Waimea students visit Kawaiele Waterbird Sanctuary

MANA — Luke Kahawai said he used to pass the area on his way to Polihale.

“This is my first year teaching at Waimea Canyon Middle School,” said Kahawai, a teacher at the Waimea Canyon Middle School. “In fact, this is my first experience with the students visiting this Kawaiele Waterbird Sanctuary. I never knew this place was here even if we passed it all the time while going to Polihale.”

About 110 students from Waimea Canyon Middle School seventh-grade class and 10 of its teachers descended on the wetlands in Mana for a day of exploration and restoration work.

Students were broken into groups and tackled plant identification, bird identification and surveys, restoration plantings and seed dispersal, and learned about the impact of wetlands in the community and in the environment.

“This is good for the students to see what it takes to keep the land healthy,” Kahawai said.

This is the second year the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife has hosted the Waimea Canyon Middle School.

Adrian Constantino said this was the first time he’s visited the wetlands.

“This is a pretty good place,” the student said. “There are plenty experiences like learning about new plants. And the birds? I got to know about some I never knew existed.”

Jason Vercelli, a state biologist, said he hopes the students will come back to visit with their parents to check on how their plantings are doing.

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