In June of 2011, Mālama Learning Center officially "adopted" Piliokahe (Tracks) Beach Park in Nānākuli under the supervision of the City and County of Honolulu Parks and Recreation Department. Our goal is to restore a section of the park with native Hawaiian plants to control erosion, beautify the area, and engage the community in creating healthy environments. In the process, community volunteers (students, teachers, adults, families) will learn about the natural environment and its ties to the Hawaiian culture, while building community pride and respect for the ʻāina. Piliokahe Beach Park can become an educational site that will engage the public in native ecosystem restoration in connection with cultural preservation. Many thanks to the many supporters who have volunteered over the years, including native plant expert Dr. Bruce Koebele, who has spearheaded many work projects to beautify this special place.
Volunteers are needed to:
Pick up litter and marine debris
Remove weeds in the restoration section
Plant native Hawaiian coastal plants
Care for the plantings by watering and weeding
Individuals and groups are invited on our work days (usually Saturday mornings). Children are invited if accompanied by adults.
Upcoming Work Dates: January 21, 2017 February 18, 2017 March 18, 2017 April 29, 2017 *Other dates to be determined.
*All workdays go form 9am-noon, volunteers should meet us near the Piliokahe (Tracks Beach Park) restroom.
If you'd like to volunteer, please contact us at 808-305-8287 or email chelsey(at)malamalearningcenter.org.
This project is made possible through the support of the City Department of Parks and Recreation and Nānākuli-Ma‘ili Neighborhood Board, Funding from Hawaiian Electric Company,and NOAA Marine Debris Program have supported our work, along with the many hands of volunteers.
Our work at Piliokahe continues, thanks to many volunteers. This video created by Kapolei High School's Visual Media program shows volunteers from the Disney 'Aulani Resort bringing some malama to this beautiful site not far from their workplace. We thank them for their kokua and welcome more volunteers to join our community workdays.
An overcast and rainy Saturday morning didn't deter UHWO Biology students from lending a helping hand at Piliokahe on November 21, 2015! Led by Dr. Bruce Koebele, a total of 15 volunteers cut back the invasive grass to make room for native Hawaiian plants that are known to grow in coastal sand dune environments and also removed some litter to further beautify this area. To take advantage of the rainy conditions, volunteers outplanted over 40 native plants including ma'o, pā'ū o Hi'iaka, 'ākulikuli, pōhinahina, ma'u'aki'aki, and 'ōhelo kai to name a few. Thanks to Dr. Bruce (pictured below teaching students about native plants) and his efforts to continue bringing groups to Piliokahe, our restoration planting area has expanded Westward and is looking great!
With our new NOAA Marine Debris grant, we are able to focus on marine debris prevention and removal at Piliokahe through our monthly workdays where volunteers will be able to help us collect data on shoreline marine debris accumulation in this area as well as continue our site restoration work of this coastal ecosystem. Monthly workdays begin December 2015, individuals and groups are welcome to join us. Please contact MLC if you're interested in volunteering, we hope to see you there!
From Winter 2014 On Saturday November 8th, Bank of Hawai'i (BOH) joined forces with the Malama Learning Center to host a workday event for BOH Blue Team employees and their family members at Piliokahe Beach Park located along the beautiful Leeward coast of O'ahu. A total of about 40 BOH volunteers came together to remove trash from this stretch of coastline, outplant native Hawaiian plants, and remove invasive species to make room for native growth.
It was a productive and enjoyable day of hard work where we were all able to strengthen our connections to each other and the 'aina. We would like to give a big shout out to BOH associates Cody Walker, Lauren Shigemasa, Mike Newalu, Nainoa Fiddler, Chelsea Penfield, and Jonathan Vasquez for their extraordinary efforts to ensure a meaningful workday experience for their team! Mahalo nui loa to Bank of Hawai'i and their awesome employees!
From Winter 2013
Efforts on our Piliokahe Restoration Project at Tracks Beach Park in Nānākuli continue! Each month volunteers from the community and various groups come out to clean the beach of litter and marine debris and help to transform our little area with native plants such as: pōhinahina, ʻakia, paʻū o Hiʻiaka, and kawelu grass. These tough plants have survived their first summer and are happily drinking up the winter rains.
The winter is the perfect time for planting! The weather is not so drastically hot and the sweet rain helps the new plants thrive in their new home. Mahalo to the students from Nānākuli’s NEST, led by teachers Jewelynn Kirkland and Terra Wight, who have been carefully raising plants throughout the year for Piliokahe. Mahalo to the Go Green Club from Kapolei High School who joined us at our January workday! They rebuilt a section of our site that had been vandalized and replanted it better than before.
From Spring 2012: Over the last few months we have been busy working at our Piliokahe Restoration and Beautification Project at Piliokahe (Tracks) Beach Park. Since the start of the project in August 2011, we have had 167 volunteers come out to clear invasive non-native plants, spread mulch that the city has so generously delivered for us, pick up litter and marine debris, and plant native species. Thank you to groups from Papahana Kuaola, Kapolei High Schoolʻs Go Green Club and National Honor Society and everyone who came out for your hard work! (Students from Leihoku Elementary are pictured below.)
From November to January we removed over 10,000 pieces of trash. Everyone was shocked at the staggering amount of trash collected. We found various items including broken toys, large amounts of plastic including plastic bags and food containers, glass and clothing. We even found a few tires and a copy machine. Students were able to see first-hand the effects of marine debris. One volunteer was visibly upset because a large amount of trash was collected very close to her home. She said, “Before today, I never really cared about trash. I’ve never even noticed all of this trash on this beach before. From now on, if I see trash I will pick it up!”
Students have been working hard to create a new healthy habitat for these plants and we have started planting! Six mau aki aki and four akia have found new homes on the windy beach… if you around Tracks and see these little plants struggling, give them a little love and a cup of water to help them adapt to their new surroundings.
This project has done more than improve the environment. It has brought people together to work cooperatively. One mother shared, as her two sons worked together planting, “Look, they are working together, and not fighting!” Another mother commented, "I enjoyed seeing how much the kids valued this experience. They really loved planting and cleaning up." Another parent said, "This program is an excellent experience for my children. They are learning about taking care of the environment along with being responsible citizens. Thank you for coordinating this restoration activity. Great Day!"
From Fall 2011:
Sun, beautiful vistas and a whole heap of sweat and weeds…
Mālama Learning Center has begun restoration work out at Piliokahe, also known as Tracks Beach Park. In late August and September, with dedicated volunteers, we started clearing invasive weeds, haole koa and lots of litter. So far we’ve cleared over 35 bags of debris and trash including bottle caps, old glass bottles, and even six pairs of underpants!
This month we continued to clear the area before starting to cover the area with mulch. The area is starting to transform! Piliokahe project coordinator, Sayo Costantino says, "I love being a part of transforming an area from dry dying grasses to vibrant native plants. I am inspired by the volunteers; community members, teachers, and students who take time out of their day to come out and work so hard to make this restoration possible."
Soon we will finish mulching the area and begin planting. Many of our plants will come from the new native plant nursery at Nānākuli Intermediate and High School. We're excited to see everything come full circle for the students who have worked so hard out at at Piliokahe as well as in their nursery. The students will out have the opportunity to out-plant the plants from their nursery and watch them thrive.
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