Kaiser Permanente volunteers participate in annual day of service in Hilo, Kona
About 100 Kaiser Permanente physicians, providers, nurses, staff and their family members volunteered at two Big Island sites on Jan. 16 as part of the organization’s Annual Day of Service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
For the fifth year, Kaiser Permanente volunteers were at Kamokuna, a coastal environment located in a land division known as Honohononui in Hilo. Volunteers helped to remove invasive species and restore the wall of the ancient fishpond managed by the Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation.
Kaiser Permanente volunteers in Kona gathered at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, working with nonprofit Ka Ahahui ‘O Ka Nāhelehele and the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife on projects to help restore the area’s unique dryland forest ecosystem. Rich in historical significance and indigenous flora and fauna, the area is also home to nesting nēnē (Hawaiian goose).
The volunteers planted native plants, collected native seeds, cleared invasive weeds and vines, and restored an interpretive trail for visitors to learn about the native dry forest.
“This is the seventh year the threatened dryland forest at Pu’u Wa’awa’a Forest Reserve has benefitted from the aloha and malama aina given by Kaiser Permanente volunteers,” said Mary Metcalf, president of the dryland forest nonprofit Ka ‘Ahahui ‘O Ka Nāhelehele. “It’s very rewarding to see the dry forest flourishing through the efforts of this ongoing partnership,”
Today’s volunteer project was part of a larger community service effort by more than 1,000 Kaiser Permanente Hawaii physicians, providers, nurses, staff, and community partners statewide that were volunteering simultaneously on Oahu, Maui, Hawaiʻi Island and Kauaʻi.