I really enjoyed our last half-day community service project, helping to clear invasive mangrove trees at a fish pond in Kaneohe Bay. For this month’s project we stayed in the East Oahu area and helped Niu Valley Middle School with a campus cleanup project. About a dozen of my fellow rotarians turned up early this past Saturday to pitch in and help!

Pitchforks, rakes, wheelbarrows, and good old-fashioned human power were our tools today (photo credit: Ryan Kawamoto)

Unlike our last clean up project, this time around we were not tasked with cutting down any of the vegetation we were here to clear out. Niu Valley’s staff had come through earlier and cut down small trees and a lot of tall California grass. It was now our task to load up the debris and move it into a big industrial sized rolloff container.

For four hours my fellow rotarians along with other volunteers cleared wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of branches and grass. The work was actually quite tiring, with the morning sun beating straight down on us with very little shade. When we first started tackling the small hillside, it felt like we weren’t making much of a dent. But once the rolloff container was filled, our volunteers pushed further and continued to compress the debris, making room for more. We eventually filled the container to full capacity, leaving the hillside cleared and free of chopped up branches.

Our spirits were high at the end of the morning, despite tired limbs and a few cuts/scrapes (photo credit: Ryan Kawamoto)