Molokai Group Awarded for Highway Cleanups
By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor
A group of Molokai residents were honored for their exemplary public service in picking up debris from the highway. The Kawela Plantation Homeowners’ Association was recently named the recipient of the No Ka Oi Highway Hui Award, a program of the State of Hawaii, Department of Transportation Highways Division, Maui District. The award recognizes Adopt-A-Highway groups for their environmental volunteerism.
The Homeowners’ Association is comprised of nearly 200 full- and part-time residents. They committed to cleaning a two-mile segment along Kamehameha V Highway and have organized a cleanup every few months. With an average 10 volunteers, they pick up about 20 bags of rubbish each time, according to a press release.
“We are truly appreciative of being recognized for our efforts,” said Maureen Whittemore, general manager of the Kawela Plantation Homeowners’ Association. “We understand that it is our kuleana to take care of the land and the ocean. Trash is harmful to our environment; if trash is blowing around on the land, it most likely will end up in the ocean, harming all that live there.”
Ty Fukuroku, program manager of Maui District’s Environmental Management, said he appreciates their efforts.
“We sincerely appreciate the Kawela Plantation Homeowners’ Association’s commitment not just to the Adopt-A-Highway Program but ultimately, to Molokai’s environment,” said Fukuroku in a press release. “And not just to doing volunteer work but to making each cleanup an educational opportunity as well.”
Whittemore said the association’s Adopt-A-Highway group includes Kawela Plantation homeowners as well as staff members, and they strive to make each event fun and educational.
“We always share photos and fun facts about each Adopt-A-Highway event with our members – things like the strangest piece of trash found, who found the most money ($20 is the highest so far), photos of participants, and how much trash we picked up during the event,” she said. “That keeps it fun and entertaining!”
Organizations can sign up for Adopt-A-Highway by searching for available highway segments at stormwatermaui.com.