Kaho'olawe is a small island off the coast of Maui that many people outside of Hawaii rarely know or hear about. Why is this place so special and why are we going? Well read on to find out.
Kaho'olawe is the smallest island in the Hawaiian chain. Prior to Hawaii's statehood this island was mainly used for ranching and very few people resided on the island. After the surprise attach on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces the Hawaiian Islands were placed under martial law. The island of Kaho'olawe was taken under U.S. Army control and used for military training during WWII.
However, even after WWII Kaho'olawe was still being used as a military training site. I was told at orientation that the military used every weapon imaginable on the island with the exception of bio and nuclear weapons. It wasn't until January 1995 that the island was officially released from federal jurisdiction to the State of Hawaii.
A group known as the Protect Kaho'olawe Ohana (family) played a primary role in stopping the military use of the island. Since its release from federal jurisdiction PKO has been working hard to restore and preserve what's left of the island. Years and years of military training have left the island absolutely devastated, there are no words to describe how bad it is.
Reasons For Going
I am going to Kaho'olawe as a chaperone. I work for Mililani High School and I was asked by my former mentor to go in her place. There are 14 of us going - 3 adults and 11 students. We will be spending 3 nights and 4 days on the island learning about its history and topography, about methods and measures being taken to preserve the land, and about the Hawaiian culture. This opportunity has been made available to us through the PKO group. They have granted us access to the island and will serve as our guide through this journey. This is what makes this experience so unique and special, very few people will ever get this opportunity.
For more information go to the PKO website: http://www.kahoolawe.org/home/