Volunteers needed for Lydgate Earth Day projects

  • Nadya Penoff / Special to The Garden Island

    Shytiana Campbell, of Kauai High School’s Leo Club, charges into beach cleaning with a big smile at Lydgate Park.

  • Nadya Penoff / Special to The Garden Island

    Monica Kawakami helps paint the Tim Bynum Bridge at Lydgate Park, which is again one of many tasks on the list for Earth Day there.

WAILUA — All are invited to help with Earth Day in Lydgate Park when the Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park coordinate hundreds of volunteers’ efforts in the outdoors this Saturday, April 20.

Sign-in for the community workday starts in the main pavilion at 7:30 a.m., and the workday concludes with a lunch donated by businesses from around the island.

This year’s to-do list provides volunteers of all abilities with engaging tasks throughout the park, along the coast, and supporting the group effort, according to a press release.

The Hikina‘akala Heiau in Lydgate Park is an inspiring, pre-Western-contact historical complex, and state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks’ interpretive program specialist on Kauai, Victoria Wickman, coordinates the heiau cleanup, primarily clearing vegetation from that ancient site.

Scott McCubbins serves as the event’s marine debris cleanup supervisor. Experienced Surfrider Foundation members are dedicated to clearing away marine debris — mostly plastics and net snarls — junk that constantly washes up onto the coast north and south of the enclosed swimming ponds.

The park’s new, community-built, nine-hole disc golf course has gotten rave reviews from disc-golf enthusiasts. Ryan Moen and Disc Golf Kauai Ohana are recruiting volunteers to help improve and maintain the course.

Volunteers will be assisting the beach cleanup team — led by Carl Lozar — grooming the beach and lawn at the Morgan Ponds enclosed swimming area. Additionally, Scott Bacon with a scuba-diving crew will be underwater clearing sunken debris from the main pond. Since December 2018 that diligent crew has completed over 30 dives, removed a massive amount of sunken driftwood, and the result is that the center of the pond is visibly brighter.

After last spring’s devastating floods, the Friends of Kamalani Beach Cleanup Team continues to remove driftwood that enters the pond and accumulates on the beach. Waterlogged wood and muck from the April 2018 floods sank to the bottom of the pond, and as that wood decayed it creates silt and sludge, diminishing water clarity in the pond.

Removing the decaying wood helps beautify the pond because fresh sand can then settle on top of and isolate the dark sediment layer, which increases water clarity. Swimmers and snorkelers can enjoy the improved water quality in the pond and more clearly see the fish that live in it.

The total estimated amount of removed driftwood is currently 28,660 pounds, and there is still a lot of wood left in the pond.

The volume of driftwood cleared out of the pond increases dramatically when there’s full volunteer support on the beach, organizers said. During a recent Hawaiian Airlines’ employee service project the dive team cleared out about 3,770 pounds, almost four times a typical day’s haul.

Twenty-five years ago, the Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park brought the community together to build the Kamalani Playground. Several maintenance projects are lined up for that unique wood playground, and similarly for the Tim Bynum Bridge at the south end of the park.

Those who enjoy carpentry projects may register at www.kamalani.us.

The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park operate in fiscal partnership with the YWCA of Kauai, a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit.

Info: Tommy Noyes, general coordinator for the Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park, 639-1018, or www.Kamalani.us.

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