Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Hosting BioBlitz and Cultural Festival
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s diverse range of ecosystems is home to a variety of distinct plants and animals, which also represent a vital aspect of the Hawaiian people’s cultural heritage.
To learn more and appreciate these natural and cultural treasures, the National Park Service and National Geographic are holding a two-day “BioBlitz” species count and Biodiversity and Cultural Festival on Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16.
The free public event, themed I ka nānā no a ‘ike, or “by observing, one learns”, is part science and part fieldtrip classroom experience, incorporating Hawaiian tradition to celebrate biodiversity and culture.
Over 150 leading scientists and traditional Hawaiian cultural practitioners will gather for the blitz and festival, with more than 750 students and many more from the public expected to attend.
Participants will have the opportunity to explore and document the teeming life thriving throughout 333,086 acres of the park using a smartphone app, as well as partake in hands-on science and cultural exhibits, food, art and entertainment. Visitors of all ages can also learn how native Hawaiians lived intimately with nature as stewards of the land. The foremost organizations in conservation, science, and traditional Hawaiian culture will be on-site to spread awareness of their efforts and recruit interested individuals.
HVNP superintendent Cindy Orlando says the park is honored to host the events.
“BioBlitz provides an unparalleled opportunity to work alongside leading scientists and cultural practitioners to discover, count and add to the park’s species list; to explore the interconnectedness of plants, animals, Hawaiian people and our daily lives; and to protect this amazing biodiversity and rich culture in our park,” she said.
Public registration to participate in the BioBlitz is now open and availability is limited for participation in the species-count. Children ages 8 and above who are accompanied by adults may participate in the inventory event. No registration is required to participate in the festival, and park entrance fees will be waived for both days.
The BioBlitz base camp and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival will be located at the Kahua Hula overlooking Halema’uma’u Crater near the Kīlauea Visitors Center. For more information, call 1-800-638-6400, ext. 6168.