This past summer, when most youth were thinking about how to spend their lazy summer days, the youth of Kama‘ehu were thinking of ways to make their community a cleaner place.
On July 12, 2010 the 4th grade through high school students of Kama‘ehu visited Mokū‘auia Island, part of the Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary and an important nesting site for wedge-tailed shearwaters. Although the original intent for visiting the island did not include organizing a clean-up, the island was so littered with trash that the students decided to return the next day with gloves and trash bags in hand to clean up the island. The students picked up water bottles, beer bottles, food containers, and other trash that were polluting the wildlife sanctuary.
Then on July 21, 2010 the Kama‘ehu students and staff visited the Kalaeloa Boat Harbor to do some fishing, where they once again encountered an area that was so littered with trash that the students could not turn their heads away from the problem. The students were able to fill up 10 bags of trash in two days.
Shortly after returning from both outings the students and Aunty Sheree discussed what they could do to make the public aware of the problem. After a long discussion, the students came up with an idea to submit a request to the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to place signs at both locations. Aunty Sheree emailed DLNR asking them to put signs on Mokū‘auia Island that read “Wildlife Reserve, Please Take Your Trash Back To Oahu, Litter Makes Us Sick” and signs at Kalaeloa Boat Harbor that read “Protect The Beaches For Our Children, NO LITTERING.”
What DLNR chooses to do with the requests remains to be seen. As for the students of Kama‘ehu? Well, they’re busy thinking of all the ways they can make a difference next summer. Watch out community!