The group managed to collect more than 150 bags of weeds, trash and invasive species!
Posted on November 17, 2017 by Scot Allen
Twenty students under the leadership of teachers Jill Johnson and Daisy Pei, as well as High School Assistant Principal for Student Life Jen Grems, spent their Saturday morning, Nov. 11, clearing overgrown brush and invasive species from Kamanele Park. They worked alongside neighborhood volunteers and members of the Outdoor Circle and Malama Manoa organizations.
The students were from Johnson's Visual Art History class, Pei's "Do What You Love Club," as well as several other campus groups. The Mid-Pacific crew was joined by community members and park users. Mid-Pacific students also worked with college students (mostly from UHM, CUHm and KCC) in the Mālama I Nā Ahupuaʻa program, which is administered out of the ACCESS-Engagement office at UHM.
Despite the heat, rain, and mosquitoes, the group had fun, says Johnson. After several hours of consistent work, the group managed to collect more than 150 bags of weeds, trash and invasive species (identified by a community expert) growing on the park site near the entrance to Mid-Pacific.
The larger purpose of the cleanup, according to Johnson, is to support local organizations in preparing this historical site to be surveyed and mapped by archaeologists. There are conflicting documents regarding the original cultural purposes and usage over the years. Notably, it could contain evidence of being a pre-contact location for Ancient Hawaiians.
The student stewardship of the park is important, Johnson says, beyond mere appearance. The park site may also relate to a current site on the Mid-Pacific campus that was the subject of a recent archaeological dig. Johnson's class and another professional archaeologist, Mr. Mike Dega, are looking for evidence of tools, or perhaps structures, residential or religious in nature and possible artifacts of pre-history. "This is a really big deal to think that Mid-Pacific has the potential of housing a pre-contact site on our campus," Johnson says. "What a great combination --with Wailele Spring-- to carry out an investigation into the people who knew this space long before we did."
The next volunteer cleanup is Saturday, Nov. 18, at 8 a.m. and will be led by Malama Manoa leader Linda LeGrande and other community partners.