Keiki Wildland Firefighters

Anuenue Playground Build Day Care Outreach

Credit: Big Island Video News

Credit: Big Island Video News

An amazing showing of community support made the headlines in Waimea this week. Over 600 community members came out, even through pouring rain, to help rebuild the Anuenue Playground. Already, parents and children are raving about the rebuilt community asset that will provide lasting memories for years to come. 

HWMO joined in on the effort by teaching wildfire prevention and preparedness at the day care center established for the playground build. Pablo Beimler, Community Outreach Coordinator, met with over a dozen smiling and enthusiastic young children who played several rounds of fire tag and dressed up as wildland firefighters on October 25. 

Thank you to Anuenue Playground for all you do for the community and for inviting us to take part as an event sponsor!

Banner photo credit: Big Island Video News

HWMO's Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness

Hawaii Island Seed Bank, Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance, and Big Island Invasive Species Committee joined HWMO in setting up information booths at the event. Credit: DLNR

Hawaii Island Seed Bank, Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance, and Big Island Invasive Species Committee joined HWMO in setting up information booths at the event. Credit: DLNR

For this year’s National Community Wildfire Preparedness Day, on May 6, HWMO thew a Beach Party to raise awareness on wildfires and their impacts on our lands, water, and communities. The Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness was held at the Old Kona Airport at the first beach pavilion. We had a number of fun classes, presentations, and activities for keiki. 

Classes included two yoga classes, a morning session with Chelsea Morriss of Soul Happy Wellness, and an afternoon one with Rachel Forsberg. HWMO’s very own Melissa Kunz taught a swing dance class that kept the hype up in the morning. There was also a kids capoeira class held by Mario Hill from Capoeira Agua de Beber - UCA Hawaii. Most of the kids that participated were completely new to the Brazilian martial art / dance. Following the class, a group of capoeiristas from various parts of the island joined in for a capoeira and samba drum performance.

Melissa Kunz teaching a swing dance class.

Melissa Kunz teaching a swing dance class.

Capoeira workshop and performances thanks to Capoeira Agua de Beber - UCA Hawaii and friends.

Capoeira workshop and performances thanks to Capoeira Agua de Beber - UCA Hawaii and friends.

Yoga with Rachel Forsberg.

Yoga with Rachel Forsberg.

Morning yoga with Chelsea Morriss.

Morning yoga with Chelsea Morriss.

Several presentations were held in the pavilion that exposed visitors to different partners of HWMO that are doing amazing work to restore our native forests and protect our watersheds. Hawaii Island Seed Bank, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, and Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance shared about their organizations to audiences of various age levels. Those same organizations also set-up information booths, which attracted many visitors, as well. 

Chief Eric Moller speaking about the importance of fire prevention during the Wildfire Lookout! launch event.

Chief Eric Moller speaking about the importance of fire prevention during the Wildfire Lookout! launch event.

A major highlight of the event was a press conference to launch the statewide wildfire campaign called Wildfire Lookout! Speakers included State Representative Cindy Evans and Chief Eric Moller of U.S. Army-Garrison, Fire & Emergency Services who both stressed the importance of fire prevention to protect our islands. Executive Director of HWMO, Elizabeth Pickett, also spoke to the visitors of the event on the importance of preparing far in advance of peak fire season. DLNR Senior Communications Director, Dan Dennison, flew from Oahu to film the press conference, as well as other activities at the start of the day. You can watch the video here:

HWMO’s crafty project assistant, Tom Loomis, set-up a few fun games for keiki including a mini golf course, home defensible space ring toss, and pachinko board to win HWMO prizes. Hawaii Fire Department brought a fire truck for kids to explore and Big Island Goat Dozers brought a goat for kids to pet. 

Wildland firefighter dress up and HFD fire engine exploring.

Wildland firefighter dress up and HFD fire engine exploring.

Various activities for keiki including mini golf.

Various activities for keiki including mini golf.

Flyer for Party for Wildfire Awareness

Flyer for Party for Wildfire Awareness

Visitors had a chance to grind on some ono food from Just the Two of Us Chicken and Waffles and Cool Runnings Food Truck. The Selassie Ites wrapped up the event with a jammin' reggae performance.

A series of door prizes were also awarded throughout the day thanks to our list of generous sponsors: Foster’s Kitchen, Daylight Mind Coffee Company, Kona Haven Coffee, Capoeira Agua de Beber, Soul Happy Wellness, The Original Donkey Balls Store, and Hawaii Water Service Company

A big mahalo to these sponsors as well as everyone else mentioned above who made the event possible, including our volunteers, staff, and board members!

Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness 5/6/17

PTA Earth Day

We had a great time hanging out with our partners from U.S. Army-Garrison Fire & Emergency Services and keiki from around the island.

We had a great time hanging out with our partners from U.S. Army-Garrison Fire & Emergency Services and keiki from around the island.

U.S. Army-Garrison, Fire and Emergency Services (US-AG, FES) has been a long-time partner of HWMO and has assisted on many of the largest fires the state has seen, including the Mauna Kea Fire in 2010. On April 20th, in celebration of Earth Day, Pōhakuloa Training Area (PTA) played host to several conservation and technology partners, including HWMO.

Busloads of students from around the island were dropped off to explore the various exhibitions. HWMO was situated next to the Army firefighters and their trucks. Keiki had a blast using water hoses as target practice and dressed up in HWMO’s wildland fire gear to take home Polaroid photos of themselves in it. HWMO also shared about the importance of planting natives around homes, certainly a worthy project to tackle on Earth Day!

PTA Earth Day 4/20/17

Ewa Beach Emergency Prep Fair 2016

A day after HWMO’s Pablo Beimler met with Kamaile Academy students for wildfire lessons, he headed over to Ewa Makai Middle School for the Ewa Beach Emergency Preparedness Fair on September 10th. With over 1,000 attendees interested in emergency preparation tips, the venue was the perfect place for HWMO to set-up an outreach booth and share Ready, Set, Go! Guides, Native Firewise Plant bookmarks, and more. Keiki who stopped by had the opportunity to dress up as wildland firefighters and take home a special Polaroid photo of the moment. 

A family stops by for Ready Set Go! information and wildland firefighter photo shoot.

Taking home a Polaroid of herself in wildland firefighter gear.

Mahalo to Ewa EPC for inviting us for the second straight year! Always a worthwhile event.

Ewa Beach Emergency Prep Fair 9/10/16

BioBlitz Cultural Festival 2016

For the second year in a row, HWMO traveled to Volcano National Park to set-up an outreach booth for the BioBlitz Cultural Festival on August 27th. The weather could not have been any better with a beautiful sunny morning with light mist in the afternoon. While groups of keiki joined scientists in the field to inventory native species in the park, visitors from all over the islands and the world listened to great live music, watched beautiful and powerful hula performances, and stopped by the many different outreach and cultural tents on the Visitor Center lawn. 

Pablo Beimler presents a copy of the Ready, Set, Go! Wildland Action Guide to a visiting resident.

Keiki Wildland Firefighter protects hale from wildfire.

HWMO drew at least two hundred curious visitors, interested in learning about the latest in wildfire news and preparedness tips. Keiki learned about the fire triangle and various Firewise native plants that they could hold and get to know better. Some even became wildland firefighters for the day, dressing up in real firefighting gear and taking home a Polaroid photo to post on their fridge at home. 

Firefighters from American Samoa were also present at the festival, showing their versatile skill set by chanting and dancing for visitors.

BioBlitz Cultural Festival at Hawaii Volcanoes 8/27/16

Waimea Middle School - Mālama Honua Event

Pablo Beimler shares information about Ready, Set, Go! program with Waimea Middle School ʻohana.

According to the Polynesian Voyaging Society: “Mālama Honua is simply translated as ‘to care for our Island Earth’, but the Hawaiian language is beautiful and complex. Mālama Honua means to take care of and protect everything that makes up our world: land, oceans, living beings, our cultures, and our communities. It means learning from the lessons of islanders to take care of your limited resources, as though you were living on a canoe in the open ocean or an island in the middle of the sea. On a canoe, water, food, plants, and other basic needs are in limited supply and are tended to with great care; so too we must tend to our resources on islands, and for all of Island Earth.”

Waimea Middle School student gets dressed in wildland fire gear.

HWMO joined a number of other organizations aligned with these values at the Waimea Middle School’s end-of-the-school-year event to celebrate Mālama Honua. Each organization was able to host a booth on May 18th at the WMS gymnasium and give a brief presentation to visiting ʻohana and WMS kumu. HWMO’s Pablo Beimler shared about the new Wildfire & Drought Look Out! campaign and background on the Ready, Set, Go! program

Students and their families stopped by the HWMO booth to learn more about wildfire readiness and take home free giveaways and Ready, Set, Go! Action Guides. Pablo even worked to spark some of the students’ memories by quizzing them on the components of the fire triangle (and all of them remembered from their classes with Pablo a couple months ago!) Teachers and students also took part in the Wildland Firefighter Photo Shoot, dressing up in wildland fire gear and taking home a Polaroid to post on their fridge. 

Fire prevention signs made by students at Waimea Middle School.

During the wildfire lessons a few months ago that Pablo held at the school, students were asked to make fire prevention posters as part of a mock social media campaign. Some of the incredible posters were displayed for all to see at the event, which was definitely a highlight for HWMO to see!

Mahalo to Waimea Middle School for such a great partnership this school year.

Waimea Middle School Malama Honua Event 5/18/16

HCC Palamanui Grand Opening and Open House

The new campus in Kailua-Kona, HCC Palamanui, put on an exciting event on February 27th to showcase the campus and all it has to offer.

HWMO's Sam Patten (left) and Pablo Beimler (right) hold down the booth for the day.

Keiki Wildland Firefighter Photo Shoot

HWMO's Pablo Beimler and Sam Patten held an informational booth for visitors interested in wildfire prevention and preparedness. We had a number of great conversations with residents and visitors of the island, especially regarding El Niño and the drought and increase in wildfires that will come with it. HCC Palamanui's landscape designer, Calley O'Neill hosted a booth next to ours that showcased the landscape plans for the campus. Only a week or so earlier, HWMO representatives had met with her and other HCC Palamanui officials, to discuss integrating Firewise landscaping into the plan. 

A few keiki visitors also stopped by the booth, including some future wildland firefighters. 

Kohala Mountain Pumpkin Patch Festival

October is not only Fire Prevention Month but also pumpkin season. Why not combine the two?

Staying busy at the HWMO tent.

HWMO traveled up Kohala Mountain, which looms over our office in Waimea, to set-up an outreach booth at the Kohala Mountain Pumpkin Patch Festival. The fair was organized and hosted by our friends from Kohala Mountain Educational Farm on their beautiful property as part of a month-long festival open to the public every Saturday and Sunday. Hayrides, pony rides, petting zoos, and a huge corn maze were just some of the many attractions. Visitors were also able to pick fresh pumpkins from the lush pumpkin patch.

Rocking the wildland fire gear.

HWMO's booth created an exciting opportunity for keiki to don real wildland firefighter gear and to take home Polaroid photos of them in the gear. Some even admitted that they wanted to become firefighters themselves! We also gave away a number of Kaleo the Pueo and Smokey the Bear merchandise, which was a big hit for the youngsters. 

K-Mart Kona Safety Event

Future firefighter all bundled up.

September and October are prime times of the year for safety awareness and preparedness. Fire Prevention Week is October 4-10 this year and September was National Preparedness Month. This past weekend, K-Mart sponsored a National Safety Event by hosting various groups to set-up in-front of the store to prepare customers for emergencies.

On Saturday, October 3rd, HWMO reached out to a number of customers who were pleasantly surprised to find activities and giveaways for keiki and wildfire prep information for the whole family. A few excited future-firefighters dressed up in wildland fire gear and posed for Polaroid photos they could take home and keep as a memory. 

No question he's ready for firefighting action.

Wildland Firefighter photo also comes in Polaroid (which the keiki get to keep!)

Our neighbors from the Department of Public Health were a group of friendly nurses who shared information with families about child seat and seat belt safety. Hawaii Police Department and Hawaii Fire Department joined nurses in the parking lot to conduct free child seat inspections for customers, as well.

Preparedness season doesn't stop there. HWMO will be setting up at this year's Kohala Mountain Pumpkin Patch on October 10th from 10a to 5p.

Wiliwili Festival 2015

Our booth was featured in West Hawaii Today's photo gallery of the Wiliwili Festival 2015. "Pablo Beimler of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, right, offers a pohinahina start to Mia Wright and her daughter Kara at the Wiliwili Festival sponsored by the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative Saturday at Waikoloa Stables. Laura Shimabuku/West Hawaii Today"

Every year, a spectacular bloom occurs that brightens Waikoloa Village. The Wiliwili tree showcases its beautiful orange blossoms every September, a bloom that is becoming more and more vibrant thanks to the efforts of the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative (WDFI). For years, the wiliwili populations have been hit hard by a number of factors including development, drought, and wildfires bringing them to the fringe of extinction. Our friends from WDFI are doing amazing work restoring the dryland forest where wiliwili trees once thrive. 

Family stops by to learn components of the fire triangle.

To celebrate an early arrival to the blossoms this year, WDFI threw their annual Wiliwili Festival at the Waikoloa Stables on September 12th. A number of field tours gave visitors the opportunity to see the invaluable restoration project that HWMO has helped protect by providing fuelbreak funding and expertise. HWMO maintained tradition by having a wildfire outreach booth complete with giveaways for keiki, including new Kaleo the Pueo coloring sheets, a Keiki Wildland Firefighter Photo Shoot, and native plant lessons. The young visitors of the festival participated in a scavenger hunt that included a lesson about the fire triangle. HWMO's Pablo Beimler handed 3 pieces of a deceptively tricky puzzle to keiki who stopped by. They solved the puzzles at their own rates, but each one walked away knowing that the fire triangle consisted of 3 parts: oxygen, ignition (heat), and fuel!

All smiles at the HWMO Keiki Wildland Firefighter Shoot!

Fire triangle puzzle solving in action.

At around 12:30 p.m., Pablo gave a Ready, Set, Go! workshop to about a dozen interested community members about the benefits of planting native and adapted plants around the home. Benefits included: 

  • Decreased maintenance needs
  • Lower water bill
  • Beautification of property
  • Perpetuation of important cultural resources
  • and Protection of the home from wildfire

Mahalo nui to our friends from WDFI for putting on such an informative, interactive event that featured the great work going on all around the island!