Students help rid Ke Ala Kahawai O Waimea from Hurricane Iselle remnants

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HPA students talk story with Leningrad Elarionoff, trail workday coordinator at Ke Ala Kahawai O Waimea. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA)
From left, Anton Von Wilamowitz, Tanner Riley and Asa Twigg- Smith lug a log from the stream. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA)
From left, HPA students Sora Hataji, Keli’I Van Kirk, Tyler Alt, Seungyou Kim (facing away), Braden Kojima and Asa Twigg-Smith help with a stream cleaning of Ke ala Kahawai O Waimea. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA)

An army made up of 10th graders – HPA’s Class of 2017 – kicked off their school year helping in their community. On Aug. 19, more than 40 students and their teachers worked to clear the Waikoloa Stream of tree branches brought down by the winds and rain of Hurricane Iselle along Ke Ala Kahawai O Waimea – the streamside trail of Waimea and the Waimea Nature Park. The students spread wood chips that help define the trail and give a cleaner walking and biking surface to trail users.

“It’s important that on the first day of school, everyone feels welcome and gets to learn about the Waimea community,” said HPA student Nicole Lorenzo. “Going to a part of the watershed was a great way to bond and meet a bunch of new students, while at the same time helping out the land.”

The students were split in half with half of them working in the Nature Park and the other half working on both ends of the Waimea Stream Trail.

“Both groups of students were enthusiastic about doing the work from the start,” said Leningrad Elarionoff, trail workday coordinator.

The students cleaned up downed trees, stacked wood, and trimmed, and completed a variety of other tasks.

“This was a wonderful activity to start the year off because the debris that was left from Iselle’s destruction caused a lot of trees to fall on the Waimea Stream trail,” said Sabrina Marvin, an HPA boarding student. “Picking up the trees brought us all together and made us appreciate the community we live in, and the beautiful landscape we have around us. This activity brought us together as a group by working together; it’s amazing to see how we work as one to get things done.”

Despite the work, Elarionoff said that none of the students complained. Instead, they “worked, laughed, and talked among themselves until the job was done.”

“The trail is in much better shape and I am sure that the trail users will appreciate the additional convenience and openness produced by (today’s) workday,” Elarionoff said.

“I run the stream trail all the time, so I had a great time working on the path,” Austin Schneider, an HPS student. “Now when I go running on this trail I will feel a bit more connected to it than before.”

The other half of the HPA class helped the Kohala Watershed Partnership in the Koai’a Tree Sanctuary.