Saturday September 1, 2012 marked the kickoff of Tree Huggers year two. With a fresh and large group we headed to the Wai'anae kai forest reserve with the Wai'anae Mountains Watershed Partnership folks, Uncles Paul and Caleb and Auntie Mikayla.
The goals of the trip were to do weed control, particularly of strawberry guava in a cultural restoration site, and to collect seeds of native plants that would be grown at our school's shade house and then be out-planted back into the forest. The plants we would grow could be harvested by hula halau and la'au lapa'au practitioners.
As we hiked into the forest area, the cloud cover and light drizzle helped to keep us all cool.
The tree huggers worked incredibly hard at the strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum) removal that we did not have much time to hike further and do seed collection.
Instead, we stayed near the restoration site and picked Papala kepau (Pisonia sp.). The fruits of this plant are sticky and were used for harvesting feathers from birds for capes and other feather-decorated objects. Pisonia is a genus with two endemic and three indigenous species in Hawai'i, having an Autral, Indo-Pacific origin. The seeds most likely originally arrived in the islands stuck to the feathers of birds.
Next time we will have to focus on getting further up to the trail to collect more seeds to propagate. However, the trip was very successful and the students doubled the pile of strawberry guava that had been cut by a previous group.
Thanks to all the new and returning tree huggers as well as all the parents who came out to support us! It was awesome to see parents and students working together to accomplish the task! Working with the Mililani High School group (Hui Malama o Mililani) was also great! Thanks to all that came out. Your energy and excitement were inspiring.
See you next trip tree huggers!