When it comes to solving our sometimes daunting wildfire issues, we need a whole collective of individuals and groups from a wide spectrum of disciplines and backgrounds. On Wednesday, February 15, HWMO’s Community Outreach Coordinator, Pablo Beimler, shared this important lesson with Waimea Middle School students at Career Day. To get the message across, Pablo tapped into the creative and artistic minds of the students.
After starting with a viewing of the Prevent Wildfires to Protect Our Ocean YouTube video produced by HWMO, Pablo had the students draw their ideal Big Island complete with healthy watersheds and thriving communities. Each student was then asked to create an emoji that best expressed how the island scene made them feel.
Then, it was time to introduce wildfire to the picture. The students were asked what impacts a wildfire could have on the island. With each impact, whether it was smoke, burnt forests, polluted waterways, or damaged powerlines, the students wreaked havoc on their island by drawing fiery scribbles over the resources affected. By the end of the exercise, their islands had gone through a rough time. The students then developed new emojis to express how they felt about their new island scene.
To wrap it up, Pablo had each of the students write or draw two types of people or activities on Post-it notes that could help create a Fire Adapted Community. A whole range of amazing, creative ideas were developed, including having politicians, celebrities, family members, scientists, botanists, and gardeners be a part of the big picture. Each student was asked to place their Post-it note on a poster of an island scene to demonstrate that it will take all of us to keep this waʻa afloat.