Aloha and welcome to the NALU Studies Blog and updates for the Fall 2022 cohort!

Students working with Mason Chock on a matrix team building exercise.

Here we are, Day 1 on Kahoʻolawe! What an incredible day we got to plant 1300 ʻakiʻaki grass to help stabilize the shoreline. Then we sampled water quality in an explosion crater that formed an anchialine pond, then we got to swim in an amazingly clear ocean and capped the day off learning about land management practices that connect to the hydrologic cycle to improve ecosystem functionality and support diverse communities.

Day 2 on Kahoʻolawe started off with understanding place by going through the practice of Kilo, observation using all senses and opening oneself to the hidden parts of our world. We made our way west to Keanakeiki, where we learned about two other invasive organisms, cats and kiawe. We had the chance to help get rid of one of them, the kiawe, to make room for indigenous plants, like maʻo and ʻilima. Then back to Honokanaiʻa to conduct some benthic surveys and learn about corals.

Wow, our final full day on Kahoʻolawe, what a time! We have bonded, we have pushed ourselves, we have learned so much about each other and ʻāina. Today we learned how every street is a stream, an intermittent stream that only appears when it is raining. That stream carries sediments, pollutants, and other debris to our beaches, both back home on Maui and on Kahoʻolawe. On Kahoʻolawe, the dirt roads erode and can carry sediments. Today we helped to divert the water to natural stream beds by filling in gullies on the road with bags of rocks. This also made the roads much more passible by polaris and trucks. We went to the summit of Moaulanui and delivered the oli we learned last night to the Koa ʻua (Rain shrine) and gave hoʻokupu to ask for rain. We also went to the summit of Moaulaiki, an ancient navigational site and learned about rising star pairs and traditional Polynesian navigation. We capped off the evening by star gazing and learning some of the stars, constellations, and planets. Importantly, we shared what we experienced while we were here and how we are going to carry that forward in our lives.