MILILANI, HI -- The Mililani Army JROTC Trojan Battalion joined up with Mililani High School Surf Club to the West Side of Oahu, on 25 April 2021, to assist the Division of State Parks, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to remove invasive plants and beach clean-up to protect the endanced animals from eating and getting caught in plastic.
Ka'ena is the site of one of the last intact dune ecosystems in the main Hawaiian Islands. Many Wahi Pana, or legendary places are revered at Kaʻena, such as Kaneana cave – the residence of a Shark God, and Leina a Ka‘uhane – the leaping place of souls, where the spirits of the recently passed are reunited with their ancestors. Today, this unique landscape engages participants in a coastal habitat home to diverse seabirds, endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals, and endemic coastal plants that have made the rugged ancient shoreline their home for thousands of years. Participants experienced and learned about the history of this Wahi Pana and unique ecosystem by contributing in ways that protect this special place.
Ka'ena is on the Western most point on O'ahu. The terrain is rocky and sandy, or muddy when it rains. The work site is among native and invasive plants that may have thorns and stinging insects, and is exposed to the sun without many opportunities for shade.
The Surf Club President Chasity Bae, along with incoming Vice President Cadet Captain Andrew Diago planned this event since the beginning of the school year and with Covid-19, rains, flooding, both students stayed optimistic and the mission was a go and a success.
"Park Interpretive Program Specialist, Kekai Mar, Division of State Parks Department of Land and Natural Resource, made this project possible. His level of compassion for the wildlife and their habitat was demonstrated as he explained the facts about what invasive plants and plastics and micro fibers do to the environment,” said Chasity Bae.