Hoaloha 'aina Weed Pull ~ Volunteering on Vacation - Eva Varga

December 12, 20082

Ever since the kiddos and I participated in the Let’s Pull Together Community Weed Pull in June they have been asking, “When can we do the weed pull again?” When DH hears them he always replies, “Right now! There are weeds that need pulling in our backyard!” The kiddos do that regularly in the warmer months but it isn’t the same as working together with others to make a difference for the environment.When we decided to spend 2 weeks in Maui, I started a quest to find as many educational opportunities as I could. The Pacific Whale Foundation is a phenomenal resource and with a variety of activities for all ages. One of the links I explored was their Volunteer on Vacation site which provides listings of all the projects that we can take advantage of while on vacation.

There were several that were of interest but we settled on the Hoaloha ‘aina Weed Pull on the Monday before we departed. We met the team at the Kamaole II Beach Park in Kihei and were provided volunteer vests (they didn’t have enough for everyone so I opted to not wear one). There were two distinct areas to choose from… one on shore that involved using power tools to remove an invasive woody shrub that had taken over the bluff.

We opted for the other area… one uphill from the adults in an area that had been roped off and thereby kept Buddy contained within a manageable area.We worked for two hours pulling invasive weeds. In doing so, we of corse encountered many insects. We took a few minutes to observe them closely but unfortunately I didn’t have the camera so no pictures. DH took these photos shortly after we got started – he thereafter departed to do some work at the condo – Yes! He worked on vacation!

Just as everyone was finishing up, an adult discovered the nest of a young Wedge-tail Shearwater (ua’u kani). It was presummed that all of the fledglings had left for open water by this time. We all got a chance to observe the fledgling closely before returning him to his nest, recovering it with vegetation, and closing off the area again. Admin note: Please follow this link – it is a very interesting bird!
When DH returned, we immediately took him over to the area where the nesting burrows are located and told him of our discoveries. The kids were delighted. The next day, we received our Volunteering on Vacation t-shirts as a thank you from the Pacific Whale Foundation. The smallest size is an adult small – so of course, they are huge on the petite 6 year old and a 3 year old – but the are so proud of their shirts!



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