On April 4th, Hawaii Wildfire linked up with Malama Kai Foundation's Ocean Warriors (http://www.malama-kai.org/ocean-warriors.html) for a unique event at Parker School Theater in Waimea. The Ocean Warriors program, an experiential youth program for local middle school students that engages them in "coastal stewardship and protection," put on a showcase to demonstrate all they had learned about climate change and its causes, impacts, and solutions.
The showcase, with the theme of "It's All Connected; We're All Connected," featured performances by the Waikoloa and Kohala Middle School students. The event began with the dozens of performers getting up on stage and singing a heartfelt song written by Elizabeth Pickett about the Big Island's beautiful landmarks, concluding with the words: "Malama Ka ʻAina I Ke Ka." Students than gave presentations and sang additional songs to paint the picture of the climate change issues we all face as a local and global community. In between these performances, local poets Josh Horan and Pablo Beimler shared their slam poetry about a Poetry Tree and Hokupaʻa, respectively. They handed off the mic to some of the students who performed their own haiku poems that they wrote during a service project day in Oʻahu (with their beautiful artwork featured on the screen behind them.)
During the last part of the showcase, representatives from local community organizations gave background to the audience about their programs and upcoming volunteer opportunities. The organizations that presented were: South Kohala Coastal Partnership, Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative, Mālaʻai Garden, and Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization.
HWMO's Pablo Beimler helped write and direct a skit for the Ocean Warriors students that they performed to round out the showcase. The skit featured Kaleo the Pueo and his friends as a way to release Kaleo to the public in a creative fashion. The kids dressed up in great costumes and did an amazing job performing "Kaleo the Pueo Finds His Voice."
We had such an amazing time rehearsing with the students and teaching them about wildfire impacts and solutions this past year. In the end, the students were the ones who taught their parents and communities about the lessons they had learned. We take comfort in knowing these students will be leading the charge in the very near future!