Lili`uokalani Gardens in Hilo, a beloved 5 acre traditional Waihonu fish pond with surrounding park (21 acres), is enjoyed by all residents and visitors alike (250,000 users annually)! Project Genki Hou, To Thrive Again! will utilize Effective Microorganisms (EM) to clean the pond by remediating sludge. Coordinators: Rotary Club of Pāhoa Sunset, South Hilo and Hilo. In collaboration with: Friends of Liliu`okalani Gardens,Eco Rotary Club of Kaka`ako, Rotary Club of Hiroshima, Ho`oulu Lāhui (501c3), Kua O Ka Lā Charter School, County of Hawai`i and EM Hawaii.
     Utilizing native wisdom of the Hawaiian moon calendar, we will make the Geniki balls on the new Hilo moon on Saturday Nov 5th to inoculate for one month prior to the first ball toss on Dec 3rd, 2022. Second toss will be in March and the third set of balls will be made on Rotarians at Work day April 22nd and the toss will occur in May during the District Conference. For more information, call Susie Osborne at 808-640-3439 or susie@kuaokala.orgTo sign up to make the EM Genki balls on Nov 5, 10am-1pm at Kua O Ka Lā Charter School (Green House) at 345 Makalika Road, Panaewa, go to:

The County Council has already committed to funding this project. Kua O Ka Lā will be one of the key collaborator in the project, with teachers, students and `ohana learning about Effective Microorganisms, making genki balls and drying the balls in the schools large greenhouse and participating in the ball toss events!

In April, the Eco Rotary Club of Kaka’ako, along with many Rotary clubs and volunteer tossed about 5,000 Genki balls into the Ala Wai Canal.  An East Hawaii group lead by Presidents Susie Osborne, Connie Ichinose and Cat Rehberg is planning together to toss Genki Balls in the Liliu’okalani Gardens pond and David Lister on Kauai is looking into this for Kauai.

What are Genki balls? Developed by EM Hawaii, these are mud balls packed with healthy EM bacteria (EM=Effective Microorganisms) to help restore the ecosystem.   This technique relies on lactic acid bacteria and yeast, some of the familiar ingredients to brew a good beer. In the Genki Balls, healthy bacteria digest and oxygenate the sludge at the bottom of the canal, river or pond. This helps it decompose, suppresses harmful bacteria and reduces foul odors.  Genki is a Japanese work that roughly means having energy and good health.

Hiromichi Nago, President of EM Hawaii says the technology has been used for more than 35 years in at least 100 countries to improve water quality, including in Hawai‘i. On the Big Island, The Four Seasons Hualālai Resort has been using the Genki Balls and EM-1 products since 2007 to help maintain native anchialine, or brackish, ponds. He says sludge levels dropped from 19 inches to 4 in a few months. Punahou School students tossed ball in their spring pond. Since 2019, Jefferson and Ala Wai Elementary Schools make the Genki Balls as their STEM Education Project and toss them into the Ala Wai. The EM Technology has been used in Hawaii in shrimp aquaculture, macadamia nut orchards, commercial abalone waste management in Kona, the Honolulu Zoo gardens and to compost zoodoo, EM Hawai‘i estimates it would take about a million balls to clear the Ala Wai, dropped in by paddlers and others who have volunteered to help. The Eco Rotary Club’s project on April 2 was the largest ball toss held.