HOK was honored to be part of a rain garden training and build in the Fagaʻalu Watershed in American Samoa from August 21-28. The project was a demonstration at the local beach park for NOAA's Coral Reef Priority Area. HOK was brought in for our expertise in constructing rain gardens, conduction rain garden training, coordinating community dynamics and our history working in tropical watersheds.
Prior to the build, HOK was asked to present to village mayors, chiefs and government officials about watershed health and the benefits of rain gardens. Following this meeting, many of these folks returned on Tuesday for a 3-hour training on rain garden construction. On the day of the build we were blessed with wonderful community volunteers, a traditional Samoan blessing, donated plants and clear skies. The 30 plus participants learned how to level a rain garden, proper construction to get water into and out of an overflowing rain garden, berm construction and planting techniques.
Our week ended with an invite from three village mayors to tour their watersheds and identify opportunities to install more rain gardens. Much was learned in 7 days; it was a true honor to have gained this experience, taught interested watershed advocates a new tool for protecting ocean resources and to have traveled to the Southern Hemisphere to protect ocean health.
A big mahalo to Rich Claytor and Anne Kitchell of the Horsely Witten Group in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Susie Holst of NOAA and Meagan Curtis of the Coral Reef Advisory Group, and all of our new friends in American Samoa-HOK hopes to visit again soon!
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.