Hawaii Volcanoes Names Makuakane-Jarrell Chief of Interpretation
by Dave Smith
A veteran park ranger has been named chief of interpretation at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Joni Mae Makuakane-Jarrell, who has worked at all five national park units on the Big Island, is the first native Hawaiian to serve in the position, and also the first woman.
Her role will be to oversee visitor services and educational and cultural programs at the park, a park spokeswoman said.
Makuakane-Jarrell is a 32-year veteran of the National Park Service. She began her career as an interpretive ranger at Hawaii Volcanoes through the Young Adult Conservation Corps program, later becoming the park’s supervisory ranger.
She also served as a law enforcement specialist at Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site and as the interpretative specialist at Koloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.
At the latter she worked with her late husband, Park Ranger Steve Makuakane-Jarrell, who was shot and killed by a transient in 1999 during a confrontation over the man’s loose dogs.
Makuakane-Jarrell’s most recent position was as an educational specialist at Hawaii Volcanoes where she has coordinated the annual Cultural Festival, now in its 33rd year, and piloted the first Summer Junior Ranger Program.
She also started the park’s Na Le Manu (Heavenly Voices) concerts and the ‘Ike Hana No`eau cultural workshops.
Makuakāne-Jarrell’s visions for the park including sharing the traditional Hawaiian names of places, the park said in a statement issued today.
“Hawaiians are very keen observers, and when they name things, it usually tells the story or history of the area,” she said. “By using these given names, it helps protect, honor, and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture.”
“Joni Mae brings an ideal combination of perspective into the important position of Chief of Interpretation,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Her strong background of Hawaiian values and culture, combined with her leadership skills and dedication to the park’s mission, and significance as a World Heritage Site, will serve the park and its visitors very well.”
Makuakane-Jarrell replaces Jim Gale, also a 32-year-veteran of the park service, who retired as chief of interpretation in October.
***Updated to correct NPS information.***