We would like to recognize Char Schulenburg of Aloha Aku Inn & Suites for her diligent and continuous efforts to mālama Lā‘ie wetlands.
Over the years, Char has been the watchdog for this natural habitat in Kihei, playing a crucial role not only in identifying litter and invasive plant issues as they arise, but also in taking quick action to resolve them.
From maintaining the public trash cans to large-scale litter removal to most recently the overgrowth of invasive water lettuce, Char has volunteered her own time as well as supplied labor and resources to making sure this public space has the opportunity to thrive.
In one week’s time, the collaborative effort between Char’s crew, and MMN staff and volunteers resulted in the removal of over 11,000 pounds of water lettuce, essentially clearing all that was present mauka to makai. This will allow the native plants to grow unabated, and will restore the appropriate living conditions for the fish and water fowl that make Lā‘ie their home.
Photo collage: (left) MMN staff and volunteers load out the water lettuce collected by Char’s crew earlier in the week; (top right) Lā‘ie with the drying water lettuce collected on the banks prior to off-site removal; (bottom right) piles of water lettuce ready to be loaded onto MMN’s truck.
“I am blessed to be in a position to give to the Aina [sic]. It called me to live in this place that is directly adjacent to the La‘ie wetlands. It is one of the last natural waterways in Kihei, we all need to care for it.”
Like many of Hawai‘i’s sensitive ecological areas, Lā‘ie is a place that needs continuous attention and care in order to thrive. People like Char give our natural resources the opportunity to grow strong and resilient, and we applaud her efforts and thank her for sharing her aloha ‘āina in such an instrumental way!