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Aloha in Abundance at Park’s 37th Annual Hawaiian Cultural Festival & BioBlitz

Sunny skies, outstanding views of Mauna Loa and Kīlauea, and an outpouring of aloha from all who participated in the Hawaiian Cultural Festival & BioBlitz, made for a joyful Saturday at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

NPS Photo(s) – Janice Wei

Although the official count isn’t yet available, park staff estimated that several thousand people, from keiki to kupuna, from local residents to first-time visitors, enjoyed the annual event that celebrates and perpetuates authentic Hawaiian culture. For the third year, the event connected people to science with BioBlitz field hikes.

The 37th annual Cultural Festival and BioBlitz were held on the grounds of Kilauea Military Camp in the park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and park entrance was free all day.

The festival’s theme, Hilina‘i Puna, Kālele iā Ka‘ū, (Puna leans and reclines on Ka‘ū), celebrates the two land districts that comprise the park. The event was sponsored by Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

37th Annual Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival & BioBlitz

Save the date for the free 37th annual Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival & BioBlitz, Saturday, July 8, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Kilauea Military Camp.

The festival’s theme, Hilina‘i Puna, Kālele iā Ka‘ū, (Puna leans and reclines on Ka‘ū), celebrates the two land districts that comprise the national park. People of all ages and districts are invited to enjoy a day of traditional mele (music), hula, and Hawaiian cultural demonstrations, crafts, and games. This year’s festival will again include a “BioBlitz,” a chance to join scientists and cultural practitioners in the field and discover the diversity of biology, geology and culture of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

The 37th annual cultural festival showcases an extraordinarily talented line-up of local performers. Hālau Ulumamo o Hilo Palikū will dance their powerful hula kāhiko, and kūpuna hula group Haunani’s Aloha Expressions also take the stage. Renowned solo musicians Kenneth Makuakāne and Lito Arkangel will sing and play instruments, and the “Songbird of Miloli‘i,” Aunty Diana Aki, closes the festival.

Keiki to kupuna can participate in authentic Hawaiian cultural activities like ku‘i kalo (pounding poi), lomilomi (massage), ‘ohe kāpala (Hawaiian bamboo stamping), play Hawaiian games, discover lā‘au lapa‘au (medicine from plants), make a small kāhili (feather standard), weave lei, and more. All cultural festival activities are located at the grassy lawn and ball field area at Kilauea Military Camp.

The BioBlitz expert-led field inventories will be offered, and include Birds of Kīlauea by Sight and Sound; Nā Mea Kanu o Ka Hula (Plants of Hula); an ADA-friendly inventory, Hawaiian Adze Production, and more. Free registration will soon be available through the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park website, www.fhvnp.org. Visitors can learn more about conservation and biodiversity through fun, interactive exhibits sponsored by many of Hawai‘i’s leading conservation organizations on the festival grounds.

The BioBlitz field inventories run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the cultural festival is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Saturday, July 8. Entrance into the park and all events are free.

Make sure to wear sunscreen and a hat. Bring water, rain jacket, and ground mat or chair. No pets. Lunch and beverages will be available for sale.  This wonderful family experience is a drug- and alcohol-free event.

36th Annual Hawaii Volcanoes Cultural Festival & BioBlitz

Mark your calendars for the free Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival & BioBlitz, Saturday, August 27, 2016!

Keiki & alaka‘i head into the rainforest on a BioBlitz species inventory at last year's BioBlitz. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Keiki & alaka‘i head into the rainforest on a BioBlitz species inventory at last year’s BioBlitz. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

This year’s festival honors the park’s centennial anniversary and connects visitors and the community to the culture, biology and geology of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.

Themed E Ho‘omau (to perpetuate; to continue in a way that causes good to be long-lasting), the 36th annual cultural festival invites people of all ages to engage in authentic Hawaiian cultural practices and learn how native Hawaiians lived closely to the land as its stewards. Enjoy hula and music, watch skilled practitioners demonstrate their art, and try Hawaiian crafts. Performers include Hālau o Akaunu with Manaiakalani Kalua, Kenneth Makuakāne, Kai Ho‘opi‘i, and Diana Aki, plus many more.

This year’s festival will again include a “BioBlitz,” a hands-on opportunity for families and individuals to observe and document the biodiversity that thrives in the lava flows and native rainforests of Kīlauea volcano. In mid-July, participants will be able to sign up for any of the BioBlitz field inventories, which include “Hiding in Plain Sight: the Insects and Spiders of the Park,” a birding excursion “Feathers in the Forest,” and “Na Mea o Kanu o Ka Hula (The Plants of Hula),” on the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park website. The field inventories are led by experts at the forefront of conservation, science and traditional Hawaiian culture.

The BioBlitz runs from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the cultural festival is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 27. Entrance and all events are free.

2016 is the 100th anniversary for Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. To find out what’s happening throughout 2016, visit the park website. It’s also the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and to learn about centennial events at other national parks, visit FindYourPark.com

Friends of HVNP & Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Earn National Award for Public Lands Partnership

The nonprofit group Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (FHVNP), and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, received the Association of Partners for Public Lands (APPL) 2015 Partnership Award for Public Lands Partners.

Funds raised by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park support many park programs, including the youth ranger internship program. Shown here, Youth Ranger Fernando Ramangmou trains for search and rescue missions in the park. NPS Photo/David Boyle.

Funds raised by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park support many park programs, including the youth ranger internship program. Shown here, Youth Ranger Fernando Ramangmou trains for search and rescue missions in the park. NPS Photo/David Boyle.

According to the APPL, the Public Lands Partners Award recognizes “an exemplary partnership for a stunning achievement to protect and preserve our public lands and enhance the experiences of their visitors and users.” The award is presented in tandem to both the nonprofit and agency partners for their shared achievements.

“We rely on the support of our Friends group, which is vital to the success of many park programs, including the Youth Ranger Internship Program, now in its sixth year, and the upcoming BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival in May,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “It is wonderful to be recognized for such a positive and essential partnership,” she said.

Because of the partnership, nearly 140 high school students in Ka‘ū and Puna have landed paid internships in the park since 2010, and thousands of island residents, visitors, and schoolchildren will be able to participate with scientists in discovering the unique biodiversity of the park.

The organization’s mission is to support the park in the protection, preservation, and interpretation of the natural and cultural resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations. It has raised more than $700,000 for the national park since 2009.

“We are honored to share this award with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National park,” said Elizabeth Fien, Executive Director of the FHVNP. “We have a very collaborative partnership that exemplifies the way nonprofits should work with public land agencies,” she said.

The APPL Partnership Awards celebrate the best in public lands partnerships, recognizing individuals, organizations, publications, products, programs and services that embody leading edge achievements in the preservation of public lands and the enrichment of visitors.

For over 35 years, APPL has served as the national voice for nonprofit public lands partners and has strengthened its membership through education, information sharing and representation. Its membership is comprised of nonprofit organizations whose missions embrace a vibrant future for the nation’s natural and cultural heritage.