We had an amazing day today! We had three main priorities in coming to the Big Island: to see Volcanoes National Park, to attend the 10th anniversary pa’ina for the Cornell Sustainability Semester, and to visit Ka’upulehu dryland forest, where Trinity did her internship that helped her discover her passion for restoring native plants – and ruthlessly exterminating invasives.
We spent most of the day there – checking on plantings that Trinity did three years ago, checking on plots that other Cornell interns had done, visiting paths and places that Trinity had walked and worked on, exploring new areas that had opened since, including a newly built plant nursery, walking part of the border fence to make sure no feral goats had gotten their heads stuck trying to get in, and finally getting to have a long talk with Wilds, Trinity’s internship supervisor who wrote one of her recommendation letters to the ESF grad school program she will begin in the fall semester, and the current Sustainability Semester intern.
My biggest accomplishment of the day was not falling down! The hillside is quite steep and the paths – along with the forest area – is mostly chunks of jagged a’a lava. It’s difficult to find secure footing and totally impossible to walk quietly, as the chunks of lava rock grind noisily against each other as soon as you apply weight. At least, you don’t have to worry about someone sneaking up on you! I am proud to say that my little used hiking boots now look well-used after just a few hours on the abrasive a’a.
If you would like to learn more about Ka’upulehu, here are a few links about it: http://www.hawaiiforestinstitute.org/our-projects/dryland-forest-projects/kaupulehu-dryland-forest/ http://www.drylandforest.org/ho%E2%80%98ola-ka-makana%E2%80%98%C4%81-ka%E2%80%98%C5%ABp%C5%ABlehu