Volunteers at Diamond Head State Monument Restoring the Native Landscape

Diamond Head State Monument

Yara Lamadrid-Rose, Park Coordinator at Diamond Head State Monument, State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of State Parks; Cassandra Springer and Paul Santiago, Kupu Interns at Diamond Head State Monument

Diamond Head State Monument is a unique semi-wilderness landscape in urban Honolulu. The crater park and the exterior slopes of Diamond Head are covered with many invasive (quickly spreading non-native plants that have a harmful impact to the native landscape) plant species.

The Division of State Parks (DSP) is fortunate to work with dedicated volunteers who donate their time and sweat to improve the landscape both in the Diamond Head crater park, and the Fort Ruger Pathway along the exterior slopes of Diamond Head. DSP has long-standing relationships with organizations whose volunteers have worked over many years to propagate native plants, outplant these plants at Diamond Head, and ensure their survival by removing invasive plant species.

Kupu: Kupu interns have been the backbone of restoring the native landscape in Diamond Head for the past 10 years. DSP partners with Kupu for year-round interns who work at Diamond Head to propagate dryland native plants, and, use these plants in native plant gardens at the park. These Kupu interns also provide interpretation to park visitors, outreach to schools and community groups, and lead the volunteer programs at Diamond Head.

Kapiolani Community College (KCC), Service-Learning Program: DSP has partnered with KCC’s Service-Learning Program student volunteers for almost 20 years. These KCC students, from a variety of classes, are required to give back to the surrounding community. These Service-Learning volunteers provide service by removing invasive plant species in the park, as well as learning about Hawaiian native plants and the natural resources at Diamond Head.

First Saturday Volunteer Days: Every first Saturday of the month, DSP hosts volunteers at Diamond Head for a variety of projects. Both groups and individuals volunteer for “First Saturdays.” A group from the U. S. Navy has volunteered for these “First Saturdays,” monthly for over 6 months. Their committed and hard work has resulted in significant improvements to the native Hawaiian Plant gardens both in the crater, and along the Fort Ruger Pathway.

In addition to these dedicated volunteers and groups, DSP works with other volunteer groups that have Service Agreements (longer term, 5 – 10 years) or Adopt-A-Park Agreements (1 year term). These include the Diamond Head State Monument Foundation, Soka Gakkai International-USA, Stevens World Peace Foundation, and the Makalei Place Community Association.

If you or your organization would like information on how to volunteer at Diamond Head State Monument through the DLNR/Hawaii State Parks volunteer website: dlnr.ivolunteer.com.

Photo Credit: Division of State Parks.

Kupu Volunteers Paint Helipad: 7-2018. The helipad near the summit is used by the Honolulu Fire Department for emergency visitor rescues at Diamond Head State Monument. Repainting the “H” for the helipad helps the emergency response team land safely. Kupu’s Hawaii Youth Conservation Camp (HYCC) Summer program volunteers also worked with DSP staff on projects within the park.