A Wild Whirlwind!

bbq at the park the group smiles for a photo during a dinner of sunset watching.

Written By Mackenzie & Clare

Continuing from where we left off last week, we’ll start with last Sunday! The group hit the beach for a dip and played around in some super fun waves!

On Monday, we worked in the greenhouse and garden before our tour of the bamboo farm by Rich, one of our hosts. After lunch we learned about how they had managed to turn the initially empty land into a profitable, employee run co-op with a mission to make the world a more sustainable place through bamboo and the land has continued to be a beautiful interactive classroom. We learned about clumping and running bamboo types and about Agroforestry. We saw the process of how they raise the bamboo from start to a final product to be shipped, as well as timing periods and how they hollow out the stalks.

One of the painted trees on the farm at whispering winds bamboo farm.
Hallowed out bamboo in the dryer. (a step in the process to prepare it for use as lumbar one day).
Bamboo farms orchid flowers.

Tuesday, we packed up camp at Whispering Winds Bamboo farm in the pouring rain where people demonstrated speed like never before (could possibly be a Carpe Diem record). After this we made our way to meet with Lipoa, who led us on a tour around land that has recently been conserved and restored for indigenous Hawaiians to use. With the high price of living in Hawai’i and a tourism led economy, this land is becoming more essential for indigenous Hawaiians to pass down traditions like fishing, camping, surfing, and just having a place for themselves. We walked along the beautiful land, admiring the plants, hikes, and old portuguese ovens before stopping to look at a crucial area full of tide pools. Three brave souls even ate a limpet. After this we packed up and continued to the meditation retreat house once again— thanks to our amazing group leaders.

One of the Polynesian ovens.
The limpet that Justin, Mackenzie, and Clare ate.

Wednesday, we had the opportunity to spend the day with Summer Starr. She talked to us about a variety of topics with refreshing honesty and kindness. We talked about everything from privilege to plants, from government to God. In the afternoon, we were able to go to her beautiful home where she provided us with tea and books before continuing our conversation. The afternoon closed with a walk over the family property full of trails and beautiful native plants.

Summer Stars property.
Summer stars hiking trails in her backyard.

Thursday we woke up revving. We arrived at a beach where we met with Shelby from the Pacific Whale Foundation. Shelby taught us about whales and the factors leading to their endangerment. We then had the ability to do a beach clean up where we collected marine debris. On this side of the island the trash tends to be micro plastics blown in by currents. In pairs, we marked on a sheet what we were finding for the foundation to enter into a database that tracks trends in marine debris. This database is used to be supportive evidence for environmental legislation passed. **most of the data comes from Maui however every bit is helpful if you are interested in helping you can go to (https://www.pacificwhale.org/conservation/marine-debris/) to do beach cleanups at your local beach and have the ability to send the data in remotely! The more information the better! Maybe a good idea for this Earth Day!**
In the afternoon, we went to the Foundation’s classroom in Maalaea where we learned even more about whales, the ocean, and the barriers in our society that work against the environment (refuse single use plastics!). Robyn, our teacher, had us match flukes (the tails of whales which are each as individual to them as our handprint is to us) like pros.

Friday we went to Baby beach for a second day of working with the Pacific Whale Foundation. On this beach most of the trash is land based trash, rather than ocean trash, left by the large numbers of tourists that come to this beach daily. We once again collected and marked trash. In the afternoon, we headed back to the classroom once again where we observed sand and plankton samples under microscopes. Looking through the microscopic at the minuscule pieces of our world was beautiful. We ran two tests: one used a magnet to gauge if there were any rocks in the sand that were iron and the other used vinegar to test how much organic material was in the sand samples. The whole process was eye opening. We finished the day off with a picnic at a park where our talented cook team grilled yummy food for everyone.

Alive and decomposing plankton samples we observed in the Classroom under the microscope.