Well it was a small turnout by HIC. Only Ben and his wife Erica showed up to join in on the restoration fun. Upon arriving at 9am, it was pouring rain with no end in sight. The group of volunteers were told that it was likely we may not go in if the rain didn't let up as a) it can be very chilly working while wet and b) it's hard to do certain restoration work when the ground is saturated.
Upon arriving, I spent some time chatting with the volunteers. For the most part the entire group were regulars who meet every week. Some of the nicest people I have ever met, many of them had recognized me from all the times I ran past them on the trails. They asked all kinds of questions about the races we do out there and it turns out that they were the group who helped rescue a friend of mine last year who broke his foot while on the trail. Small world!
Around 9:30, we noticed the sun was starting to show through so we decided to hike the 1.5 miles in and 'see what happens.' Along the way, Dylan, a student at UH, spent the entire hike pointing out the invasive and native plants. It was so incedibly interesting that 90% of the plants in the jungle were not native. Even things you think of like Ginger, strawberry guava, avocado, mango, bamboo, macadamia, coffee, none of these things are native to Hawaii!! We learned that you can suck out the nectar from the shoot of the amazing smelling ginger flowers and Erica and I proceeded to consume many flowers :) We were even told about a new fruit that was edible that looked like mini pumpkins...how I had never noticed these before I don't know! I regularly run these trails and had never seen half the things pointed out to me, including a giant waterfall.
After our amazing learning experience on the hike in, we made it to the work area. It was starting to get nicer but still raining off and on so we decided to do some weeding. We pulled bamboo and let me tell you it was EVERYWHERE!! We spent hours pulling up those shoots by the root. The volunteers continued to point out various species and plants. It was amazing to see all the Koa seedlings sprouting everywhere.
The manoa cliff group has 6 acres of land they are restoring and they hope to get the world out about the dangers of invasive species. You can read more about their project here and I plan on continuing to help them on Sundays. It was a fantastic day and one of the most fantastic volunteer events I have ever done.
Sorry no pictures from this one!