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February 16, 2010

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2nd Annual Keiki Fishing Tournament

The malama group woke up bright and early today to head down to Punalu’u to lend our hand in helping to organize and set-up for the 2nd Annual Keiki Fishing Tournament. This is a community event that was taking place near Pacific Quest and offered a perfect opportunity for us to support both the people in the community who volunteer their time to help make this event a reality and the young people who will be fishing. Our early morning contribution was comprised of tasks such as setting up tables and pop-up tents and wiping down tables and chairs that would be used for the day. This event is sponsored by O Ka’u Kakoa (loosely: we are ka’u), a local volunteer organization that helps to provide for the needs of the community through service projects and community events such as this. By volunteering this morning the malama group was able to meet people from the community who are taking part in giving back and to give back to this place in which they are currently living themselves. Before going this morning we also discussed the idea that service is not only giving back, but also receiving, and that no matter how small the individual action each student in the malama group contributed to a child’s fishing tournament experience. Remember how good it felt when people made amazing things happen for you to take part in when you were a small child?2nd Annual Keiki Fishing Tournament - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

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February 14, 2010

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The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for TeensThe Kaiholena preserve of the Nature Conservancy is located mauka of our camps here on the Big Island. Today we had the opportunity to head up to this preserve where we helped the people who care for the native forest there move lumber to clear some work that will be happening to create a sleeping quarter for The Nature Conservancy - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teensvolunteers. We then helped to clear some fence line so that cattle can start grazing lower sections of the land again. During each of our breaks we were able to admire the astounding views that no many people have the privilege of seeing, as you need to be volunteering to enter this area. The Nature Conservancy - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for TeensAfter our volunteer project morning we headed at lunch in the shelter while listening to our guides tell us about the history of the land, both ancient and modern and the native plants we were soon to see on the forest trail. After lunch we entered the forest to see intact native species, some of which are found few other places. Thank you to the Nature Conservancy and to the malama group for making this day possible.

The Nature Conservancy - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for TeensThe Nature Conservancy - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens

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February 10, 2010

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A Day with Ka ‘Ohana O Honu’apo

A Day with Ka 'Ohana O Honu'apo - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young AdultsKa ‘Ohana O Honu’apo motto is three fold: malama ‘aina (care for the land), kupono (honesty) and kuleana (responsibility). The organization was formed to help steward the land at the old village site of Honu’apo (literally caught turtle) after the community banded together to raise monies to purchase the land to ensure it was not developed after this almost occurred in 2003. Honu’apo is now owned and co-managed by a number of organizations, with Ka Ohana O Honu’apo often representing the voice of cultural preservation. Today, members of this organization helped the combined malama / ohana outing group to navigate the cultural, historical and environmental significance of this special place.

We began our day by learning how to introduce ourselves in Hawaiian and learning some Hawaiian words that are significant to the area. This was followed by a tour around the park which showed us evidence of both the human and environmental impacts that have helped to shape the local landscape. Some examples include the need for human and commercial transportation that built the pier and the earthquakes and tsunamis that helped to destroy it, and which washed away the black sand beact that once lined the coast. Another is the coconut grove and the remains of the old stone wall that sits in the shadows of the trees, and which once closed this estuary off as a fish pond. We also learned about the many different uses for the niu (coconut) tree and the lauhala plant.
A Day with Ka 'Ohana O Honu'apo - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults
After learning a mele (song) by Keola Beamer (pupu hinuhinu – shiny shell) and having a snack, we headed to the muliwai (estuary) which was once a loko i’a (fishpond). Only half of the wall that once made this estuary a fishpond still exists and Ka ‘ Ohana O Honu’apo and NOAA are working to restore the area as muliwai. There we learned about ways of testing water for salinity, visibility and ph. We were then able to get in the water to run transect lines and record the fish we encountered.

As this is the season when the humpback whale as in Hawaii to mate and calve, so of us were lucky enough to see whale surfacing throughout the day. Over lunch we talked about the amazing journey the whales make to Hawaii and back without eating, as their main food source, krill, does not live here. We also learned about the great pacific garbage patch, the effects of this human made phenomenon on wildlife, and the importance of picking up trash. We concluded our day with a beach clean up and filled 2 trash bags with debris, both that which had washed in from the ocean and some that we saved from making it there in the first place. This gave us the opportunity to spread out along the shore, see more whales and do our part to keep this rich place so beautiful.

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February 2, 2010

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Outing to Miloli’i Village and Honomolino Beach

Outing to Miloli'i Village and Honomolino Beach - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young AdultsMiloli’i means fine twist. The fine twist refers to the intricate, strong cordage that Miloli’i was known for throughout the islands. Miloli’i Village is known today as the “last fishing village” on the island. Inhabited mostly by families who have lived there for generations and whom still sustain themselves through fishing. To really get a sense of what this fine twist means, when we arrived at the the beach after hiking over the 1950 lava flow, past the fishing heiau and through the forest over grown with dragon fruit vine and overrun with feral goats, we tried our hand at the cordage that may have been of the most use in Miloli’i: coconut fiber fishing line. We found that the coconut we chose may have been a little bit too old, the fibers stiff and brittle, but despite this some of us were able to fashion thread up to a foot in length. After our cordage exploration, we took to the sea.
Outing to Miloli'i Village and Honomolino Beach - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults
Everyone swam in the warm waters today and some who donned their goggles were able to see angel fish and what may have been the state trigger fish, the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. For me, as an educator, one of the best things about even the possibility of seeing this fish is the great language lesson it provides. Many practiced this name for much of the rest of our day. Our swim was followed by lunch and a conversation about the two foods that would best sustain us if stranded on an island, which led to two foods we would bring if we weren’t thinking about what would actually keep us going, and a brief discussion about the noticeable difference. After reading about the local lava encounter in the 50s that shaped the geology of the area we were exploring, I pulled out a map of the 8 major islands in the Hawaiian archipelago and asked the group to create a sculpture, using what was around them to work together to recreate the map. Staff were able to help only when given directions. the group made a beautiful map of the island chain, outlines in the wet sand were filled in with small pebbles and larger rocks to represent larger volcanoes, some coconut fiber showed the recent lava flow. This provided a great way to talk about some of the distinguishing characteristics of each island, and the moats we had to build to protect our work of art some great spontaneous team building. We finished off our day with a final plung into the clear, warm water, the hike back to the vehicles and tales of Ohia and Lehua on the ride back to Pacific Quest.Outing to Miloli'i Village and Honomolino Beach - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

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December 11, 2009

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Manuka State Park

Today we journeyed to Manuka State Park. The park is located inside the 25,550 acre Manuka Forest Reserve on the slopes of Mauna Loa to the south west side of the island. The state park itself is access through the rolling lawns of an arboretum of native plats and trees. We began here, with a game and an introduction to the area. Along the hike the group worked to identify and learn about different indigenous, endemic and introduced species, using the trail side signs and guide books. Today the group learned about the hapu’u, the kukui, the pikakiawe, awapuhi, kaumani, hame, hou, and ohialehua, to name a few. We learned the legends of Ohia and Lehua and of Manini’owali, and were able to see ancient agricultural mounds and village sites.

When we returned to the arboretum area, we enjoyed lunch as a group and then played a game. The game allowed the group to work together as a team to solve the problem of transporting themselves to the other side of an imaginary burning field of lava. It challenged us to work together, to communicate clearly, to be patient and to appreciate and integrate many different ideas, as the group identified after we all successfully made it to the far side. The weather was beautiful at the park, we avoided all the island rain that could have limited our access to many places today!

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