Aloha and welcome back to the GPO Summer Travel Series! Because we made it through the cold, harsh winter, there’s no better place to start our summer travels than this next destination. If you’re in the mood for some aloha spirit, ancient tales, and bamboo forests, then get ready. We’re headed to Hawai’i!
Our first stop is Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Home to two of the most active volcanoes in the world, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, this National Park also boasts many rare plants and animals as well as several places important to native Hawaiian culture. With Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Junior Ranger Handbook in hand, children will be challenged to complete a two-part scavenger hunt. During the hunt, junior rangers will learn the names of Hawaiian wildlife, including the red “puff ball” flower on an ‘Ohi’a Lehua tree, the two native Hawaiian butterflies, the Hawaiian name for the Hawaiian Hawksbill Sea Turtle, and so much more. Next, they will learn to find and protect three homes – unusual trees that can’t be found anywhere else in the world – in the park. When they read the story of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, kids will be amazed by the magical powers of her molten body that makes land tremble and lights the sky on fire! Their last activity is certainly not least. The booklet guides kids through exploring the Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku). Nahuku, which formed about 600 years ago, was once an underground river of lava. What was left behind is a long cave with ecosystems that we are only beginning to understand.
Next, we’re headed north to Maui to explore Haleakala National Park! Bring along the Haleakala National Park brochure from the National Park Service and U.S. Department of the Interior to learn about the Summit Area Trails, which are great for trips as quick as an hour or as long as four days. Plus, this little brochure is packed with information about Hawaiian history and culture. For example, Hawaiians believe in the concept of kuleana, which means responsibility. According to the pamphlet, the Hawaiians believe it is one’s duty to perpetuate this kuleana and to pass it on to the future. Plus, learn which areas are closed to public access because of their sacred nature. Kanaka Maoli, or Native Hawaiians, believe that these areas are inhabited only by Nā Akua (deities). Have you ever thought about the interrelationships between people and their resources? The Native Hawaiians have. In fact, they have an ancient, sacred oral chant, called the Kumulipo, which describes these relationships. Most importantly, this guide, which is created by Native Hawaiians, will offer visitors like ourselves guidance on how to respect the natural and cultural resources of the park.
Want to be extra knowledgeable before your trip to Hawai’i? Characteristics of Hawaiian Volcanoes from the Natural Resources Conservation Service establishes a benchmark for the current understanding of volcanism in Hawai’i. The articles in this publication build upon the revolutionary work of Dutton, Jagger, Steams, and other USGS and academic scientists. The chapters outline lessons learned from various aspects of volcanism in Hawai’i. The findings in this resource are mainly based on continuous observation of eruptive activity and on research into volcanic and earthquake processes during the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s (HVO’s) first 100 years.
Well, folks, leaving Hawai’i is undoubtedly not going to be easy. If we can’t stay here with the koa trees, Koleas, and lehua blossoms, what’s the next best thing to do? Bring Hawai’i home! Hawai’i Volcanoes is a poster by renowned late graphics artist, Charley Harper. In it, he depicts Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park using bright oranges, blues, pinks, and yellows. The original painting, commissioned by the U.S. National Park Service in 1986, is perfect for kids who love the wild.
We’ve started our summer travels strong. Thanks for coming along to the beautiful island of Hawai’i. We’re just getting started! Stay tuned for more exciting places all summer long.
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About the author: Blogger contributor Cat Goergen is the PR Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations office.