Rounding up banana poka

KOKEE — Chris Faye, director of the Kokee Museum, said Sunday that the Banana Poka Roundup was a success because of the scarcity of material at the Kokee Civilian Conservation Corps Camp.

“We spent all day Saturday looking for material,” Faye said. “And this is all we could find. We need to find uses for other invasive plants like the kahili ginger.”

Creating baskets using vines from the invasive banana poka was the focus of the forest awareness event held at the Kokee CCC Camp where the quiet forest air was tickled by notes from kihoalu artist Paul Togioka and carried to the far reaches of the Kokee State Park camping area.

“Today is perfect for having this event,” Faye said. “With all of the rains, all of the flowers are in bloom.”

Some of the material were being used by the Kupuna Klub led by Puni Patrick.

“These ladies meet once a week to dance hula and do things like making lei,” Patrick said. “Today, we’re asking people to make lei — one for themselves, and one for the Kauai Veterans Cemetery where we will drop off the lei for the Memorial Day Service Monday morning.”

The Banana Poka Roundup featured information booths from state organizations and conservation groups, including the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Animal Wildlife, Save Our Shearwaters, the Endangered Forest Bird Recovery Project, the Kauai Invasive Species Committee, and the Department of Health.

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