East Hawaii News

Conservation Conference Kicks Off in Hilo

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Monday marked the first day of the Hawai’i Conservation Alliance’s three-day 23rd Annual Hawai’i Conservation Conference, entitled “Hanohano Hawai’i Kuaulo: Celebrating Collaboration Ecosystems.” The conference usually takes place in Honolulu, but took a break this year to provide the University of Hawai’i at Hilo the opportunity to host.

Over 1,200 individuals who are dedicated to the protection of Hawai’i’s ecosystems from not only Hawai’i but across the country gathered at the opening day of the conference.

On Wednesday, Aug. 5, a Community Connections Day will be held for the public with free admission.

During the day-long public event, researchers, cultural practitioners, and community members will discuss their experiences with the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument during a symposium sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the monument management board.


“It is our hope that events like this will increase the number of people that have the opportunity to connect with Papahānaumokuākea and increase the overall awareness and appreciation for this special place,” said OHA Ka Pouhana and CEO Kamanaʻopono Crabbe.

Dr. Pua Kanakaʻole Kanahele and Kalei Nuʻuhiwa will be keynote speakers at the symposium. Both have recently returned from a summer research expedition in Papahānaumokuākea and will share the findings of their decade-long study of Mokumanamana, an island of paramount spiritual importance.

“We have utilized empirical data to find meaning within our traditional mele and moʻolelo to inform our studies and research,” said Kanahele, co-Founder of the Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation. “We are attempting to see the environment and sites as our kūpuna did to inform us, as we discover new knowledge about these ancient lands.”


The Papahānaumokuākea Symposium will take place at the Hale ‘Ōlelo Performing Arts Auditorium at UH-Hilo.

Full schedule for the Community Connections Day:

  • Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument Special Event
    10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    Hale’ōlelo Performing Arts Auditorium, University of Hawai’i at Hilo

    • 10 a.m. to 10:30 am: Opening Protocol- Welcoming remarks and a keynote presentation
    • 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: Forum 1- ‘O‘oe‘o Papahanaumokuakea: Understanding of Place
    • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.: Forum 2- Me He ‘Opihi Pa‘a La: Utilizing Science and Culture to Manage Our Shorelines
    • 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.: Forum 3- Natural Resource Management Within Papahanaumokuakea
    • 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Forum 4- Voyaging Towards the Future
    • 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.: Forum 5- Large-Scale Marine Protected Area (MPA) Management
  • Public Conference Sessions
    3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    Presentations on community based resource management, invasive species control, environmental education opportunities, and much more.

    • Community Session (Gym): Education- Featuring experts from across the ocean, Kapu ‘Aina: A Place-Based Education Model and other experts in the field of education.
    • Forum (UCB 100/115): Aloha ‘Aina: Stories from the Frontlines of Culture, Conservation and Community Activism- Featuring presenters Hanohano Na‘ehu, Kalanuia Ritte, Walter Ritte and Kehau Watson-Sproat.
    • Forum (STB 108/118): Huliamahi: Uniting Communities to Seek Near Shore Marine Abundance Through Community Based Subsistence Fishing Areas and Fishpond Revitalization- Featuring presenters Kawika Winter, Charles Young, Emma Anders, Erin Zanre, Kahiau Wallace, Kalaho‘ohie Mossman, Luka Mossman and Brenda Asuncion.
    • Community Session (WB 1/9): Invasive Species- Featuring six experts in the invasive species field.
  • Public Conference Sessions 
    5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., UH-Hilo Cafeteria
    Learn about exciting programs, projects, and advances in conservation through discussion with project authors. Pupus and a no-host bar.
  • MIXed Plate: A Collaboration of Chefs. A Bounty of Ingredients. A Taste of Conservation
    .5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., UH-Hilo Campus Center 2nd Floor Rotunda
    Join Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi, Chef Sheldon Simeon, Moon + Turtle, Cafe Pesto & Sweet Cane Cafe as they celebrate sustainable cooking and the diverse ingredients our islands have to offer. Food for purchase.
  • Live Music
    6 p.m. to 8 p.m.,  Library Lānai
    Paula Fuga and Kainani Kahaunaele will be sharing powerful mele of aloha ‘āina.

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