Kaua'i high schoolers scramble to save river
Students at Waimea High School on Kaua'i are getting into the flow of things, literally. They're removing debris from Waimea River one bucket at a time. 9th and 12 graders at Waimea High School on Kaua'i are digging deep in an effort to save it.
Students at Waimea High School on Kaua'i are getting into the flow of things, literally.
They're removing debris from Waimea River one bucket at a time. The student driven school project has 9th and 12th graders digging deep in an effort to save it.
"We cross this river every day and we look down on it and just see it all dry with silt in it. It just doesn't look healthy. It's hard for the water to flow correctly and the way it used to be," said 12th grader Derick Balualua.
Massive silt islands have compromised the river's depth just makai of the swinging bridge. The water once waist deep, now barely knee high.
Inspired by Hokule'a's mission to Malama Honua or care for the Earth, teacher Berna Souza asked students to come up with a project to do just that.
"We wanted to do more than just your average research paper or the argumentative essays. We wanted our kids to to take an active role in changing something in their community," said Souza.
Students spent months mapping everything and made sure to get proper clearance from the state and county.
Their non-traditional class project is turning a lot of heads and even has the attention of Kaua'i's top official.
"What I would like the kids to know is you started this. You did the sweat and hard work by the actual manual labor but with that you opened the door to more opportunities to take care of the entire river and not only for today but for tomorrow," said Mayor Bernard Carvalho.
Students have hosted several community clean ups. Volunteers form a line and buckets of shoveled up silt are passed down and deposited onto the river's bank.
Local farmer Kaina Makua is guiding the kids every step of the way. The Kaua'i native is familiar with the area and understands the water's value.
"If you look at a icebox, that was basically what the river was to Hawaiians. Everybody ate 'o'opu. Everybody lived off the river whether it was to drink water or whether it was to eat from it through the marine life," Makua explained.
Two more clean up sessions are set for this weekend. About a dozen organizations have already signed up to help and students are hoping more people from the community will pitch in.
If you're interested in helping out you'll have two opportunities March 11th and 12th from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Shuttle service to the site will be available from Waimea High School.
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