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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Marks 25th Year as a World Heritage Site with Events

Twenty-five years ago, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park was acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest treasures, and was designated a World Heritage Site for having “superlative attributes of universal value important to the common heritage of humanity.”

Today, there are 21 World Heritage Sites in the United States (including two in Hawai‘i, the other is Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument) and 962 sites worldwide.

To commemorate the silver anniversary of its World Heritage Site status, and the 40th anniversary of the international World Heritage Convention, the park is offering two events, one at the park and one at The Fairmont Orchid on the Kohala Coast:

Jonathan B. Tourtellot, Geotourism Editor, National Geographic Traveler; Founding Director, National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations; Portal Editor, DestinationCenter.org; Principal, Focus on Places LLC

World Heritage “After Dark in the Park” Presentation. Join National Geographic Traveler editor Jonathan Tourtellot for an overview of World Heritage Sites, how World Heritage grows jobs, four common myths about World Heritage and America’s position in the global quest for World Heritage sites. No registration required. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free (but park entrance fees apply).

When: Wed., Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

World Heritage Anniversary Roundtable. The park, Big Island Visitors Bureau, and The Fairmont Orchid invite you to a destination roundtable with National Geographic Traveler editor Jonathan Tourtellot, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park staff, and travel industry leaders. Learn why having a World Heritage Site on our island is important, what it means to your organization, and how you can leverage this unique status in your outreach efforts. Free admission and free parking at The Fairmont Orchid; RSVP online at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4450461450/eorg, or contact Jessica Ferracane at 808-985-6018 or via email, jessica_ferracane@nps.gov.

When: Thurs., Oct. 25 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i’s Plaza Ballroom

US Mint Ceremony Releasing the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Quarter

The public is invited to be part of an exciting, historic event as the United States Mint ceremonially releases the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park quarter at the park’s Kahua Hula on Wed., Aug. 29 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

HFS Federal Credit Union will provide $10 rolls of the commemorative quarters for exchange.

The new quarter is part of the United States Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The coin features an engraved image of an eruption on Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone on its reverse (or tails) side and inscriptions that read HAWAI‘I VOLCANOES, HAWAII 2012 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. It was designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Charles L. Vickers.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ quarter is the fourth quarter to be launched in 2012, and the 14th in a series of 56 circulating America the Beautiful Quarters. The reverse side (or tails side) designs are symbolic of a national park or other national site in each state, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.

All coins in the program have a common obverse (heads side) featuring a portrait of George Washington and the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST and QUARTER DOLLAR.

“This highly collectible quarter is a significant milestone for Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, for the residents of Hawai‘i, and for the Hawai‘i Island destination. Now everyone carry a reminder of Hawai‘i’s first World Heritage Site in their pocket,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

County of Hawai‘i Tourism Specialist Stephanie Donoho will serve as Master of Ceremonies, and representatives from the United States Mint, the Governor’s office, and the State Delegation will participate.

The ceremony will take place at the park’s Kahua Hula, south of Kīlauea Visitor Center, on Crater Rim Drive. The event is free, but park entrance fees may apply.

International Scholars Learn Best Practices at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Two scholars from World Heritage Sites in China and the Philippines are studying how Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, also a World Heritage Site, operates. Once they return to their countries, they will share how the National Park Service successfully integrates conservation and tourism.

Jovel Ananayo - NPS Photos by Stephen Geiger

Jovel Ananayo, 35, is a National Park Service World Heritage Fellow from the Philippines, and a tourism post-graduate student at the University of Otago in New Zealand. He works as the tourism specialist for the Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement (SITMo), a nongovernmental organization embarking on the conservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras. The rice terraces are more than 2,000 years old and represent “an absolute blending of humankind and the environment,” according to UNESCO. But they face many challenges, from introduced invasive pests, tourism pressure on natural and cultural resources, diminishing indigenous knowledge systems, very limited financial resources, and more.

“What amazes me here is how all the divisions and experts work together. You have experts on cultural and natural resource management and the eruption crew all providing information to the interpretation team who very effectively share their knowledge with visitors. That’s how it should be,” Ananayo said. “In Ifugao, efforts are much more fragmented, but we hope to improve on our collaboration and on how we integrate cultural and natural heritage in our tourism activities drawing from the model of the Hawai‘i Volcanoes,” he said.

Li Lijuan - NPS Photo by David Boyle

Li Lijuan, 27, works for Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve in China’s Yunnan Province, part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, a World Heritage Site. Lijuan took a leave of absence to participate in the East West Center’s Asia Pacific Leadership Program, where she studied political, global and regional emerging issues, trends, and leadership last semester. This semester, she’s serving as an intern at Hawai‘i Volcanoes to better understand how the U.S. national park system operates. Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve emphasizes preservation and restoration, and is probing how to balance protecting natural resources, provide access, and sustainable utilization.

“The United States has a very good  national park system, and you excel at balance. Here people can appreciate nature,” she said.

This year, Hawai‘i Volcanoes celebrates its 25th anniversary of becoming a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site, recognized internationally for its outstanding universal value. The park is one of only 21 World Heritage sites in the United States, and 936 worldwide. Today, visitors, students and volunteers from around the world come to experience its natural and cultural wonders, found nowhere else on earth.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Public Information Officer Mardie Lane Retires After 30 Years

Media Release:

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Public Information Officer Mardie Lane retired after more than 30 years of serving the 333,086-acre national park.

Mardie Lane and Anuenue

Mardie Lane and Anuenue

Lane officially retired March 31, 2011. Her distinguished park career spanned numerous eruptive milestones at Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, as well as important historical occurrences, such as the park’s designation as a World Heritage Site in 1987 and its acquisition of Kahuku ranchlands in Ka‘u in 2003.

She started as a seasonal park ranger in 1977. After completing a degree in park management and environmental education at the University of Oregon, Lane returned to Hawai‘i Volcanoes in 1982 as a permanent park ranger.

The “Lane Ranger,” as veteran Honolulu Advertiser columnist Dave Donnelly dubbed her, was on the job when Pu‘u Kia‘i erupted in 1977, sending lava towards Kalapana.  She was on site for the eruption of Mauna Loa in 1984, Kilauea’s two summit eruptions in 1982, and the 28-year east rift eruption at Pu‘u O‘o. Her final press release recapped last month’s spectacular March 5 Kamoamoa fissure eruption.

The Kamoamoa Fissure

The Kamoamoa Fissure Courtesy of The United States Geological Survey (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)

But her passion for the park started long before then. “I first stepped foot on Kilauea when I was three years old. The volcano captured my soul,” Lane recalls. While she kept the world informed about breaking news at the park, much of her work resonates with the tens of millions of park visitors who have visited Hawai‘i Volcanoes during the last 30 years. For instance, she and filmmaker Mick Kalber collaborated on the award-winning video, Born of Fire, Born of the Sea, a 20-minute introduction to Hawai‘i’s volcanoes and native plants, animals, and people shown daily at the Kilauea Visitor Center. She earned the respect of many notable Hawaiian leaders for her dedicated and mindful articulation of culture and history. Lane also created the park’s brochure and signage at Thurston Lava Tube and backcountry trailheads.

She worked with more than a thousand television and film crews, and coordinated visits by dignitaries and celebrities, including former First Lady Rosalind Carter and daughter Amy, the Princess of Thailand, Robin Williams and William Shatner (both of whom filmed documentaries at the park). One of her favorites?  Rocker Chris Isaak, who filmed his seductive video Wicked Gameon the former black sand beach at Kamoamoa.

In addition, Lane was called to duty as PIO at other Hawai‘i parks, including the USS ArizonaMemorial (the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor), Kalaupapa National Historical Park (the return of the relic of Father Damien and the 100th anniversary of Father Damien’s death), and Pu‘ukohola National Historic Site (the 200th anniversary of the unification of the Hawaiian Islands). She also served in the Mariana Islands at national parks in Saipan and Guam for their 50th anniversaries of liberation.

Lane says there’s nowhere else like the constantly changing park that captured her soul as a child. “Where else does one stand at the edge of creation? Where else does earth’s incandescence illuminate the faces and warm the hearts of those who arrive before sunrise and linger after sunset?” she asks.

Lane, who lives in Volcano, will not be a stranger to Hawai‘i Volcanoes after retirement. She volunteers for park programs, including serving as an interpretative ranger at the Kahuku unit, and especially dear to her, working at the stables, where five horses and two mules are used by park rangers for patrol, parades, and wilderness maintenance.

“Keeping the public informed of park news and current volcanic conditions was one aspect of the job Mardie was widely recognized for by media worldwide and she loved it,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “But what really makes her glow is working with animals, whether at the stables, along the coast with sea turtle hatchlings, or in the mountains with rare geese and forest birds,” Orlando said.