31 Jul IN THE FIELD | My Experience at Kupu Kōkua Camp
By Orion Pongklub
Kupu Kōkua Camp is a two-week hands-on camp where you get to learn about the environment. You get to help out O‘ahu by cleaning it up, and in return, you get to see native and indigenous birds, go on fun hikes, and see cool plants. You also get to remove invasive plants and replace them with native ones. It is an extremely fun experience, and it is the most fun camp I’ve ever participated in.
My mom found out about the camp in the newspaper, and I figured why not. I expected it to be like other camps where you just learn about stuff in a classroom, but instead it was very interactive and I really liked that.
On my first day, I was feeling excited. I was ready to have fun and meet some new kids. I also had a lot of fun on the group car rides we went on.
Each day, we visited a different site. My favorite place we went to was Makapu’u Beach because I really like the waves in the ocean. I enjoyed hiking the Aiea Loop Trail, as well as walking to an off-shore island where we did a trash cleanup. I also really enjoyed camping at Peacock Flats and hiking in the Pahole Reserve.
With the knowledge I’ve gained, I can use it to help get rid of invasive plants. I can also spread the knowledge so other people can help get rid of invasive plants as well. Hopefully they spread the knowledge on and on so more and more people know how to identify and eradicate invasive plants that they see.
The most shocking thing I learned was that Strawberry Guava is invasive. I see it everywhere on hiking trails, and I always thought it was native. I’m glad I learned that it was invasive because now I can identify it. This means I can spread the knowledge so more and more people know about it and they can do something, too.
All in all, I think Kupu Kōkua Camp is a really fun camp and is a great experience. It is very educational and very fun. I think that anyone who likes the outdoors should participate in this camp. I think that everyone who participates in this camp will learn a lot, benefit tremendously, and will have plenty of fun.
Orion Pongklub, 14, was a participant in this year’s Kupu Kōkua Camp, a two-week long program held in the summer that engages keiki ages 12-17 in outdoor exploration.