Peace Corps volunteers and local businesses share Aloha at UH Hilo Library

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Date: Thursday, July 28, 2005
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Fourteen Peace Corps volunteers and three local businesses joined forces and dedicated their time and materials recently to help the University of Hawaii at Hilo Mookini Library become a more beautiful environment in which to learn and study.

The project involved landscaping two atrium areas of the Mookini Library commonly referred to as “the pits” because of its unattractiveness. The project took approximately six hours and included repotting and positioning plants in the atrium areas to create a setting for students to enjoy while reading and studying on the first floor of the Mookini Library.

Special plants were selected to accommodate the low lighting available in the atriums; plants were also selected based upon their ability to grow and provide natural scenery for the second and third floors of the Mookini Library.

Planning for the landscaping project began approximately one year ago when Ms. JoAnna Allen from the Peace Corps contacted Dr. Linda Marie Golian-Lui, university librarian, about a possible volunteer project that could be completed in a day.

“Ms. Allen explained to me that 2005 was a very special 40th reunion celebration for many of the Peace Corps volunteers who received their initial Peace Corps training in Hilo,” Golian-Lui said. “In the true spirit of the Peace Corps, members attending the 40th reunion wanted to do a community project that would be appreciated by the local community and the UH Hilo campus.”

The volunteers participating in the atrium garden project were: Laird Graeser; Chris Graeser; Ellin Doyle; Gary Pokorny; Roger Newell; Mary Anne Newell; Nicki Bibbo; Mary B. Warner; Ellen Beeler; Sharon Armstrong; Dave Armstrong; Fred M. Arnold; Jessica Bibbo; and David Warner.

The Mookini Library partnered with the UH Foundation and with Mr. Harvey Tajiri, former Hawai`i State Representative and Board of Regents member, to create a landscaping plan and to procure donations from the local community to landscape the two atrium areas. Over $4,000 worth of plants were donated and delivered by Mr. Raymond Tanouye of Mountain Meadows. In addition, Dr. Wayne Nishijima provided a significant donation of cinders and rocks from the Hilo’s Cooperative Extension Service of UH Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Dr. Bill Sakai, interim dean of UH Hilo’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Management, donated potting soil. Other individuals and companies providing donations to make the project possible were Tajiri, Farmers’ Exchange, and Nursery Things, Inc.

“Although some final landscaping is still needed to complete the project, the atrium areas of the Mookini Library have been transformed into beautiful palm and fern gardens that help enhance the learning environment for all users. Members of the local community and all UH Hilo and HawCC faculty and students are encouraged to come and see the improvements,” Golian-Lui said.

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