Story and photo by Joseph Bonfiglio
Honolulu District Public Affairs, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
FORT SHAFTER — More than 60 volunteers scoured Fort DeRussy in Waikiki, picking up trash and installing storm drain markers as part of National Public Lands Day, Sept. 29.
The Corps of Engineers’ Regional Visitor Center, or RVC, coordinated the event, which was supported by Corps employees, Iolani School’s Brownie Troop 276 and Punahou Junior ROTC cadets.
“We’ve got about 22 students out here today, all engaged in a great effort to help the environment,” said Lt. Col. Robert Takao, JROTC commander at Punahou High School. “We’re really pleased with what they do.”
Punahou cadets concentrated their efforts on cleaning up the beach berm behind historic Battery Randolph.
“We’ve been doing this for the last five or six years, and we always get willing volunteers. It’s never hard to get the cadets to come out because they realize how good it is for our world to do things like this. I’m really proud of them,” Takao said.
“It’s been a wonderful partnership working with the Army Garrison and the Corps of Engineers … with Angela (Jones, RVC park ranger) and the staff here. The kids really enjoy the atmosphere and the fellowship of doing something like this together that’s meaningful,” added Takao. “It’s one of our highlights every year.”
During NPLD, Brownie Troop 276, out of the East Honolulu Service Unit Scout Troop, joined in the activities by picking up litter and installing storm drain markers throughout the Fort DeRussy area. Their participation was coordinated by Brownie troop leader and Honolulu District project manager Nani Shimabuku.
“I’m very proud of what our girls are doing here today. They’re not just learning about protecting the environment; they’re actually doing something to make a difference,” Shimabuku said. “They especially enjoyed installing the storm drain markers. They really feel good about it.”
The drain markers remind people to dump no waste since the water drains to the ocean.
All the volunteers picked up more than 12 bags of trash, which was safely removed from the area.
National Public Lands Day
NPLD is the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the U.S. It began in 1994 and focuses on education and partnerships to care for the nation’s natural treasures.