Adult and youth groups from the community and educational institutions are invited to contact the Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association to volunteer at the ongoing dryland forest restoration project. Tasks may include planting seedlings, removing alien weeds, constructing trails, and similar work. Volunteers may be able to participate in a periodically scheduled “work day” on the site, or special arrangements may be possible.
Volunteers should be aware that the project site at Ka‘upulehu is generally hot, sunny, and dry, and the terrain is rough and occasionally steep. Wearing suitable clothing, drinking plenty of water, and being in good physical condition will help ensure a safe and satisfying experience.
Usually, volunteers are expected to bring their own lunch, snacks and water, and wear their own sturdy boots, long pants, hats and gloves. Depending on the nature of the work and the size of the group, tools are usually provided for volunteers. Transportation to and from the site is the responsibility of the volunteers, but it is readily accessible by standard vehicle and is less than half an hour north of Kailua-Kona.
In order to protect the dryland forest site from further pests, please ensure that all boots have been washed and/or briskly brushed to remove all traces of dirt and weed seeds. Clothing should also be free from weed seeds.
Project staff will also provide a brief orientation to the cultural and biological resources of the site, highlighting the unique and rare plants found in Hawaii’s dryland forests. If your organization would like a presentation in a classroom or other location on the work being done by the North Kona Dryland Forest Working Group, please ask.
Ka`ÜpÜlehu Protocol—A message from the Outreach Volunteer/Education Coordinator
The domain of the dryland forest is home to la`au or species evolved to thrive in arid conditions, under a blazing sun, on rocky volcanic terrain. It is a very fragile ecosystem for the natives that remain. For the human visitors to this domain, it is an extremely rugged and rigorous environment. Volunteer efforts are seen as a mutually beneficial exchange where the forest benefits from the care or mälama, and the volunteers, staff and researchers benefit by learning from the forest. The notion that we are guests to this place is key to understanding the need for protocol that is observed at Ka`üpülehu. Mahalo for your kokua with these standards of respect and conduct to protect precious “koena” or “that which remains”.
There are broadly three kinds of protocol in practice here:
- Protocol of Respect
- Protocol of Agreement
- Protocol of Forest Protection—or “Weed Interdiction Protocol”
The Dryland Forest Working Group has made it their kuleana or commitment and responsibility to care for Ka`üpülehu. On behalf of this group, the project manager (HFIA-Andrea Gill), the landowner (KS), lessee (PIA-Kona Limited Partnership), Forest Technician (Brian Kiyabu), and Outreach Volunteer/Education Coordinator (Yvonne Yarber Carter); ask that you honor the protocols so this unique stewardship relationship with the land continues.
Bringing together cultural knowledge and science. Hannah Springer and Susan Cordell speak to Big Island university and community college students about Ka`upulehu and the dryland forest. July 16, 2003 Photo ©Yvonne Yarber Carter
Big Island keiki preparing to enter Ka`üpülehu to build trails and work in the forest as part of the Kamehameha Schools 2003 summer stewardship program, Ho`olauna Keauhou. Photo ©Yvonne Yarber Carter
Contact for volunteering or educational opportunities:
Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association