8 youths working at conservation sites

Kupu’s Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps Summer program Maui team hikes through Waikamoi Preserve to learn about and help restore the area’s natural resources. Shown from left to right: Elijah Mersberg-Soares (bottom left), Melena Bechert, Eryn Wolfe, Melika Orta, Christopher Chow, and John-Roy Miranda. -- CHRISTOPHER CHOW photo

Kupu recently kicked off its 2018 Hawai’i Youth Conservation Corps Summer program with an awards ceremony luncheon and career and education expo during the 2018 Kupu Environmental Fair at Aloha Tower Marketplace. Eight youths from Maui joined other program participants from across the state.

Program participants headed back to their respective islands after the Environmental Fair, and started working at local conservation sites in their communities.

Over the remaining six weeks of Kupu’s Hawai’i Youth Conservation Corps Summer program, participants will hike and sometimes camp at remote locations like rainforests, coastal areas, loko i’a (fishponds) or lo’i (taro fields), like Waikamoi Preserve and Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge.

Each participant will dedicate up to 300 service hours this summer, removing invasive species, restoring native ecosystems and improving trails, while learning about endangered and invasive species, cultural protocol and background for each conservation and historic site.

Upon completing the program, participants will also receive monetary education and service awards to use for higher education.

For more information about the program and other free conservation programs on Maui, visit www.kupuhawaii.org/programs/.