For those of you interested in United States military history, this was the very first place bombed on December 7, 1941 just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Brave Marines and Navy personnel gave their lives here and fought valiantly.........And long before this battle, Mokapu was a most sacred place in Hawaiian creation story.......It was here that the first man was created (See works of Mary Kawena Pukui to learn more of this history tied to the creation of Pihemanu and all the islands.)
Books could also be written to tell the incredible history of how Mokapu and Marine Corps Base Hawaii is becoming a world leader in turning an entire community Green. As a very small part of this much larger effort, The Cougar Fund and the Marine Corps Family allowed me to work with artist and gifted teacher, Michelle Kaskovich. Michelle and her fellow marines, parents, teachers, and super staff at Mokapu School teamed together to create a working environment like no other. As a hint of things to come, where else could you tell the story of a cougar while young artists paint a life size whale on the school grounds to the tunes strummed on a unkulele by a young Kai Kane (ocean guy)?
We brought the wonder of Mokapu and Eddie, two Cougars (aka Puma and Mountain Lion) into the lives of kids who have family in Afghanistan and Iraq. They had fun and learned while they helped continue a story begun in Rhode Island and Breidablik, Washington. It is a story you will soon read and enjoy through sight and sound and writings of kids sharing how they see their world from Mountain Top to flowing rivers, and beyond to the much broader and vast waters of our one ocean.
It seems that Mokapu has many meanings, many faces and our little Mokapu the Cougar fell snout over paws for a surfing Cougar by the name of Eddie. They must have met at Brown University in RI or over a bowl of chowder and some stuffies at Duffy's. No matter. They parted company briefly and Eddie hopped a tramp steamer or a schooner and headed south, then west and north to meet up with his buddy Fred and Fred's many other friends (FOF). Moli the Wandering Albatross was one of these FOF's and according to some kids, Moli spotted Eddie surfing after his boat ride ended after a confrontation with pirates.
Hard to follow? Stay tuned and the kids will take over and allow you to enter the magical world where no one dies, where no one cries - the land of make believe. Okay, our funding partners also asked that kids teach us some science and ecology too, so you will soon see how kids have been teaching "Art and Ecology" with Cougars as icons representing the entire Mainland and many FOF's representing ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, estuaries, and, of course, the OCEAN.
Funny how this all came together and if you are lucky to meet up with Fred and his buddies, you will soon find out that Cougars are vital for the survival of all life, just as sea turtles and salmon are critical for aquatic systems to function. More importantly, you ought to take the time to ask kids from Rhode Island, Ohio, Washington, Wyoming, Oahu, Australia, South Africa, Great Britain, and many other places --- "Mokapu, Mokapu, Where are You?".........the sometimes silly, but always sacred trust we put in our children shines in this gentle story that combines creativity of many people. And, the special thanks to the US Marine Corps, the Parents of Mokapu Students, The Cougar Fund, and a tiny non-profit known as POP - Pals of the Pacific. POP is now home of Friends of Fred and busy as it might be, takes the time to think and act locally and globally on behalf of all creatures and their home, planet earth.
Marrowstone Island, Springtime 2010