Final Week – Wrapping Up!!!

My last week at the office was normal. I just updated out website, the blog and our monthly news letters.

My final work day was at Koala Ranch, where the Hakipu’u Stream Restoration Project is taking place. The project is working to remove invasive species from Hakipu’u head-water spring areas and reforest with native plant species. Native plant species will help to reduce the amount of sediment entering Hakipu’u Stream and ultimately Kaneohe Bay. This project started in 2012, and so far Hui o ko’olauopoko 700 feet of riparian habitat on 1.8 acres of land surrounding the head-water spring area of upper Hakipuʻu Stream.

Hiking to the stream site.
Hiking to the stream site.

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Part of the work site
Part of the work site
Part of the stream after weeding out a lot of plants.
Part of the stream after weeding out a lot of plants.
Go Bulls!!!
Go Bulls!!!
Koala Ranch
Koala Ranch

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Planting native plants
Planting native plants
You can barely see the stream amidst all the plants
You can barely see the stream amidst all the plants
Volunteers helping out. In the background are also little minions helping out.
Volunteers helping out.
In the background are little minions helping out.
Done with one section of the site.
Done with one section of the site.
On our way out of the ranch, btw behind me is the set of the the new jurassic world movie
On our way out of the ranch, btw behind me is the set of the the new jurassic world movie
back at the Ranch. Me, my fellow intern (Chad) and my boss (Kristen)
back at the Ranch.
Me, my fellow intern (Chad) and my boss (Kristen)
Koala Ranch
Koala Ranch

Memorial Day Weekend

I also made it to The Big Island and Maui

My quest to find the Green Sand Beach
My quest to find the Green Sand Beach
Found it!!!
Found it!!!
Black Sand Beach
Black Sand Beach
South Point Cliff Dive, the southernmost point in the U.S (The Big Island)
South Point Cliff Dive, the southernmost point in the U.S (The Big Island)
Wind Farm
Wind Farm
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Green Sand Beach
Turtles nesting
Turtles nesting
Had to go volcano swimming on the Big Island
Had to go check out the volcano on the Big Island
When i decided not to go volcano swimming...
You would think it would be hot around the volcano, the temperature was in its 40’s…
On may way to Hana
On may way to Hana
Red Sand Beach...
Red Sand Beach…
Red Sand Beach
Red Sand Beach
Treacherous road to Hana, sooo narrow with took many corners. Had to pull over twice because i was dizzy.
Treacherous road to Hana was sooo narrow with too many turns. I had to pull over twice because i was dizzy. #nojoke

As my time came to an end i gathered all the materials i was going to need for my final paper. I had to hop from Hawai’i Pacific University library, to University of Hawai’i library, and the Kailu’a and Kaneohe public libraries to find the required books/reports for my final paper. Came back home packed up my things then i head out to the airport. I was ready to come back to Tampa and get it over with.

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As i looked out the window and we flew over Honolulu, it finally hit me. My time in Hawaii was truly memorable one.

1st and 2nd Week on the Island

My first day at the office. I remember waking up early, excited and eager to be at the office. I had a shirt, dress pants and a tie on, looking all professional and then i headed out to search for the office. Upon my arrival, i called Kristen (my boss) because i wasn’t really sure where the office was, so she came out of the office and i was able to locate the office. I went up the stairs and we said our hellos and the first thing she told me was i was too dressed up. In my mind i was like this is a first. I guess the Island is a little bit lax on “official dress code”. We went to the office and she introduced me to the Executive Director Todd Cullison, he welcomed me and i told them both how happy i was to be apart of their organization. A couple of hours later, Kristen and I headed out. She drove me to a couple of their work cites around town and showed me what they did.

At the office
At the office
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Me at the office. I had my shorts and running shoes on. #amazing #islandofficelife

The non-profit organization i work with is called Hui o ko’olaupoko and their main mission is “to protect ocean health by restoring the aina(land): mauka to makai (inland to the sea)”. Some of the services they provide are Watershed Planning and  Management, Rain gardens and Low Impact Development and Technical Consultation & Training. They were awarded a grant some years back to build rain gardens around the community to reduce storm water runoff. So far they have built about a dozen within the community. For my first week, Kristen and I were mostly out in the field doing maintenance on the rain gardens they built, weeding out weeds, trimming plants and planting new ones.

Rain garden infiltration test.
Rain garden infiltration test.
Rain garden maintenance. Thats Chad, my fellow intern.
Rain garden maintenance.
Thats Chad, my fellow intern.
Rain garden maintenance
Rain garden maintenance
Rain garden at Hawaii Pacific University
Rain garden at Hawaii Pacific University
Rain garden maintenance
Rain garden maintenance

I must say going out and working on this rain gardens has helped my out in identifying and knowing more about native plants.

Another project the organization is working on is the He’eia Estuary Restoration. The purpose of this project is to enhance water quality and increase the habitat for native aquatic animal species by removing invasive plants and replanting native Hawaiian species along the portion of the He’eia Stream estuary. This project was one of the reasons i chose the organization because it is related to what my research is going to be on. The He’eia Estuary Restoration Project is located at He’eia State park. Its an estimated four acre land that is covered with mangroves and hau bush, where both species have invaded the stream and is trying to make it in accessible. Planting native plants would help in the control erosion, purify storm water runoff and also provide habitat for native species. Also organic materials would go to a compost site and the rest would be used to suppress weed and add nutrients to the soil.

Project site. Along the banks are mangroves growing out.
Project site.
Along the banks are mangroves growing out.
Me pulling out mangroves
Me pulling out mangroves
Volunteers getting down and dirty
Volunteers getting down and dirty
Site prior to mangroves removal
Site prior to mangroves removal
Tools
Tools
Kaneohe Bay, where the stream empties into
Kaneohe Bay, where the stream empties into
Partially cleared area
Partially cleared area
Even after pulling out most of the baby mangroves, there was still a lot of work to be done.
Even after pulling out most of the baby mangroves, there was still a lot of work to be done.
The mangroves practically makes it difficult to move around
The mangroves practically makes it difficult to move around

Out and About

Me around town

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Out on Manoa, checking out invasive plants. 99% of all the plants in the forest are invasive.
Out on Manoa, checking out invasive plants. 99% of all the plants in the forest are invasive.
I was lost in the forest for about 15 mins. You can't tell but i was a bit worried. It would rain for a minute and then the sun would shine for about 5mins. it kept on going like that through out my 3 hours in the mountains.
I was lost in the forest for about 15 mins. You can’t tell but i was a bit worried.
It would rain for a minute and then the sun would shine for about 5mins. it kept on going like that through out my 3 hours in the mountains.

Brief Introduction

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My name is Mubarak. I am currently a Master student in the Patel College of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida, and i love to travel. My concentration is Water and Entrepreneurship.

I choose to study sustainability because as I grew up my interest and passion for the environment started to evolve and I wanted to do something in life that would benefit my generation and the generation after me. That’s why I decided to dig a little bit deeper to broaden my knowledge and enhance my skills, so I can make a difference.

My project is going to be on the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous species and its impact on water bodies in Hawaii.

Invasive species are species that are not indigenous to Hawaii and are harmful to the environment, economy and human health. Species that are non-indigenous to Hawaii and do not cause any harm to the environment, economy or human health are not considered as invasive. After the formation of Hawaiian Island, there were no seeds in the soil, no animals roaming around and then as time went by, the winds, waves and birds somehow transported seeds on to the Island and then things started to grow (considered as native Hawaiian plants). The first invasive species came to the island with the Polynesians in the year 30 A.D. As people continued to migrate, they brought all sorts of different animals and plants that were aggressive within the Hawaiian ecosystem, which later became a nuisance on the Island. Some of these species are goats, chicken, Feral pigs, miconia, hook weed, fire tree, fireweed e.t.c. The reason why these alien species thrive in this environment is because the native plants lack defence mechanisms that some of their cousin plants have in different parts of the world and as for the animals, they are no predators on the Island to keep them in check.  This was the major reason I chose Hawaii because of its wide variety of non-indigenous species.

O and as you can tell from the pictures above, the Island is very beautiful. Even better when you see them in person. I wished there where some type of bridge or tunnel that was connecting all the islands though, because to get to each different Island you would have to fly.