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April 23, 2010

Our mission today was to help out with the Niaulani Forest Work Day.
The four-acre forest at Niaulani is located in a remnant of old-growth rain forest dominated by tall, large-diameter ‘ohi’a trees, some over 65 feet tall. Many species of native plants populate the forest understory at Niaulani, including the rare meu tree fern. Due to the collective diligence in weed removal over the last decade, visitors can now view native representations of the pepper, ginseng, lily, holly, and other plant families that have started to flourish in the understory.

Work days are perfect opportunities for people to help conserve one of the last remaining native rainforests in the Kilauea summit region outside of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. As Tunison explains, “The goal of forest restoration is to perpetuate a diverse, largely self-sustaining native rainforest community that provides opportunities for education, a model of stewardship for the community, and inspiration for artists.”
We were greeted by out guide and some other local volunteers. We were told that we were looking to rid or should i say help rid the forest of an invasive type of Ginger plant. Right away we knew we were perfect for the job when handed tools that are very familiar to us (hand picks and bags for weeds!)

Before we started on the extracting of ginger we were given an educational tour around the forest. The students were able to pick up a few new pieces of information and a chance to show off what they already know. After our tour we got right down to business. WOW did we get a whole lot of ginger! I am hoping this is the start of a new relationship with the Niaulani Forest so we can continue to help restore this beautiful forest.

We finished up by filling our bags as much as possible, saying our thanks and hopes to come back, then jumping into the car to head to Punalu’u Black Sands Beach for some lunch and relaxed fun.