Turtle Rescue

One of the greatest things about ReefTeaching is getting acquainted with the Hawaiian green sea turtles that frequent Kahalu‘u Bay. Each day, ReefTeach volunteers educate visitors about the honu (sea turtles) we encounter as they are happily eating or basking. ReefTeachers have become so familiar with some of these turtles that we even refer to a few of them by name—‘Rocky’ and ‘Lucky’ are two well-loved visitors to the bay. —Caroline Neary, Assistant Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator, The Kohala Center

On Friday, February 4, The Kohala Center’s ReefTeach volunteers were approached by a beachgoer with concerns about a turtle feeding in the tide pools at the south end of Kahalu‘u Bay, near the Kalani Kai Bar at the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort. After taking a closer look, the ReefTeachers saw that this turtle was entangled in fishing line. The line was wrapped around its right front flipper and led into its mouth.

Photo: The injured turtle on February 3, entangled in fishing line. Photo by Jerry Humerickhouse, visitor to Kahalu‘u Bay.

Our quick-thinking ReefTeachers phoned The Big Island’s Marine Conservation Coordinator, Justin Viezbicke, who showed up a few hours later to investigate. Unfortunately, the injured honu disappeared into the rising tide before it could be inspected. After no repeat sightings over the weekend, our Monday ReefTeach crew spotted the injured turtle and again contacted Justin. Justin examined the turtle carefully and determined that he would have to be shipped to O‘ahu for treatment.

The turtle made the journey to Dr. George Balazs, Leader of NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Marine Turtle Research Program, that very same night.

Read the story of Lefty’s surgery, recovery, and successful return to Kahalu‘u Bay on the Back Page.

Lasting Contributions to the Land

Photo: Crew members celebrating the culmination of Phase One of the Pelekane Bay Watershed Restoration Project. Photo courtesy of Karin Stanton.

The Kohala Watershed Partnership (KWP) initiated the Pelekane Bay Watershed Restoration Project in August 2009. The project employed 16 people, including a 12-member field crew, a field/GIS technician, field operations leader, outreach assistant, and project coordinator. Most field crew were trained on the job and gained skills in conservation fencing, native plant propagation, and erosion control techniques. Additionally, KWP field personnel came to understand the positive feedback between their restoration work in the uplands and the health of the coastal ecosystems below.

The Pelekane Bay Watershed Restoration Project crew accomplished all of the project objectives by the end of the project period in February 2011. The list of their accomplishments is impressive:

Photo: Scarlett Kettwich uses an auger to dig planting holes in the hard, compacted soil of Pelekane Watershed. Photo courtesy of Kohala Watershed Partnership.

Scarlett Kettwich, a Pelekane Bay Watershed Restoration Field Crew member from October 2010 to February 2011, volunteered to write about what this work meant to her, personally, to her fellow field crew members, and to the larger community. The following is an excerpt from Scarlett’s story. Read the full story, "A Forest Is Born,” on the Back Page.

Watersheds are powerfully significant because they integrate human influences on vegetation, rainfall, soils, and runoff with repercussions for stream and nearshore marine environments, such as coral reefs. In addition, the watershed and the necessity to save the land had another powerful characteristic: it drew us simultaneously together as members of the community and influenced us to work with each other and make lasting contributions that will improve the quality of life for all living creatures in the community. —Scarlett Kettwich

Many Hands

Photo: People’s mandala—12 hands form a circle over the sand.

A cooperative is a unique form of business which is user-owned, user-controlled, and user-benefited. Members own the cooperative through their financial investment in the business. A cooperative is democratically controlled by its members through a one-member, one-vote policy. And benefits from the cooperative are returned to the members based on their use of the cooperative during the year. —Melanie Bondera, Rural Cooperative Development Specialist, Laulima Center

The Laulima Center is open for business and is prepared to support cooperative business ventures throughout the State of Hawai‘i. The Laulima Center is housed at The Kohala Center and grows out of The Kohala Center’s focused interests in food self-reliance, energy self-reliance, and ecosystem health.

Hawai‘i has a long history of cooperatives, and in today’s challenging economic climate, cooperatives can provide an attractive alternative to traditional business partnerships and corporations. Cooperatives can take many forms—from groups of farmers who process and market together, to food co-ops, credit unions, schools, medical groups, and artists’ collaboratives.

Groups throughout the State of Hawai‘i that would like to form a cooperative but need some assistance getting organized, writing a business plan, or becoming legally incorporated are invited to visit the Laulima Center's Web site at to learn more about the services the center can provide. To arrange a presentation or to request the center’s services, interested groups may contact Melanie Bondera at or 808-640-7076.

Finding Their Voices at BELL

Photo: Ernest Tavares helps to manage his school’s green house and often takes home produce to share with his family.

The Kohala Center congratulates Ernest Tavares, a junior at Kanu o ka ‘Āina New Century Public Charter School, this year’s Brown Environmental Leadership Lab (BELL) Hawai‘i scholarship recipient. “My school has taught me the importance of taking care of our land, and I think this workshop will make me a more valuable resource to both my peers and community,” said Ernest.

From April 15–22, Ernest joined 29 other students from across the country at the BELL Hawai‘i Program. Program staff includes two Kohala Center marine scientists, faculty from the Brown University Leadership Institute, and various experts in Hawaiian culture, flora, fauna, and geology. Highlights of the weeklong program included an opening protocol at sunrise overlooking Halema‘uma‘u Crater, kayaking and marine science in Puakō, talking story with respected kūpuna (Hawaiian elders), and service work in the critically endangered Hawaiian dry forest at Ka‘ūpūlehu.

Photo: Students reflecting on their experiences in the 2010 BELL Hawai‘i Program during the last morning at Halau Kukui, the marine camp that they share with the Makali‘i.

Students were encouraged to think critically about the environments they visited, and they were introduced to organizations and individuals who are leading the way to help protect Hawai‘i Island’s ecosystems. Students also engaged in self-development, team building, and leadership activities throughout the week. They learned about various leadership styles using a “leadership compass” to determine their own unique strengths and how to work more effectively together. They were asked to take responsibility for several group activities, from organizing and managing the campsite to assisting presenters with activities. The camp was essentially student-run with help from staff, giving students many opportunities to lead their peers.

Photo: Sarah Willey, BELL Rhode Island scholarship recipient.

Students were asked how they might manage a particular marine area, taking into account various stakeholders’ interests, for example: fishermen wanting to catch fish versus hotels wanting to provide ocean access for their guests versus conservationists wanting to close the area to the public. The student managers had to weigh everyone’s interests to come up with the best possible solution for the reef, the aquatic life, and the people. As a result, they learned to think critically about issues from different viewpoints, and they realized how hard it is to be an environmental manager and make everyone happy. BELL staff provided an organized space for students to discuss and debate relevant and current environmental issues, and exercises like this one helped the students to find their own voice. —Samantha Birch, Kohala Center Field Educator

Photo: Sierra Schmitz, BELL Rhode Island scholarship recipient.

This summer two Hawai‘i Island students will travel to Brown University for the BELL-Rhode Island program. The Kohala Center congratulates Sierra Schmitz, a freshman at Kanu o ka ‘Āina, and Sarah Willey, a sophomore at Parker School—this year’s BELL Rhode Island scholarship recipients. For the past several years, The Kohala Center and Brown University have partnered to provide scholarships for Hawai‘i Island students to attend this outstanding environmental leadership program.

“There are many things I hope to learn at BELL,” says Sierra Schmitz. “I hope to learn about how to help my community and family to be more sustainable. Also, I hope to learn about environmental problems in other parts of the world and how we can help protect the environment from the wear and tear of everyday human life,” she says.

We wish both our summer scholars much success at BELL Rhode Island.

Opening Doors for Future Generations

Photo: Hiapo K. Perreira serving as Master of Ceremonies at the annual Neʻepapa I Ke Ō Mau fundraiser for the ʻAha Pūnana Leo.

The Mellon-Hawai‘i fellowship program was established in 2008 for Native Hawaiian scholars who are committed to the advancement of knowledge about the Hawaiian natural and cultural environment, Hawaiian history, politics, and society. Since its inception, eight scholars have completed the fellowship.

In this issue we feature the work of doctoral fellow Hiapokeikikāne (Hiapo) Kichie Perreira, ABD Ph.D. candidate in the Hawaiian and Indigenous Language and Culture Revitalization Program at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Perreira received a B.A. in Hawaiian Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo (1996), and was the first graduate student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo to receive an M.A. degree in Hawaiian language and literature (2002). “I decided to pursue my Ph.D. at UH Hilo to assist with opening the program for future generations,” Perreira said. His dissertation focuses on traditional Hawaiian oratory and on revitalization of classical Hawaiian speechmaking.

Since 1996, Perreira has been lecturing in the Hawaiian Studies Department at UH Hilo, and is currently an associate professor of Hawaiian language and literature at Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language (UH Hilo). He has also taught Hawaiian language arts to middle and high school students at Ke Kula ʻO Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Hawaiian Language Laboratory School since 1997. Perreira lives in Kaʻūmana, Hilo, with his wife Hanakahi and his two daughters, Keanokualani, age four, and Keakamaluhiwa, age four months.

For me, this fellowship is a tremendous acknowledgment and validation of the academic achievement of all of my students, of the social commitment of all involved families, and of the impassioned belief of every individual in the life and vibrancy of the Hawaiian language as a living contemporary language based and rooted in tradition. Without these parts, I, along with all of my research, would be nothing and have no meaning! I am most grateful to the Senior Advisory Board members who believed in me and my work, and thought it worthy enough for such support and recognition. —Hiapo K. Perreira

Read “The Power of Leading by Example” by Hiapo Kichie Perreira on the Back Page. For information about the fellowship program, see

Eye to Eye with Native Birds

Photo: I‘iwi (Vestiaria coccinea), a Hawaiian honeycreeper, with Akala (Rubus hawaiiensis). During the spring the native raspberry, or Akala, comes into bloom. I‘iwi are attracted to the nectar of the Akala flower, with its pink petals (akala means pink in Hawaiian) and they pollinate the blossoms. There's nothing like the red color of the I‘iwi against the new green leaves of the Akala, visually and photographically. Spring is a great time of year to see these birds as they are down low, eye to eye, with the viewer. Later in the spring the giant 1½ inch red raspberry/akala fruit are available for other birds to feed. Photo and caption by Jack Jeffrey.

It took over 150 years for cattle to destroy the once great koa forest at Hakalau mauka, but in only 25 years since the refuge was established, it's wonderful to see the changes.....the forest and the birds are coming back. —Jack Jeffrey

Celebrate the return of the natives at the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge learning event. Join award-winning photographer and wildlife biologist Jack Jeffrey on a search for native birds on Saturday, May 14, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Learn about the history of Hakalau Forest and current conservation efforts, see firsthand how reforestation efforts at the refuge are contributing to recovery of native bird and plant populations, visit the 100-year-old koa cabin of Pua Akala, and listen and learn as Jack shares a lifetime of stories and natural history with you. Participants should come prepared for a two-mile hike in a rain forest. Lunch is included.

For a listing of other learning events in the 2011 series: Birds, Whales, and Wellness Plants, visit

The cost is $50 per excursion for current Friends of The Kohala Center. To become a Friend, visit; e-mail; or call 808-887-6411.

Sharing and Preparing Food Together

Photo: Grahame, a happy Crop Share participant, samples the produce.

Our ancestors brought with them aboard the deck of a voyaging canoe everything that they would need not only to survive, but to sustain themselves seven generations beyond themselves. It is this simple understanding that leads to a very profound relationship to this island that we stand upon and each individual that sails along with us on this larger canoe. In order for our community to survive and sustain ourselves we need to remember, just as our ancestors never forgot, that we live on an island that is a canoe. —Chadd Paishon, Hawaiian voyager and paniolo

The Crop Share program invites community members to come together to share and prepare food—a concept which is deeply embedded in island culture. On Saturday, May 14, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., Mimi Shawe will host a free workshop on brining vegetables at Mala‘ai Culinary Garden of the Waimea Middle School. Participants should bring a 16 ounce canning jar and their favorite vegetables to slice. Advance registration is required.

The community is also invited to join in weekly Crop Shares at Mala‘ai garden, which take place from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. every Saturday through the end of May. Bring surplus produce from your farm or garden to exchange with other community members in attendance. If you don’t have produce to share, you can just lend a hand to participate. No one will be turned away. At the end of each share, excess food will be collected for delivery to local food pantries for free distribution.

Photo: Dr. Norman Arancon, an expert on vermicomposting, presents a free workshop at Mala‘ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School, as part of the Crop Share’s workshop series.

“I think Crop Shares (CS) are an important avenue to help get fresh fruits and vegetables into local food banks,” says Coordinator Nicole Milne. “I watched volunteers at Annunciation Church take out the canned veggies from the bags and literally substitute in the fresh veggies I brought last week,” she says. “It was wonderful. The churches don't have the capacity to store fresh food, so being able to harvest and deliver so close to their distribution time is critical. CS facilitates more healthy options at the food bank.”

In the past six months, Crop Share accepted over 2,330 pounds of produce and donated approximately 980 pounds of food to Waimea Middle School and Annunciation Church in Waimea, and Crop Share participants swapped over 1,350 pounds of food. More than 100 community residents have participated in the program since it started in October 2010.

To access the Mala‘ai garden, please use the new gravel road entry to Waimea Middle School by the Kahilu Theater. To pre-register for the May 7th brining workshop or to learn more about Crop Share, contact Milne at 808-987-9210 or If you need help harvesting surplus produce, please contact Milne to arrange a harvest date. Folks who would like to volunteer for picking days are also welcome—contact Milne for details.

Read the Big Island Weekly feature story on Crop Share at

A Few of Their Favorite Things
By Melora Purell, Waimea Nature Camp Director

Photo: Auntie Melora and the campers discover algae and waters beetles in this vernal pool on Mauna Loa.

Child one: My favorite part of camp today was climbing Mama Koa . . . and sliding down the cinder cone . . . and playing Eagle Eye . . . and hiking. . . and drinking dew from a mullein plant.
Child two: I think you mean your favorite PARTS.

The spring session of Waimea Nature Camp enrolled 15 campers along with our two teen helpers. We went to the Koai‘a Tree Sanctuary, Pu‘u Huluhulu Trail, and the Pu‘u O‘o Trail off Saddle Road. Highlights of the week included sipping dew off a fuzzy leaved mullein plant, sliding down the cinder hill, climbing “Mama Koa,” and creating a “mall” along our stream at the park with a spa, hotel, rope store, painted glass gallery, and clay craft area. This camp was supported by the Watershed Partnership Program of the State of Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Photo: Simon Dunlap plants a kului shrub in the Koai‘a Sanctuary, a 14-acre protected native plant enclosure on Kohala Mountain under the management of the State Division of Forestry and Wildlife. Campers learned not only techniques for outplanting native species, but also became more aware of the historic causes of deforestation on Kohala Mountain.

Waimea Nature Camp will offer five one-week sessions this summer, tentatively planned for June 13 through July 1, and from July 11–29. Flyers will be sent out in early May to all schools in Waimea, and the deadline for receipt of completed applications will be May 18. For more details, visit in early May, or contact Barrie Moss at or 808-443-2751.

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