By Estefania Magdalena | Staff Writer
The KCC Ecology Club is one of the busiest on campus and has one of the longest histories, according to Keanu Rochette, president of the club. It was founded approximately 11 years ago, and since then, the members have carried out educational activities in contact with nature for learning.
Rochette, an Environmental Science major and club president, said that among the activities the club does are walking, taking service trips, having fun and learning. Most importantly, the knowledge that its members gain through experience is passed on to others in the community.
This semester, due to the risks related to the coronavirus, all face-to-face meetings have been suspended until indefinite time and also all kinds of outdoor group activities. But the club is still hopeful that it can maintain an interest and hit the ground running next semester.
“I am not planning on doing any meeting until next semester,” Rochette said, “but if anything arises, everyone will be notified through our Laulima announcements.”
But Ecology Club is still an outlet to engage students with the community and discover these things they don’t learn at home, have fun and learn through experience, said James Lee, the club’s vice president. It also aims as a club now is also to educate people about Hawaii’s ecosystems.
“It is an important factor that Hawaiʻi has started to lose bird species due to global warming,” said Lee, who studies Natural Sciences and Ecology.
One of the hikes members of the club always do is the one at Kaʻena Point on the North Shore to observe and analyze the different fauna and flora there.
Every semester the club organizes a service trip to the Hakalau National Refuge on the Big Island in which a group of nine students and a faculty advisor travel to study the Hawai’i rain forest. Student Congress funds air travel and food. During this trip the members of the club study the plants, and animals of the Refugee, and they remove invasive plants and plant native ones in those areas.
“It is a unique experience because not everyone has the ability to go there,” Rochette said. “Students find their professional path through this journey.”
This spring’s trip to the Big Island was cancelled due to Covid-19.
“It is sad we had arranged a trip to Big Island but it had to be suspended due to coronavirus-related problems” Rochette said. “Most of the events (if not all) are outdoors, so it is currently not an option to encourage students to go outside. As for the meetings, all UH campuses have decided to go online and we don’t want to overwhelm students with more information than they already receive from their professors.”
Ecology Club currently has 15 active members and around 40 members in total; everyone is welcome to join because the purpose is to learn, and there is no fee to join.
The club is dedicated to raising funds every beginning of the year and to achieve this, it sells calendars, stickers, and T-shirts and receives some donations from people.
“When we plant trees, we ask people to donate $1 to plant the tree in their name,” Rochette said. “Most of the trees are planted in the refuge on the Big Island.”
For more information, email Rochette at firstname.lastname@example.org or faculty advisor Wendy Kuntz at email@example.com.