Red Raiders attack mangrove

NIUMALU — Teens turned out in force Saturday for the Malama Huleia mangrove cleanup at the Niumalu estuary.

A group of nearly 85 students from Kauai High School’s All Clubs Service Learning Project showed up to work hard for a good cause.

One of the threats of the invasive mangrove is its ability to overrun and clog estuaries and waterways, Malia Chun, the Malama Huleia outreach officer, told the students.

“I learned about this project when I first did it with the National Honor Society,” said Brayden Antonio, the Kauai High School student body president who spearheaded the massive effort by Kauai High students. “Since then, I’ve started talking with the presidents and leaders of the other clubs.”

Buddy Keale of Malama Huleia said working with large groups poses its own set of challenges, but with the group behind schedule on its progress timeline, all help is welcome.

“We have the younger students from Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School working to pull out the sprouting mangroves,” Chun said. “The mangrove seeds are very prolific and efficient; more than 99 percent of them having the potential of becoming mangrove trees.”

Keale said during the Easter break, people from the Polynesian Voyaging Society dropped in to work during their workshop on Kauai.

“There were a lot of people,” Keale said. “But they went in and scoured the place, getting a lot of things accomplished in just several hours. Today, we’re getting the use of a crane which can take out a tree on one pass, something it takes several people hours to do.”

Antonio said on Saturday, the Kauai High School student government was joined by the Key Club, Leo Club, the National Honor Society, the Dance Club, Kauai Leaders Against Suicide, the Japanese Club, Buddies of the Ocean, Interact Club, Not Even Once Club, Spanish Club and others.

“It was a pleasure to work with everyone to help Malama Huleia in their efforts to eradicate the invasive mangrove population in the Nawiliwili area,” Antonio said. “A big thanks go out to all the club presidents for helping to organize this effort, and to all the students who participated.”

Antonio said the group was helped by Dawn Taba, Chie Roessler and Bridget Arume, who turned out to work alongside the students.

“This is the first All Clubs Service Learning Project that Kauai High School has hosted,” Antonio said. “It is my hope that Kauai High School will continue to hold these collaborative school and all clubs service learning projects, striving to make each one better than the one before.”

The Malama Huleia work day continues today from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. from the Kaiola Canoe Club. Lunch is provided for all volunteers, states a Surfrider Foundation Kauai announcement. Volunteers are asked to being tabi, or rubber boots, shades or other protective eye wear, and a re-fillable water bottle.

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