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Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Welcomes 4th Grade Students Through Every Kid in a Park Initiative

September 2, 2015

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park invites all fourth grade students to visit the park for free as part of the White House’s new Every Kid in a Park program. Starting today, fourth grade students can now go to to complete an activity and obtain a free annual entry pass to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks.

Every Kid in a Park pass

Visitor Ethan displays the Every Kid in a Park pass for 4th graders during Ranger Alakea’s Exploring the Summit hike. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

“Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has a long tradition of connecting keiki and classrooms to the volcanoes, Hawaiian culture, and native plants and animals in their backyard,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Now we can expand the invitation by offering free entry to local and national fourth graders and their families for free, and connect the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates to the park as we enter our 100th year,” Orlando said.

Children who visit Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park can participate in lots of fun and engaging ways, like earning a Junior Ranger badge through  the Junior Ranger programs, going on a ranger-guided program, signing up for a Kahuku ‘Ohana Day, and much more.

Keiki (kids) hike Halema‘uma‘u Trail. NPS Photo

Keiki (kids) hike Halema‘uma‘u Trail. NPS Photo

To receive their free pass for national parks, fourth graders can visit the Every Kid in a Park website and play a game to access their special Every Kid in a Park pass. Fourth graders and their families can then use this pass for free entry to national parks and other federal public lands and waters across the country from Sept. 1, 2015 through Aug. 31, 2016. The website also includes fun and engaging learning activities aligned to educational standards, trip-planning tools, safety and packing tips and other important and helpful information for educators and parents.

In addition to providing every fourth grader in America a free entry pass for national parks and federal public lands and waters, fourth grade educators, youth group leaders and their students across the country will also participate in the program through field trips and other learning experiences.

The goal of the Every Kid in a Park program is to connect fourth graders with the great outdoors and inspire them to become future environmental stewards, ready to preserve and protect national parks and other public lands for years to come. The program is an important park of the National Park Service’s centennial celebration in 2016, which encourages everyone to Find Your Park.

Every Kid in a Park in an administrative-wide effort, launched by President Obama, and supported by eight federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Education, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Every Kid in a Park logo

Every Kid in a Park logo


Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site closed Monday & Tuesday as staff assess damage from wildfire

August 10, 2015

Kawaihae, HI Due to a brushfire that engulfed more than 4,650 acres in the Kawaihae area over the weekend, Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site remains closed Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 10 and 11. The park could open as early as Wednesday, once firefighters finish extinguishing smoldering hot spots in the park, and park archeologists assess any damage to cultural sites.

Pu‘ukoholā Heiau, the massive stone temple where King Kamehameha the Great launched his successful quest to unite the Hawaiian Islands in 1810, did not sustain any damage in the fire, nor did the older Mailekini Heiau below it. The homestead site of British sailor John Young, who served as King Kamehameha’s advisor, also appears unscathed.

The brushfire, exacerbated by strong winds and dry, hot weather, came within a few feet of the visitor center and park headquarters on Saturday, but was put out by firefighters before it reached the buildings. Although both facilities are without phone service and internet, the visitor center has water and electricity.

Heiau and scorched earth

Scorched earth below the heiau. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

“We are incredibly grateful to all the agencies and volunteers who banded together to fight this fire,” said Park Superintendent Daniel Kawaiaea. “Thankfully, there were no injuries to visitors or park staff. We also appreciate the kōkua from our sister parks, Pu‘uhonua o Hōnauanau National Historical Park, Alakahakai National Historic Trail, and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, who are providing resources and staff,” he said.

The fire burned about 90 percent of the vegetation on the park’s 80 acres, and melted temporary solar light fixtures along its main path. Large blackened swaths of ground, once covered in plants, is now exposed throughout the park. The vegetation was a mix of non-native grasses and shrubs, and native species like pili grass, pua kala (Hawaiian poppy) and ma‘o (Hawaii cotton).

dousing hot spots

NPS firefighters extinguish hotspots at Puukohola Heiau NHS on Monday. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Superintendent Kawaiaea said a decision whether the park will hold or cancel the 43rd annual Ho‘oku‘ikahi Establishment Day Hawaiian Cultural Festival, scheduled for this weekend, Aug. 15 and 16, will be made by Tuesday.

“Our biggest concern at this point is the safety for the public, our employees and the festival participants,” Kawaiaea said. “In addition to the fire damage, there is also a tropical storm expected to impact us later this week.”

Ranger and lele

Ranger George points out the lele, a wooden structure used for offerings, or ho‘okupu, at the base of the heiau, and a large pair of wooden kapu sticks that escaped the fire. Flames that charred a section of wooden gate nearby were doused before the entire gate burned. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane


August 2015 Hawaiian Cultural & After Dark in the Park Programs

July 21, 2015

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs with the community and visitors in August. All programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and your $2 donation helps support park programs. Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Kīlauea’s Night Skies: An Artist’s Perspective. Join Hawai‘i Island artist and interpretive guide Kent Olsen as he presents Kīlauea’s Night Skies: An Artist’s Perspective. Drawing on insights and perspectives developed through years of work in the medical imaging design field, as an interpretive guide at Mauna Kea Observatories and as a certified commercial guide at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Kent will present the night skies over Kīlauea in a way that is sure to provide a new perspective and may just change the way you see everything. Utilizing the current lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u Crater as a point of reference, you will journey from the depths of the quantum realm to the edge of the cosmos. Olsen boldly attempts to describe the natural world in a way that makes the scale of the seemingly infinite something you just might be able to wrap your head around. Attendees are reminded the park is open all night for stargazing and lava glow viewing. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., Aug. 11 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Halemaumau aglow

Kīlauea volcano’s summit eruption from Halema‘uma‘u with Jaggar Museum and USGS HVO visible. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Nā La‘au: Important Uses of Hawaiian Plants. Park Ranger Julia Espaniola shares her knowledge and love for some of the island’s native plants and their traditional uses. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., Aug. 12 from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Ranger Noah's lei haku.(NPS photo/Christa Sadler)

Ranger Noah’s lei haku.(NPS photo/Christa Sadler)

Hālau O Mailelaulani is a Hilo-based hālau under the direction of kumu hula Mailelaulani Canario.  Kumu Mailelaulani established her hālau in the mid-1970s to perpetuate the kahiko (ancient) as well as ‘auana (modern) style of hula.  Today, her ‘auana performers participate in the annual Merrie Monarch festivities and are regular entertainers for the cruise ships through Destination Hilo. The hālau placed third in the 32nd annual Kupuna Hula Festival, Wahine Group Competition held in Kona in 2014. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ Nā Leo Manu, “Heavenly Voices” performances. Free.
When: Wed., Aug. 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium

‘Ukulele Lessons. Learn about the history of this world-famous instrument that plays a significant role in contemporary Hawaiian music.  Join rangers from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park as they share their knowledge and love of the Hawaiian culture.  Learn how to play a simple tune on the ‘ukulele and leave with a new skill and treasured ‘ike (wisdom) to share with your hoa (friends) and ‘ohana (family). Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., Aug. 26 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

‘Ukulele lessons

‘Ukulele lessons by Ranger Shyla NPS Photo Jay Robinson

This news release is also posted to the park website

Maui Unknown: High Altitude Streams

July 17, 2015

High-Altitude Stream Sampling at Haleakala NP… At the request of the park, the PACN recently sampled streams at high altitude in Haleakalā National Park on Maui. The team implemented the stream monitoring protocol at Palikea Stream, which is normally only sampled downstream near sea-level. The park was interested in what fish, snails, and shrimp might live in reaches far upstream.

This sampling trip was a true expedition into the wilderness, and required a lot of preparation. The team had to get trained on helicopter operations and safety. We prepared our normal stream sampling equipment, including a water quality sonde, flow meter, water sampling filter tower, and snorkeling gear.

Haleakala Entrance

A four-person, five-day trip to sample streams required two “sling-loads” of supplies. After arriving at the landing zone near the Kīpahulu Visitor center, we spread out two giant nets made of heavy rope. We arranged all our coolers, backpacks, and other supplies into the centers of the nets. Then the nets were closed around the supplies and fastened with heavy gauge steel cables.

The helicopter, bright orange with stripes, with a small bubble for a passenger and high skids, swooped in overhead and landed in the middle of the field. I was escorted to the door. I climbed in, put my harness on, and plugged my headset in. Or rather, I had help doing all these things, since it was my first heli-op. It was so noisy I couldn’t speak to anyone. Once my escort climbed in and got settled, up we went.

We soared over the rainforest climbing high into Kīpahulu Valley. There are no roads, no trails, and no real landmarks besides the streams and topography of the land itself. The flight only took about five minutes. We landed in a small patch of high grass among ‘ōhi‘a trees. My partner led me away  from under the spinning rotors to the tree line.  Once the rest of the team joined me, we made our way through the dense forest, climbing over roots and branches to our home for the next five days… Delta Camp. It’s a shack (photo on right) built in the forest with a single small room and a tank for catching rainwater.

Twenty minutes later, we heard the helicopter approaching, and it hovered directly over the camp. The rotor wash drowned out all other sounds and everything shook in the artificial wind. A sling load was lowered out of the sky onto the ground right next to the camp. The cable separated, and the ship flew away. We move all the supplies out of the way, and a second sling load arrived. As the ship left it toggled its siren to say farewell. The sound of rotors fades away.

The only realistic way to access the remote areas of the park is by helicopter.

The only realistic way to access the remote areas of the park is by helicopter.

We were there to survey Palikea Stream at an altitude of 4,000 feet. Between our location and the famous pools at ‘Ohe‘o several miles away are literally dozens of waterfalls; some several hundred feet high. But it was possible that fish were there, as some can configure their ventral fins to form a kind of suction cup, and literally scale vertical rock walls under waterfalls. We scouted the stream nearby, and decided it was suitable to sample. The next day we would scout another location downstream.

This place is cold and wet. The dense forest surrounded us with ‘ōhi‘a trees, hāpu’u, shrubs with wide succulent leaves, and stands of small climbing ferns. Bird songs abound, but it was difficult to spot them.

Our first survey revealed no fish in the stream. In fact there were no snails, no shrimp, and almost no algae growing on the rocks. It appeared as if the gravel and rocks in this area are repeatedly scoured, preventing biofilm from developing. We did find rare ferns along the bank, and a small aquatic beetle. This stretch of the stream ends in a tall waterfall. Perhaps the geomorphology of the stream is such that the water is concentrated in a small area, creating high turbulence that rolls the rocks and scours them clean.

The next day we moved downstream through the forest. It was slow going. We frequently had to crawl under brush and take detours around thick vegetation. We were headed for a spot on the map that looked to be safe access to the stream. When we arrived we looked down on the stream from the tops of cliffs. There was no safe place to access the stream, let alone sample, so we had to abandon this area. Another slog through the rainforest and  we arrived back at camp. Fog rolled in, obscuring the surrounding mountains. We discussed our options and decided to try a different stream that runs parallel to Palikea, nicknamed ‘Ōpae Stream. Judging by the name we thought there ought to be shrimp. To get there we’d have to cross Palikea. It was a concern because if the water rose, we could be trapped on the other side. Had there been heavy rain overnight, and the Palikea was high, we wouldn’t have attempted it. By morning the weather stayed clear, and Palikea was flowing normally. We crossed and found ‘Ōpae Stream.

This stream is remarkably different. It flows through a flatter, more open area with trees. Moss covers rocks. There is algae growing on most surfaces. We did find shrimp, but no fish. Is there one particular waterfall that they can’t overcome somewhere downstream?

We explored upstream until we got to another several hundred foot waterfall. One biologist, who has worked in the area many times over the past twenty years removing invasive plants, had never been to the end of this particular stream. I wonder if the ancient Hawaiians pushed this far into the forest. We might be the first people to see this particular place in 500 years, or ever.

The information we gathered will help to characterize water quality, the physical habitat, and spatial distributions of animals populations in Kīpahulu Valley in areas never before surveyed. In future trips we will survey downstream to try and determine how far upstream stream animal populations extend.

The next day we broke camp, packed up, and carried every cooler and bag through the forest to the landing zone. It was time to head back. We were thoroughly tired, and thoroughly inspired.

–D. Raikow, NPS PACN Aquatic Ecologist

Meet our volunteer, Cabel Patterson!

June 30, 2015
Caleb holding a nēnē. NPS

Caleb holding a nēnē. NPS

What drew you to volunteer at Haleakalā National Park, Why have you come back for repeat seasons? I was drawn to volunteer at Haleakalā National Park because I wanted to gain work experience in the field of nature conservation and resource management. My position of wildlife management intern enabled me to do this while helping out with conservation projects that are important to me. The unique environment of Haleakalā appealed to me as well.

What type of work or projects have you done for the park and how did they help the park achieve their mission/goals? As a wildlife management intern, I primarily worked on controlling introduced predators that prey on endangered nēnē and ‘ua‘u. I also monitored nēnē and ‘ua‘u for nesting and reproductive activity. While doing this work I was able to spend a lot of time outdoors checking predator traps, looking for signs of ‘ua‘u nesting activity among the cliffs, and surveying the park for nēnē. This helped the park achieve its goals of protecting endangered species and controlling non-native pests. DSC00100 Why would you recommend people to volunteer here at Haleakalā National Park? Volunteering at Haleakalā was a great experience for me. Some of the work was not glamorous, but it was meaningful and supported the cause of nature conservation, so I was happy to do it. I spent most of my days working outdoors in a beautiful, unique environment. The different settings in the park, such as the cliffs around the summit, the floor of the crater, and the historical non-native forest, kept things interesting. I worked with several highly experienced wildlife biologists who were happy to share their knowledge about all aspects of wildlife management and the paths they took to get to where they are in their careers. I also met dozens of dedicated, professional people from all career backgrounds who work for the park or some of its affiliates. Learning about the inner workings and structure of the NPS was a great benefit for someone like me who is considering pursuing a career with a federal conservation agency. IMG_1755 Any other things you would like to add in to share with the public about yourself, volunteer service work, work experience? Helping to protect endangered species is meaningful work that any nature lover will appreciate. I am proud to have done this at Haleakalā and I hope to somehow support this cause again in the future. Volunteering at Haleakalā was an excellent way for me to learn more about the different types of positions within the NPS and more about nature conservation work in general. I am grateful for the experience and I believe that no matter what career path I end up choosing for myself, I will be better prepared for it because of the time I spent at Haleakalā. If you are interested in volunteering opportunities here at Haleakalā National Park, please visit for more information.

Do Your Part!

June 23, 2015


Last Friday, all of the national park staff picked-up trash along the road and harbor near the visitor center and headquarters. It’s part of our continued efforts to help keep American Samoa beautiful and to educate about the importance of putting trash in bins. Trash not only looks bad, but it also harms wildlife and coral reefs.

Before and after photos show our efforts to clean-up a stream. Do your part, wherever you live, to keep your special places trash free!


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