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Airman Shares Environmental Passion, Leads Conservation Project

July 18, 2021

From the Air National Guard website

Hawaii Air National Guard photograph

Genesaret was in a bit of a ‘rut’ the first time she climbed Mount Kaala, the highest point on the island of Oahu. Harsh weather conditions struck the mountain from the East, making it unsafe for her and her friends to scale down the scenic ridgeline on the other side.

Nature, proving to be mysterious and unpredictable as usual, was exactly what she came out to experience and spending extra time at the marshy peak to gather her thoughts was hardly a setback for the crew of teenaged hiking enthusiasts.

Nearby, Genesaret spotted a group of people pulling heaps of grass from the earth and decided to inquire about their landscaping efforts.

“They were a volunteer group pulling this really invasive grass that flourishes in swampy areas,” said Genesaret Balladares, who is now an Airman 1st Class in the 154th Security Forces Squadron. “We’re like ‘do you guys need help? We actually have some spare time cause we’re not going to do this ridge hike.’ They said yes and ended up teaching us all about the mountain and why preservation efforts like this are so important.”

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