This week, Malama Maunalua, a community group dedicated to preserving the Maunalua region in southeast O'ahu, was recognized for its conservation efforts that incorporate konohiki principles.
The group was presented with The Nature Conservancy's Kako'o 'Aina Award, established in 2005 to honor community members who have provided significant and long-standing support for conservation in the islands.
"Malama Maunalua is arguably the most successful community-based conservation effort we have seen in Hawai'i," said Suzanne Case, executive director of The Nature Conservancy of Hawai'i. "The group's ability to garner community support has been remarkable."
Since Malama Maunalua created the Maulana Makai Watch program in 2007, over 30 volunteers have been trained to monitor fish populations and human use of the bay. The volunteers, who have put in hundreds of working hours throughout the year, have also participated in alien algae and beach cleanups.
The watch focuses on raising awareness by training community members to educate the public on the area's local history, culture, rules, plants and animals, and threats facing Maunalua bay.
Maunalua Bay stretches over seven miles of beach from Portlock to Black Point.
"Malama Maunalua is a partnership of residents, community and conservation groups, and public agancies collaborating across jurisdictions," co-founder Carol Wilcox said. "What we share is our love of this place, and the formal recognition that there is this integral connection between the land and the sea. If we want to protect our ocean and coral reefs, it's got to start with the land."
For more information and to volunteer, contact Maunalua Makai Watch coordinator Lance La Pierre at (808) 282-4611 and visit malamamaunalua.org.