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HI Now Host Kainoa Carlson visits Kipuka Olowalu, an outdoor classroom in Olowalu Valley that teaches students, visitors and kama’āina alike the importance of caring for the land.
The program holds twice-weekly open volunteer days where it brings both school and corporate groups to engage with the land by planting native plants and removing invasive species.
“We have traditional, intact wetland kalo systems from 1,500 years ago that are still here,” said Founding Member Kainoa Horcajo. “This valley has a huge, long history, starting from the first migrations here, but 20 years ago, it was found in a state of massive disrepair.”
This disrepair is what inspired the creation of Kipuka Olowalu. Its founding members got to work restoring the wetlands and removing invasive species. Its mission involves the value of mālama ‘āina, which means to take care of the land.
Kipuka Olowalu participates in the Mālama Hawaii program, in which visitors can donate their time to local nonprofits in exchange for reduced rates at certain hotels and restaurants.