Thank you to Makawao School and Haiku School students for their service in assisting Haleakalā National Park plant keiki silverswords at the summit of Haleakalā. What a great experience that we are happy to have been a part of.
Haleakala EcoTours took a few classes (Haiku School 4th and 5th graders and Makawao School 4th graders) up to Haleakala National Park.
The National Park Service propagates rare endemic plants in a nursery located near the park entrance where students helped to plant some of these “baby” Silverswords (Ahinahina) in the summit region of the park. The students learned about how plants made their way here long ago and then adapted to their new environment to become unique endemic species of plants found nowhere else in the world. The students also learned the importance of the Hawaiian value of kuleana and how each of them have a kuleana to protect these rare endemic species from extinction.
The Ahinahina is not endangered, but is threatened, so the efforts and contributions by the children were definitely welcomed.
At the summit the children were met by various Park rangers and staff. They shared fascinating information about silverswords, invasive species and about the park’s efforts to control both. The children were then taken beyond regular visitor access where baby silverswords would not be trampled on, and would have room to grow. A park ranger explained the process of planting these keiki Silverswords. Simply dig a hole, place the plant in the hole, fill the hole, and water the plant! The groups were split off into smaller manageable groups so as to not disturb the surrounding area, which was marked off for the same reason.
The children were excited to learn about the silverswords and to plant them.
Big thanks to all of the 4th and 5th grade students, teachers and parents at Ha’iku and Makawao Elementary School who gave of their time to help ensure the continued survival of the majestic Ahinahina (Silverswords) atop Haleakala!