In the first big event of 2017, HWMO joined a number of other organizations in hosting an informational booth at the Wiliwili Festival, usually held in September. The festival, put on by long-time HWMO partner Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative, was delayed until January due to an unusually late bloom for the storied wiliwili trees of Waikoloa. Throughout the day, serene live music filled the air as hundreds upon hundreds of visitors of all ages strolled through the Waikoloa Stables to learn about conserving natural resources and protecting our forests and watersheds.
HWMO introduced a brand new booth layout in conjunction with Pacific Fire Exchange (PFX) and the Waikoloa Village Fire Management Action Committee. With many helping hands, HWMO held several fun activities for keiki: wildfire prevention sign making and a new game called "Building and Testing a Strong Fire Adapted Community." The game attracted young builders and creative minds who constructed bridges or buildings out of craft sticks and binder clips. In order to receive a set of building materials, the young builders had to answer a series of scavenger hunt questions all related to information at our booth (including who is the owl you see all over our booth? - answer: Kaleo the Pueo). Once the keiki built their structures, none identical to the other, they had to carefully place hot embers (secret revealed: heavy river stones painted with fiery colors) on the structures to test their strength. Each craft stick had an important contributor of a Fire Adapted Community labeled on it. In the end, we were amazed by the strength of the Fire Adapted Community structures created. All of them withstood the ember attacks!
A big mahalo to Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative for the opportunity to share information about wildfire prevention and preparedness with the community, including during a one-hour workshop in the afternoon. Find out more about the great work WDFI does in the community here: http://waikoloadryforest.org/