Nothing stopping us now!

Seminar 7 Day 3 – Oah‘u

When you start the day with a fallen tree in the road blocking your way, it might not be a good sign.

But we’re ag leaders and nothing stops us!  Tyler made quick work on clearing the tree so that we could start our meeting at the Hawai’i Agricultural Research Center’s substation in Maunawili.

We began with presentations by Ashley and Sydney on UH’s CTAHR program and Kamehameha School’s strategic plan on managing agricultural and conservation land assets, respectively. Then we quickly launched into the “leadership panel” that Peter Adler assembled. Joan Husted, Robbie Alm, Russell Kokubun, and Diane Ley participated in a fascinating free-form discussion covering topics including when their leadership was tested. We were enthralled by their wisdom and experience for nearly two hours! Mahalo nui loa to our panel for spending their morning with us to give us great advice as we advance our leadership skills.

After the discussion, Tyler led the group on a short tour of the research station’s nursery. (Sorry, no photos for now but they will be added later.)

After lunch, we departed the rain forest of Maunawili to the verdant fishpond in He’eia. We met with Hi’ilei Kawelo, Executive Director of the non-profit Paepae o He’eia. She has been with the organization for 15 years and has taken part in nearly every aspect of the work of the organization, which focuses on restoration of the fishpond, education, and social enterprise (selling products grown in the fishpond). We learned so much in a brief period of time from this fantastic young leader.

We then took a quick jaunt up mauka to see one of Hi’ilei’s “partners in crime,” Rick Barboza, who co-runs the Hui Kū Maoli Ola native plant nursery. We were impressed with the expansive nursery filled with 160 species of native plants, including several that are endangered. The plants ranged from tiny seedlings to large trees. Rick’s company has expanded services to include landscaping, plant rentals and event planning — all featuring Hawaii’s beautiful native plants.

We also visited the non-profit arm of Hui Kū, which is Papahana Kuaola, an environmental education organization. This group reaches more than 30,000 school children every year on programs that allow students to learn in-depth background on Hawaii’s natural history as well as to get their hands and feet in the ʻāina. One thing’s for sure, it is beautiful back there, thanks to the hard work of the staff and Mother Nature.

Finally, we ended our day with what has become a tradition with the class, a group dinner where we cook and eat together. This time we went to Sydney’s lovely home in Kāne’ohe and prepared food grown by O’ahu’s farmers and sourced by O’ahu Fresh. We were happy to have some of our “significant others” join us.

What a lovely day! And to think we started with that fallen tree. No problem!

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