Lāna‛i Limu Restoration Project

Mentors: Cheryl Ka‘aiokamalie and Wally Ito

STEM Fields: Environmental Science, Restoration Ecology, Sustainable Agriculture

Internship Research Goal: (1) help restore native algae (edible seaweed, called limu) to the natural habitat; (2) research native species propagation in the reef and on land in tanks, and; (3) help provide a sustainable food source for the local community.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lanai-Limu-Restoration-Project-149271671761493

Lanai Limu Logo

About the Lāna‛i Limu Restoration Project (LLRP):

The ultimate goal of the LLRP is to re-establish healthy limu to the reef on the north shore of Lāna‛i where it once was abundant. Creating a self-sustaining limu population, in tanks on land and in cages in the reef, are immediate objectives to achieving this goal, as is inspiring the community members and students of Lāna‛i to learn about the importance of limu and to protect it.

Since 2009, volunteers have attempted to grow limu in various trials: in aquariums at school, in backyard barrels and tanks, and in cages in the reef. Limu is sensitive to many variables, and some experiments have been successful, but more research is needed to achieve the project goals. 

Attracting community members also has been successful at times, resulting in fun gatherings of 50 or more people, from Lāna‛i and other limu hui members from around the state. All share a deep appreciation of the ocean and a desire to preserve limu, a humble but vital part of Hawai‘i’s natural marine resources.

Headshot of person outdoorsMeet Our Internship Mentors:

Auntie Cheryl Ka‘aiokamalie was born and raised on Lāna‛i. Her family name translates as “the calm of the ocean” and, like her father Allen who started the Lāna‛i Limu Restoration Project, she loves the island’s beach and reef. Her dad’s stories of copious limu growing here continue to inspire her to bring limu back to this part of the ‘aina and sustain it for future generations.

Headshot of person Uncle Wally Ito has worked for more than a decade in limu education and restoration. He is part of a larger effort to educate the local community about its importance. He and other community leaders succeeded in having limu recognized statewide, when Governor Ige signed a proclamation in January designating 2022 as year of the limu. Uncle Wally grows many limu types at a Sand Island research facility on O‘ahu, but he loves to visit Lāna‛i as often as possible and is eager to work with student interns who share his passion for limu research.

Internship duties and responsibilities

Students will engage in scientific research (propagating limu), data collection (water sampling and measuring limu growth), and physical work (helping to manage the beachside limu site). There will also be opportunities for community engagement with local families, science educators and cultural experts to ensure that all project activities address community needs while also accomplishing the overall goals of the LLRP.

Interns should be comfortable with and able to:

  • Work on a team
  • Communicate with others
  • Get wet and dirty
  • Work with their hands
  • Work outdoors on the beach and, if desired, in the ocean
  • Wear appropriate reef footwear needed and sun protection (hat, glasses, sleeves, lotion)
  • Walk in the water on the seafloor (coral, mud, sand) up to hip height (optional)
  • Follow all safety procedures provided by mentors for all land and water activities

Tentative Summer Internship Schedule:

2023 Internship Schedule* 

  • 2023 Spring: Spring Break, March 2023 – to be determined
  • 2023 Summer: Summer Break, June-July 2023 – to be determined
    • This internship will occur weekly (2-8 hours per day) over no more than 6 consecutive weeks in June and July. Students will come to the worksite on a schedule agreed upon in advance. The exact meeting times may vary depending on special activities scheduled for that day

*Schedules are tentative and are subject to change. Interns will be required to work 8 hours in the Spring 2022. Interns will be required to work 40 hours in the Summer 2022. 

Internship Meeting Locations:

LLRP City Sites
Lāna‛i High School and
Auntie Cheryl’s yard on Fraser St.
near 3rd Avenue

Lanai Limu Restoration Site
Near Pōhakupili (White Stone) on
Lāna‛i’s north coast (20 degrees
53.7 north by 156 degrees 52.4
degrees west)

Map to Lanai Limu Site