Kamanele park clean up crew with bags of green waste

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa students had the opportunity to connect with the Mānoa community as well as the land near the campus through an invasive species clean up event on November 6, at Kamānele Park.

40 volunteers from UH, including the UH Mānoa Wellness Warriors club and members of the Wahine beach volleyball team, helped clear 81 bags of invasive vegetation at a heiau located in the park. Community volunteers included Mānoa Outdoor Circle board members, Mālama Mānoa directors, archaeologists and city workers.

Jackie Osumi
Jackie Osumi

“Kamānele Park is a very special place in my heart because I’ve been working on this project since I was in high school,” said Wellness Warriors President Jackie Osumi, a Mid Pacific Institute graduate and biology senior graduating in spring 2022.

Osumi said she started the Wellness Warriors with an aim to educate and inspire students to live a healthier, longer life and tries to incorporate a variety of approaches for the wellbeing of the student. Through Wellness Warriors, she hopes to foster community connections as well as reveal the beauty of the heiau. The volunteers were careful not to move the rocks of the heiau while they cleared the area.

“We were all able to work together in an effort to really preserve the heiau, and remove the invasive species, so that people could see it instead of hiding under all that green waste,” she said. “It was amazing we were able to do that as a team with everybody contributing from all different organizations of Mānoa valley. I think that was so awesome.”

Wahine Beach Volleyball player Kylin Loker got involved with the clean-up through Head Coach Evan Silberstein.

“It was very special because we know it’s a sacred place, and we know how important it is to the land and to the community,” Loker said. “As athletes we try to represent Hawaiʻi as much as possible, and I think that getting involved and actually being within the community is a great way that we can stay connected.”

The clean up was an opportunity for Loker, a geography and environment major, to experience in real life the places and land she had been studying in the classroom.

Loker’s advice for anyone interested in future clean up events: “Do it. It’s an amazing event!”

For more information on the Wellness Warriors visit their Instagram.

Volunteers with bags