Families Celebrate NPS Centennial with Culture & Science
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of visitors and locals celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service today at the 36th annual Hawaiian Cultural Festival & BioBlitz at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
The festival featured notable Hawaiian performers, including musician Kenneth Makuakāne, the band Ho‘onanea and Aunty Diana Aki.
Hālau o Akaunu, Hālau Ulumamo o Hilo Palikū and Haunani’s Hula Expressions danced hula, and more than a dozen cultural practitioners shared traditional Hawaiian culture, games and food.
A dozen firefighters from the National Park of American Sāmoa, on their way home from fighting fires on the Mainland, delighted the crowd with a spontaneous haka and other traditional dances.
Artist-in-residence Rick San Nicolas, a master Hawaiian feather worker, hosted an open house at the park’s ‘Ōhi‘a Wing Sand and presented the park with a beautiful lei kāmoe in honor of its own centennial, which was Aug. 1. He will display his work again Monday, Aug. 29, through Wednesday, Aug. 31, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For the second year in a row, scientists and cultural experts, or alaka‘i, conducted field inventories at locations around the summit of Kīlauea, from rainforest to old lava flows.
Families and individuals, intent on discovering the biodiversity in the park, documented 91 different species that included native creatures like the endemic carnivorous caterpillar, and non-native species like the Japanese white-eye, or mejiro, a small bird.
Families and visitors discovered how science and culture combine and visited the BioBlitz science and cultural booths at the festival. Representatives at the forefront of Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death, the ‘Alalā Project, Mokupāpapa Discovery Center, and others, shared important conservation efforts to protect Hawai‘i’s native species.
The BioBlitz and Cultural Festival were part of the National Park Service Centennial celebration, and four fee-free days, which started Thursday.
Today, Sunday, Aug. 28, is the last fee-free date until Nov. 11 (Veterans Day).