WAILUA — Armed with rubber gloves, trash bags of plastic, mesh, and even
recycled feed bags, about 250 students from three local schools descended on
Lydgate Park for the first Aloha United Way of Kaua’i “Youth Day of Caring”
event on Saturday morning.
Their task for the morning was to scour the
shorelines of beaches from Nukoli’i to Wailua and clean marine debris and
trash, which had amassed there.
Loretta Geis, the AUW coordinator for the
cleanup, was already on hand with her volunteer staff garbed in white T-shirts
especially designed for the event.
The adult staff included AUW office
members, teacher and parent advisors from the participating schools, volunteer
paramedics from American Medical Response, Kaua’i Police Department, Kaua’i
Fire Department, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the American Red Cross.
volunteer chaperones were strategically placed with five groups of students
from Kaua’i High, Kapa’a High and Island School, all of whom were readily
identified by the colored flags that flapped atop tall bamboo
Transported from Lydgate Park to their designated cleanup site by a
Polynesian Adventure Tours bus, “Da Purple Group” dispersed at Nukoli’i Beach
with a trio from Kapa’a High School, Herbi Faima, Meryssa Tunac, and Glen
Ramos, setting out with a task assigned to them. This was the recorder
Similar recorder teams were designated for each of the beach cleanup
Working in an area darkened from a combination of accumulated
debris, burnt out campfires, and discarded containers, Faima explained their
assignment was to collect and record one of each item found in their locality
which ranged from the end of the reef until the start of the rocky shoreline
east of the Outrigger Kaua’i Beach Hotel.
As the purple group fanned out
across the beach, early risers from a camping family peeked curiously at the
uniformed group of 40 students.
“I had to wake up earlier than if I went
to school,” Rosanna Ichimura, a student at Kaua’i High School didn’t seem to
mind as the sun warmed her and Sara Ahn, the students’ fingers deftly screening
the sand for bits of plastic and other debris. Both students were on hand
representing the school’s National Honor Society.
Meanwhile, Nile Grimpas
and Nikolo Okami, Kapa’a High School students, stopped their task long enough
to help Kassi Hassan and Fawna Kiefer wrestle a large piece of rope into a
trash bag made unwieldy by the brisk breeze blowing from offshore. Squeals of
laughter punctuated the chore.
“This is an opportunity for students to
become more involved with the AUW,” Geis pointed out.
“It also allows the
youth to give something back to the community,” she said, obviously pleased
with the large turnout for the first event of this type.
started from about eight this morning, and will end at noon with a lunch,” Geis
said. “They will gather back here at Lydgate with their recorded data, and Don
Heacock of the DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) will analyze
“This seminar will give students an education on the
impact and danger of marine debris and trash to the shoreline,” she said.
Geis pointed out that this effort was the first one coordinated by the
AUW, and because the event was not in the AUW budget, it was through the
contributions of the labor unions that students and volunteers were able to get
the T-shirts, lanyards, and lunch.
Danny Sagadraca, a paramedic with AMR,
checked in with Geis, indicating that everything was okay at the Lydgate area
and he would be moving down to check on groups scouring the area in back of the
Wailua Golf Course, and the Nukoli’i area.
Ross Shimbukuro, one of the
Kaua’i High School advisors stopped his cleanup long enough to enjoy the antics
of a group tossing a football while they re-energized from the cleanup effort.
In the parking lot, Kapa’a High School Jr. ROTC advisor Major Jerald Knudsen
smiled in appreciation of the efforts extended by his troops.
already looking towards making this an annual affair.