Pitching in for a pristine park

WAILUA — Guy Holt surveyed the area he had just weed-whacked Thursday and saw a fallen coconut frond in the trimmed grass.

He walked over and lugged it to a growing pile of dried hala leaves.

“I’ve been doing this off-and-on for about seven years,” Holt said. “I was driving by one day and noticed no one was keeping up with the place. I spoke with John Lydgate and Annleigh Atkinson and have been doing it ever since.”

Jeri Lynne Stewart, public information officer for the Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park, said volunteers on Kauai have proven to be among the most dedicated in the state, with recent reports indicating other islands’ park playgrounds and structures being condemned for lack of attention.

“Someone has to do it,” said Jeff Grace, a Kekaha resident who caught the first bus to get to Lydgate Park by 7 a.m. to help Holt. “It’s hard work, but when it’s done it’s a good feeling.”

Stewart said everyone is invited and encouraged to participate with the Friends and other volunteers at Make A Difference on Oct. 25.

“The Friends, as they have done for the past nine years, has set aside a special day to not only help keep Lydgate Park beautiful and free of waste, but to also gather Kauai’s cream-of-the-crop volunteers to get this job done,” Stewart said.

Registration for the Oct. 25 event starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Lydgate Park main pavilion.

Additionally, those wishing to participate can register in advance at www.kamalani.org.

Volunteers are asked to bring their own water bottle (cold water will be served) to help minimize plastic waste. The Friends will serve lunch to volunteers around noon.

“The Kamalani Playground and Kamalani Kai Bridge are park enhancements which deserve conscientious maintenance and care so that future generations will enjoy these unique attractions,” said Tommy Noyes, Friends’ general coordinator. “Coordinating community work days to sustain that long-term maintenance effort is an ongoing challenge for The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park.”

The cleaning and removal of plant debris in the heiau system, headed by Atkinson, is one of the areas being addressed. Other work areas include the application of non-toxic linseed oil sealer to the playground wood structure, led by Larry Lindsey.

John Lydgate will lead the cleaning of the beach area fronting Morgan’s Ponds swimming area, and Helene Sheehan will lead the litter cleanup throughout the park.

Valerie Woods will be leading a team surveying the park trees for type and age to gain an accurate inventory.

“We are developing plans to make the park even more functional for the community by introducing more shade, benches and activities to the park’s present range of amenities,” Noyes said.

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