By Tommy Noyes
Leading more than 130 willing volunteers through a community workday to celebrate Earth Day on April 18 was a lot like fighting a forest fire.
Both the Earth Day in Lydgate Park 2015 (“ED-15”) coordinators and firefighters use Incident Command System, a systematic tool for the command, control and coordination of emergency response.
“As Operations Section Chief for our tenth annual ED-15,” said Valerie Woods, “I supervised seven team leaders, making sure they had adequate resources to efficiently complete their objectives.
“ED-15 presented a few challenges, which we treated as opportunities to learn and improve. Despite those minor challenges, all seven leaders and their crews succeeded in completing their operations. Over 130 volunteers collaborated to:
- Clean the beach thoroughly,
- Build and paint six new picnic benches,
- Clear lauhala and brush from Hikia‘akala Heiau,
- Cut back the jungle to open views from the interpretive signage loop on Ke Ala Hele Makalae,
- Pick up litter throughout the park,
- Collect data on trees for the Arbor Inventory GIS layer we’re compiling, and
- Renovate Kamalani Playground’s Swinging Platform.
“I encourage everyone — keiki to kupuna — to save the date and register at www.Kamalani.org now for our big autumn community workday. National Make A Difference Day will start at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. Come out and enjoy this rewarding experience.”
Wendy Netzer travels from California to attend EDs. She said, “I watched Valerie manage the operations. There’s way more structure to a well-run event than I realized. Now I appreciate the detailed thought and preparation necessary to make this community workday flow smoothly for the many volunteers.”
Volunteers young and old, from the Girl Scouts to the Ys Men, all have active roles.
“We started the Malama the Heiau volunteers work session with a brief history of Hauola,” said Annaleah Atkinson, who serves with both Na Kahu O Hikina‘akala and the Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park. “After a prayer we launched into our cleanup.
“Girl Scouts and their leaders were working side-by-side with beauty queens Miss Paradise Kaua‘i 2015 Sarah Manuel — who served as the event’s Public Information Officer — and Miss Cosmopolitan Elite 2015 Jamilee Jiminez. Luckily, we had some strong male backs working along with us as we raked, pruned and carried lauhala and other green waste to the roll-off container provided by the county for composting. Once the roll-off was full, the girls ran off to play in Kamalani Playground.”
Scott McCubbins’ crew took on a physically strenuous task.
“We cleared back the thick jungle that blocked the ocean and river views from Ke Ala Hele Makalae’s interpretive signage loop,” McCubbins said. “My task force included Doug Haigh, chief of the county’s Public Works Building Division, and a cheerful group from Soka Gakkai International who embrace Nichiren Buddhism, a dynamic philosophy grounded in the realities of daily life.”
Local businesses generously donated supplies and entrees for a lavish lunch spread that capped off the morning’s hard work.
- 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.