There’s a national park on the Hawaiian island of Maui where the warm sun bakes a volcanic basin and balmy breezes float through a bamboo forest. The place is called Haleakalā National Park. And on August 1, 2016, it marks its 100th birthday.
Haleakalā is pronounced ha-leh-ah-kah-lah. It means “house of the sun” in Native Hawaiian. When American writer Mark Twain first came to Haleakalā in 1866, he described it as “the sublimest spectacle I ever witnessed, and I think the memory of it will remain with me always.” The National Park Service (NPS) wants kids to have a similar experience. Its Haleakala Junior Ranger Activity Booklet, available through GPO, is prefect way to celebrate the centennials of both Haleakalā and NPS.
The park has two separate sections—a 10,023 ft. shield volcano flanking the east side stands in stark contrast to the azure Kipahulu coast. A vast subalpine moonscape plummets into a subtropical rainforest that rings a craggy, palm-lined shore. Over 80% of the park is wilderness. A sacred place in the lore of Native Hawaiians, Haleakalā “protects the last or only home to plants and animals found nowhere else on earth.” In fact, it hosts more endangered species than any other national park in the U.S.
Haleakalā’s “stories, sights, and traditions” are well captured in the activity booklet. There’s plenty to give your junior ranger (or yourself!) a hands-on experience with earth science, biodiversity, and Hawaiian culture. Entertaining games—on such topics as the volcano lifecycle, lava rocks, hiking trails, Nēnē geese, habitats, and the Hawaiian alphabet—are a great way for young explorers to learn about a piece of America’s natural heritage.
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About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.