Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wiliwilinui Trail

On Saturday February 25, 2012 the Tree Huggers hiked Wiliwilinui Trail, the ridge above Kalani High School.
All Clean

At the top...all muddy

This was arguably the dirtiest The Huggers have gotten at an event and it was an opportunity to live up to the Tree Hugging name. Many participants hugged trees and ferns and/or the ground on this "official" hike---"official" meaning most everyone slipped in the mud at one point or another. Nina took the prize for the filthiest hiker of the day. The 'Ohi'a lehua trees were doing their best to gather or 'ohi the moisture in the air as we hiked through the mist and clouds.
Chester walking through the cloud

Sky using the rope to pull herself up the steep slope

There were many beautiful examples of native plants along the trail, too.

Some of the girls even took advantage of the opportunity of a free mud facial.

The day started out a little misty and rainy but by the time we all arrived at the top of the Ko'olau Mountains the clouds broke so we could get a little peek at Waimanalo as well as a view of the Honolulu side, especially on our way back down.

I'm very proud of all the participants who made it to the top. The trail and ropes were slippery and muddy but everyone stepped up to the challenge and had an awesome time. Good job, I hope the mud washed out of your clothes, and see you next month!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Leeward Community College Visit

Thursday, February 9, 2012 a few Tree Huggers took a trip to Leeward Community College to help folks from the Wai'anae Mountains Watershed Partnership collect Pili grass (Heteropogon contortus) seeds.

Pili grass is an indigenous clumping grass that grows well in dry and moist conditions. It is now commonly used for erosion control but has been historically used for thatch. In Hawaiian, pili means to cling or stick. The seeds of pili grass twist, cling, and stick to each other in clumps. When the clumps get heavy they fall towards the ground. Using the spearhead or harpoon-like tips on the seeds, pili grass digs itself into the ground to start new growth. The seeds look a little like they are dancing as they dig themselves into the ground.

Since pili seeds have a six month dormancy, the seeds we collected today will be stored until they are ready to be planted in six months. The pili will be grown and used around the future site of the Mililani Middle School greenhouse as well as in the Wai'anae mountain range.

The Tree Huggers also got to see the greenhouse at Leeward Community College where many other native plants are growing, like this Alula (Brighamia sp.), an endagered and endemic species from Kaua'i and Ni'ihau.

The native pollinator of the Alula plants has gone extinct and people must hand pollinate plants in order to propagate the plants by seed.