04 Nov Helping Restore Loko Ea’s Hidden Oasis
Nestled on O‘ahu’s North Shore lays a hidden oasis and cultural gem known as Kamehameha School’s Loko Ea fishpond. Steeped in legends, the ancestral site is associated with ancient deities, cultural practices and historical events. Some say the mo‘owahine (female lizard) water guardian Laniwahine protected the area, sometimes appearing as a supernatural fish.
As part of the Kawailoa ahupua‘a and moku land district of Waialua, the area was once famous for its abundance and fertility, helping to sustain the community through bountiful harvests and aquatic food resources like native fish and seaweed.
However over the years, Loko Ea’s landscape changed, becoming overgrown with weeds following development of surrounding areas and lack of conservation and cultural preservation efforts.
Today, Loko Ea fishpond is becoming fully functional thanks to Mālama Loko Ea Fishpond and efforts by volunteers and prominent community leaders like Jack Johnson and John John Florence.
In November, more than 30 Kupu Conservation Leadership Development Program (CLDP) members joined in these volunteer efforts at Loko Ea, with the help of fellow Kupu Conservation Leaders Joslyn Kikala and Mikala “Kala” Regohos Aka. The group not only had an opportunity to learn about ancient fishponds, they also helped construct a kalo aquaponic system in the fishpond and got to enjoy fishing after their hard work. See photos from the service day.
“This service day was such a great opportunity for us to connect our CLDP members with each other and learn about a different conservation site,” said Kupu coordinator Joshua Ching.
Mālama Loko Ea Fishpond often employs Kupu Conservation Leaders to gain hands on experience with anything from weed control and fishpond maintenance to community outreach and events. The organization continues to host community work days, movie nights, local cooking shows and next year’s inaugural 8K Fun Run. For more information about the organization visit www.lokoea.org, or to learn more about Kupu internship program opportunities at Loko Ea and similar partner sites, visit www.kupuhawaii.org/conservation/.