The new school year has begun, vastly different from what many of Hawai`i’s families were hoping or expecting. The question I now ask is how can we engage children in the joy of learning and encourage them to engage with their community of peers within their local environment, understanding that they a part of a larger global ecosystem.
Hawai`i is fortunate to have so many organizations committed to the protection and stewardship of our beautiful islands. Non-profit organizations, such as Hui o Ko`olaupoko (HOK), have begun to play a larger and more instrumental role in our school systems by providing opportunities to learn about Hawai`i’s rich natural and cultural history, while acting as stewards of our beautiful ‘āina.
HOK has hosted over 600 educational field opportunities in Ko’olaupoko for hands-on experience learning about water quality and ahupua’a health. HOK has lead school field trips/service days at He’eia Estuary and Kaha Garden. We coordinate workdays that allow student volunteers to participate in local environmental cleanups and/or native plant vegetation. These workdays educate students and volunteers about the mission of HOK, the purpose of the specific restoration project, and actions individuals can take to have a positive effect on improving ahupua’a health.
During these unforeseen circumstances of Covid-19, we have been unable to host these school service days, but HOK is committed to continuing to create connections between windward school students and their ‘āina. Teachers and community organizations continue to collaborate in the best interest of the development and growth of our students and improvement of the communities that surround us.
Over the next year, HOK will be working to improve the watershed learning experience for students by developing and improving our place-based and cultural environmental education materials to complement our field trip and restoration activities at Kaha Park. If you are a teacher or school that is interested in collaborating with us in this endeavor, please reach out so that we can begin this new journey together.
As this new school year begins, I hope that you continue to engage in your community, first in researching and exploring the beautiful spaces that surround us in our everyday life. Explore community issues and organizations that are committed to working towards sustainable solutions to these issues. Finally, reach out and become involved in projects that work towards a stronger community and healthier environment for each one of us.
JOB TITLE: Hui o Ko’olaupoko Executive Director
BENEFITS: starting at .80FTE (32hrs/week) $30/hr, including medical, with opportunity to grow into full-time based on funding availability
LOCATION: Combination of tele-work and field-work
START DATE: October 5, 2020
Hui o Ko’olaupoko (HOK) is looking for a part-time Executive Director to provide overall strategic and operational management to further the organization’s mission of protecting ocean health by restoring the ‘āina: mauka to makai. Candidates should have a strong knowledge of ecosystem and natural resource management, grant writing and fiscal management skills, and an understanding of the cultural and environmental issues affecting the Ko’olaupoko moku. The Executive Director is supported by the current HOK Board of Directors and HOK staff including the Project Director, Outreach Coordinator, part-time Accountant and seasonal interns. Please visit our website to learn more about Hui o Ko’olaupoko http://www.huihawaii.org/
Send a cover letter that details how your experience would allow you to further HOK’s mission as a non-profit organization in the Koʻolaupoko community. Detail the reasons for your interest in the position and how your background corresponds to the position requirements. Application packets must include: a cover letter, resume and a list of references with contact information. Please submit application packets to firstname.lastname@example.org . Position will remain open until filled.
Municipalities such as the City and County of Honolulu are required by federal and state environmental protection laws to effectively manage the City’s storm drainage systems. This ensures compliance with regulatory permits that minimizes the pollution effect of storm water runoff to receiving waters such as streams, rivers, bays and the ocean.
Currently, to manage and maintain these programs and services the City & County government utilizes a budgeted portion of the Real Property Tax revenues paid by residential and business property owners. Federal and state facilities who are non-taxable do not pay these property tax and may not pay for these provided services.
The City is seeking shared financial responsibility of the services.
Under a new proposed plan, which is moving forward in the City & County government a new separate storm, water runoff utility program will be initiated tentatively scheduled to begin in 2022. They are seeking to generate a 40–100 Million dollar fund. This new utility will fund a storm water management program through the Department of Facilities Maintenance (DFM). Real Property Tax revenues would no longer support these services. Current recommendation for the utility will be based on square footage of storm water runoff surface area of a property. The more concrete and impervious surfaces on the property the higher the utility. For the median residential property owner on Oahu, with a property of 3,900 SF, that fee would be between $11.88-$16.19/month. Commercial property owners will be charged significantly more.
How can you learn more about this new tax initiative?
Go to the City and County web site https://www.stormwaterutilityoahu.org/ and learn about the ongoing community meetings, storm water runoff program information, frequently asked questions and more. Stay informed and tell others about this new initiative.
What can you do to reduce your storm water runoff before the new utility is in effect? Learn more about rain gardens, catchment systems, and erosion control low impact development projects here.
By: Jeffery Harris, HOK Board of Directors President
Update: A previous version of this post called the utility fee a tax.
The mission of Hui o Ko`olaupoko is to protect ocean health by restoring the `aina: mauka to makai. This is done in partnership with stakeholders including interested citizens, non-governmental organizations, government, educational institutions and businesses while using and focusing on sound ecological principles, community input, and cultural heritage.