Hawai'i State News

Kaiser Permanente volunteers participate in Annual Day of Service in Kona, Hilo

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Dr. Dave Bell and son Jack help move a tree. Photo Courtesy: Kaiser Permanente

About 100 Kaiser Permanente physicians, providers, nurses, staff and their family members volunteered at two Hawai‘i Island sites today as part of the organization’s Annual Day of Service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

For the sixth 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 Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Department of Land and Natural Resources 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 geese). 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 eighth year the threatened dryland forest at Pu’u Wa’awa’a Forest Reserve has benefitted from the aloha and mālama ‘āina given by Kaiser Permanente volunteers. It’s very rewarding to see this dry forest flourishing through the efforts of this ongoing partnership,” said Mary Metcalf, president of the dryland forest nonprofit Ka ‘Ahahui ‘O Ka Nāhelehele.

“We’re extremely grateful for the chance to unite our team and their loved ones in supporting vital biocultural restoration projects such as this,” expressed Matthew Murray, DO, a family medicine specialist and the physician-in-charge at Kaiser Permanente’s clinics on Hawai‘i Island. “This has grown into a cherished tradition for us. Seeing the advancements made over the years each time we come back is incredibly rewarding.”


Today’s volunteer project was part of a larger community service effort by more than 1,000 Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i physicians, providers, nurses, staff, and community partners statewide, volunteering simultaneously on O‘ahu, Maui, Hawai‘i Island and Kaua‘i.

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