Intern post #1: KaMele Sanchez
Our interns this summer were incredible. Not only did they work hard, but they also were visibly brimming with wonder and curiosity about the places and projects they experienced. They also demonstrated an uncanny ability to reflect on the big picture. We have asked each of them to send us a photo and a bit of writing about their summer.
This is #1 in the series, written by KaMele Sanchez.
This picture was taken during a fence check around Pu`u Pili located in Kahua Ranch on Kohala Mountain. You cannot tell from the photo, but these beautiful native ‘olapa trees are surrounded, and are being enclosed by, the invasive Himalayan ginger. This is the side of the pu`u that the Kohala Watershed Partnership has not reached yet with ginger control. In the areas they have controlled you can see a wealth of native plants growing in place of the highly destructive ginger plant.
There is fear, hope, and determination written all over this snapshot of the forest. Fear that one day the entire pu`u will be nothing but ginger, hope that one day the entire pu`u will be plentiful with native Hawaiian vegetation, and determination to make the latter suggestion reality. As an intern with KWP there are a great many things that I have gained, but probably the most critical to me was this ideology that there are wars to be fought for the island that I love. While at times the battles may seem unpromising and forlorn, they can be won and they are worth it.
KaMele is a recent graduate from Honoka’a High School, and is on her way in a week to start her freshman year at Colorado State University, planning to major in ecosystems and watershed science. She began working with KWP as a community volunteer in 11th grade, then took on a position as a KWP Teen Leader in 2014. This summer, she was hired as one of our summer interns.