Kahoolawe agency seeks
State experts will deliver speeches tomorrow about plans for the former military target island of Kahoolawe, including their efforts to recruit volunteers for its restoration.
Officials with the state Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission will discuss "The Healing of Kahoolawe" at 7 p.m. at the Queen Emma Summer Palace in Nuuanu. The talks are sponsored by the nonprofit group Aha Hui Malama i ka Lokahi.
Commission restoration manager Lyman Abbott, who will be one of the speakers, said volunteers have been helping to plant native species near the summit of the island to reduce wind and soil erosion.
Abbott said that under a state grant, the commission receives up to $388,000 for the planting project, provided volunteers contribute a certain number of hours.
He said the volunteers have contributed 10,230 hours of work so far, about half the number necessary to receive the full grant.
Under a 1993 state law, Kahoolawe has been designated as a cultural reserve and will eventually be turned over to a native Hawaiian sovereign entity recognized by the state and federal governments.
The Navy halted practice bombing in 1990, after 50 years, and returned Kahoolawe to the state in 1994.
Navy officials finished a partial clearance of military ordnance last November.
Abbott said volunteers have included college and high school students from a number of schools, such as the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Maryknoll High School.
He said the commission picks up volunteers at Kahului Airport on Maui and transports them by helicopter to the island.
The commission provides room and board during the work, usually about 10 hours a day for three to four days.
People interested in volunteering may call Abbott on Maui, 808-243-5884.