Restoring Kawainui Marsh

Chuck "Doc" Burrows
Chuck "Doc" Burrows
Daniel Lipkowitz
Daniel Lipkowitz

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

KAILUA (KHNL) - Cutting down trees and pulling out plants. It might not sound earth friendly, but it is helping the environment. Because there is too much green in Hawaii's largest wetland.

It's a hot summer day, while many students out of school are hitting the beach and working on their tan, dozens of students are working at Kawainui Marsh.

"We're out here to make this island look more beautiful, restore native plants and bring back Hawaii" said Kaimuki High School student, Cherie Patton.

Kawainui Marsh used to be the state's largest fishpond, an open water area.

But over the years, invasive plants moved in, moving out native birds.

Now humans are fighting back. Clearing weeds and opening up channels in the marsh's islets.

"Its important for our wetland birds, our native birds, to bring them back to Kawainui Marsh" said Chuck "Doc" Burrows, a Restoration Coordinator.

Its a year round effort to reduce invasive species. And even though its been going on for quite a while, more help is needed from volunteers.

This is a project to demonstrate to the state and the community what needs to be done to help. And how even a day's work can make a difference in the health of this habitat.

Its back breaking work, that has even brought in students from the mainland. Who are spending their summer here on this restoration effort. While they end up muddy, sore and tired, these students also get something else from this labor with the land.

"I feel like I actually get something out of this. I feel like I did a good job at the end of the day and I know I helped Hawaii which is a good thing" said Daniel Lipkowitz, a student from New Jersey.

As part of the restoration and education of Kawainui Marsh, there are informative tours held the first saturday of each month. With work projects held on following saturdays.

For more on the Kawainui Marsh tours or to volunteer call 593-0112.