fishpond area, which is what we were gonna do today. The hosts passed out a sign in sheet and an iPad for us to check in, and after that we were given gloves, gardening tools, shovels and buckets to bring to the area we were gonna work at.
We worked together for about two hours, helping pull and clear the fishpond area from invasive plants and we also collected some trash that we found. Many buckets were filled!
Look at us!
When the time was about, 11:15am, we started gathering all tools and we made our way back to the original meeting point. The hosts were very kind to have water and snacks prepared for all of us!
After our short break, Jamie took us to the fishpond. We crossed the water and walked up on the fishpond wall to experience the walk and learn about the 600 years old fishpond. It was amazing to see the size of the fishpond and to hear about how it has provided the hawaiians with fish for many years, which is something the host Jamie mentioned is still their mission today, to restore the fishpond area from invasive mangrove in order to keep the fishpond alive, just as the Hawaiians have done for all years up until today.
The fishpond wall!
After the walk on the fishpond wall, we all returned to the original meeting point and Jamie concluded the day with a big thanks for all of the volunteers participation and work for the He’eia Estuary Restoration Project.
Overall, it was a great experience and I had a lot of fun!