By Tommy Noyes
“A walk in the park” is one way to describe an easy-going, enjoyable experience.
The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park urge you to celebrate Earth Day 2014 by volunteering your services in a gathering that will deliver exactly that kind of experience.
The Earth Day in Lydgate Park community workday on April 19 starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Kamalani Playground. People of all ages and abilities are welcome to volunteer as individuals or groups. Lunch will be served after the morning’s tasks are done.
The main objective for this Earth Day will be brushing a coat of non-toxic linseed oil wood sealer onto the Kamalani Kai Bridge at the south end of the park, and most of the volunteers will be working on that assignment.
“Performing this maintenance regularly keeps the bridge in good condition,” said Larry Lindsay, the bridge’s sealing coordinator. “We want this unique bridge to continue delighting generations to come. We prepare everything we need well ahead so that the sealing operation goes quickly and smoothly for the hundreds of participating volunteers. With enough volunteers working together, the work flows amazingly quickly, just like when the community built the bridge back in 2001.”
Other ways to kokua include assisting Na Kahu o Hikina‘akala volunteers with raking up and clearing away fallen lauhala from around Hikina‘akala Heiau, joining one of the park-beautification squads coordinated by Scott McCubbins. The squads will collect litter, apply carpentry skills to a Kamalani Playground project with Graeme Merrin, and clean the Morgan’s Ponds beaches just like in the weekly beach cleanup supervised by park volunteer extraordinaire John Lydgate.
“Local businesses donate delicious meals — a big attraction,” food and beverage coordinator Elle Vitt said. “We need several volunteers who are willing to transport, set up, and serve snacks and lunch. And in observance of Earth Day, this year we are adding the ‘Valet Trash’ team to the line-up. They’ll sort all the refuse from lunch for recycling and composting as this is a zero-waste event.”
The jobs listed above are a lot of work, so why would anybody want to spend a Saturday morning doing chores like these?
“It comes down to a simple question: ‘Would you like to have more friends?’” said Valerie Woods, who has been a leader every year since the Friends started promoting Earth Day in Lydgate Park community workdays in 2007. This year, Woods is the Logistics Section Chief.
“We keep drawing in more volunteers each year because over the course of the morning people see that by working together they make a big difference,” she said. “They’re keeping the park attractive and establishing new friendships at the same time. And then we feed all the volunteers a wholesome lunch! Simple!”
The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park operates as a nonprofit organization in fiscal partnership with the YWCA of Kaua‘i, also a nonprofit.
- Tommy Noyes works for the Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s Public Health Preparedness branch, serves on Kaua‘i Path’s board of directors, and is a League of American Bicyclists certified instructor.