Lāna‘i ‘Ōhi‘a Seed Collecting Trip: 2022 August 17–19

Emmely Felipe collecting ‘ohi‘a lehua seeds

Maui Nui Botanical Gardens staff and volunteers; Tamara Sherrill, Cathy Davenport, Emmely Felipe, Jennifer Higashino, and Bob and Doreen Hobdy spent a couple of days on Lāna‘i working alongside Kari Bogner and Jon Sprague of Pūlama Lāna‘i to collect ‘Ōhi‘a seeds for the ROD (Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death) Resistance Project.

Our first day, we flew over with Mokulele Airlines. I’ve never flown to Lāna‘i, only rode Expeditions Maui-Lāna‘ i Ferry, so it was a wild experience for me! We got our Jeep rental, settled at our housing, shopped at the little market for our food at Richard’s and had our lunch at The Views Four Seasons.

In the afternoon, we held an ‘Ōhi‘a seed collection training workshop via zoom by Marian Chau (Kalehua Seed Conservation Consulting) at the baseyard office teaching some of the Pūlama folks and community members. We overviewed the different taxa of ‘Ōhi‘a; Lāna‘i has only 4 of the 14 types of ‘Ōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha var. glaberrima, Metrosideros polymorpha var. incana, Metrosideros polymorpha var. polymorpha and Metrosideros waialealae var. faurei), learned how to identify the leaves using the dichotomous key, looked at the different seed zones, how to collect the data using Kobo toolbox and how to collect the seeds. After, we drove to Kānepu‘u to one of the TNC (The Nature Conservancy) enclosures exploring the precious dryland forest, seeing beautiful plants such as Olopua, ‘Ohe Makai, Lama, Naio, Keahi and ‘A‘ali‘i. Then we went to dinner at Pele’s Other Garden.

Our second day, we started off doing a brief overview training of our collection kits before we got into the field. This big ānuenue appeared as we were getting ready to head to our first collection location at Waiapa’a known as “Second Bench”. As we were heading down the road, we stopped by to see a massive Wiliwili growing in the gulch. We went back down to the basin to drive up to Munro trail to head to Puhi‘elelu and do more collections. As we finished, the ua started to bless us for a short while. Then we visited the Kāhuli enclosure but didn’t see any at the time. We then drove back to Kānepu‘u to do another collection and visit the Kupuna trees of Lama, Keahi, Naio, ‘Ōhi‘a and the amazing pohaku landscape. We then had dinner at Lāna‘i Grill and Bar with the Pūlama folks, listening to some solid mele from Dale Kapua and seeing some of my ‘Ohana.

A new variety of ‘ōhi‘a lehua confirmed to be on Lāna’i on the trip

On our last day, Jennifer and I walked through the city from our housing to the base yard, admiring everyone’s cute little hale and gardens. We drove straight up to Lāna‘i Hale; of all the times I’ve visited the island, this was my first time being up there! We stopped by another Kāhuli enclosure and saw one bebeh snail (Partulina semicarinata). Since it was my first time up mauka on the island, I felt like I had to walk most of the way but drive some too. There such an array of biodiversity of ‘Ōhi‘a, Māmaki, ‘Akia, ‘Ama‘u, Kolea, Olopua, Kopiko, Pūkiawe, Kanawao, Hāhā, Loulu, Uki, Wawaiole & Maile. Had our lunch, then drove to Maunalei lookout listening to the mo‘olelo of the Ahupua‘a. We ended up stopping off at the graveyard to visit my Papa and then went to my Mama’s house to talk story/show pictures of what I’ve been doing on the island. Before we left, Kari Bogner showed us the nursery of the plants she’s been growing for future outplantings.

MNBG and Pūlama Lāna’i team scouting a gulch full
of ‘ōhi‘a lehua.

I’m grateful for experiences like this where I can continue to gain new ‘ike and mana‘o from an amazing group of conservation professionals. Beyond blessed to have kuleana on this island and growing my knowledge and skills of Nā mea kanu o Hawai‘i. At the highest point of the island at 3,379 feet elevation, as Aunty Doreen sang a mele; glimpses of fond memories of all the places i’ve been to on Lāna‘i with my ‘ohana & friends weather it was in town, fishing or to holoholo around, everything just came pouring through my head, and that; that is when I’ve felt & seen the true beauty of Lāna‘i.

Mahalo e Pūlama Lāna‘i; Kari Bogner & Jon Sprague,
Maui Nui Botanical Gardens; Tamara Sherrill,
Cathy Davenport, Jennifer Higashino,
Bob & Doreen Hobdy.
Mahalo e Lāna‘i

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