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.
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!
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!