School Outreach Event

Wiliwili Festival 2018

HWMO having a blast with Ocean Warriors students while teaching wildfire preparedness lessons through the ReadySetGo! program.

HWMO having a blast with Ocean Warriors students while teaching wildfire preparedness lessons through the ReadySetGo! program.

A brushfire quickly grew into a large one during the Wiliwili Festival, most likely started by a lightning strike from several days ago.

A brushfire quickly grew into a large one during the Wiliwili Festival, most likely started by a lightning strike from several days ago.

This year's Wiliwili Festival was an eventful one (as it always is!) The festival, put on by our friends from Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative, hosted hundreds of residents and visitors who wanted to learn more about how to conserve the precious dry forests of Hawaii. HWMO set up an informational and activities booth. A group of Malama Kai Ocean Warriors students stopped by to join us for outreach help, while learning the ins and outs of the ReadySetGo! program. They also spent time creating beautiful works of art as part of a statewide wildfire prevention bookmark contest. Our booth was set-up in the workshop tent, so we also witnessed a number of great presenters from different organizations. Waikoloa Fire Management Action Committee's Wayne Awai presented on the village's Firewise efforts and successes. 

Ironically, during all of this wildfire outreach, a wildfire broke out only a few miles mauka of the event. The fire grew quickly, unfortunately burning through ohia forest. We must do everything we can to protect our precious native dry forests from the growing wildfire threat. Help do your part by learning how you can prevent fire:

Wiliwili Festival 2018

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

Na Kilo Aina Nohona

Keiki having fun dressing up as wildland firefighters at Na Kilo Aina Nohona.

Keiki having fun dressing up as wildland firefighters at Na Kilo Aina Nohona.

On October 12, HWMO staff members Elizabeth Pickett, Melissa Kunz, and Orlando Smith set-up a wildfire prevention activities table at Na Kilo Aina in Honokoa. Various other community organizations, agencies, and businesses joined in on the fun by hosting groups of keiki to learn about stewardship of the aina.

 “Na Kilo Aina practices place-base awareness that emphasizes pilina or relationships. This encompasses the holist interactions of our communities with our environment speaking to the wealth of our lands and waters as well as the wealth of our families and community members. In building and strengthening a community of observers we remember who we are through listening to our aina and activating all senses of kilo working towards Aina Momona: productive and thriving communities.” - Honokoa (Kailapa Community Association)

The event was hosted by Honokoa, a Firewise Community in Kawaihae. For the 5th year in a row, they held the camp which brought in dozens of bright-eyed participants. At HWMO’s table, keiki visited to learn about wildfire prevention measures they could take with their families. They also got to dress in real wildland fire gear to experience what it would be like to be a wildland firefighter. Keiki drew creative wildfire prevention signs, as well.

Since 2016, the community has been a certified Firewise Community with the help of HWMO. They have done an amazing job creating a culture of fire awareness in the community and have even taken large steps towards greater overall hazard resilience. For example, they are in the final stages of completing a large pavilion that can serve as an evacuation shelter during emergencies. 

Thank you Kailapa Community Association for inviting us to the camp and for all of your efforts this year in reducing wildfire risk!

Na Kilo Aina Nohona 10/12/17

Wildfire Lookout! Statewide School Distribution

In what may be one of HWMO’s most ambitious efforts, we set out to distribute as many Wildfire Lookout! flyers to as many schools as we could on the leeward sides of each of the major islands in Hawaiʻi. With boxes upon boxes of Wildfire Lookout! flyers stuffed into suitcases, HWMO’s Elizabeth Pickett and Pablo Beimler visited over 50 schools on Kauaʻi, Maui, Oʻahu, and Hawaiʻi Island from May 22-24 and distributed a total of nearly 25,000 flyers. Those flyers were included in students’ final take-home packets before the summer (and peak fire season) begun.

The outreach push was made possible thanks to Grant-In-Aid from the State and was another highlight of Wildfire Preparedness Month this year. Thank you to all of the schools’ staff for helping distribute flyers to students (some schools posted the flyers in the office, library, cafeteria, or other common spaces). 

Banner photo: Waimea Canyon school with recent wildfire-scarred area in background.

Wildfire Lookout! Statewide School Distribution May 2017

Waimea Middle School Career Day

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. 

Emoji created to express sorrow over a wildfire-ravaged island.

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. 

Adding ideas for people/careers that can contribute to a Fire Adapted Community.

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. 

Waimea Middle School Career Day 2/15/17

HPA In-Class Presentation

As Fire Prevention Month reached its final week, HWMO Community Outreach Coordinator, Pablo Beimler, met with high school students at Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea to talk about wildfires and their impacts on our waterways and oceans. Ms. Tani Cordova invited HWMO just in time — her students were in the middle of learning oceanography. Pablo gave a crash course on fire ecology and how wildfires could change soil chemistry and thus the ability to retain water.

Post-fire erosion in Maui 2016.

Halfway through his presentation, Pablo showed students the recently debuted Prevent Wildfires to Protect Our Ocean, featuring the intense wildfires and subsequent flooding in Maui this year. Students asked great questions after the presentation, sparking interesting conversations about wildfire in Hawaii. Encouraging to know these bright, thoughtful, enthusiastic teens will make positive impacts on our world in their adult lives. 

Water Heroes Performances

Water Heroes sing a song about coral reef protection. 

Educating our youth about the environment can come in many forms, whether in the classroom or out in the field. But, it can also take form through performance arts. The Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY) is doing just that. Known for their intricate costumes, lyrical flows, and ability to communicate important lessons to the keiki of Hawaii, the HTY Tour Company visited each of the main islands to perform their new show, H2O: The Story of Water and Hawaii. Through playful songs and skits, the group of five performers brought their show to Waimea at the Kahilu Theater on October 17. Hundreds of students from North and South Kohala schools watched, sung, laughed, and learned as the Water Heroes, dressed in metallic superhero costumes of various shades of blue and white, shared stories about water’s importance in our lives in Hawaii and how our water quality has been diminishing over time. 

Students pick up HWMO stickers and bookmarks after the show.

Students pick up HWMO stickers and bookmarks after the show.

Towards the end of the show, the Water Heroes comically introduced the keiki to water saving measures they could do in their own home. They then invited HWMO’s Pablo Beimler to the stage (for two different shows) as a local Water Hero. Pablo shed light on the impacts wildfires have on our watersheds and coral reefs and emphasized that each and everyone of those in the room could make a significant difference protecting our lands and waters by preventing wildfire and sharing those messages with their ʻohana. As Pablo left the stage, the performers gave him a watery salute by spraying water on him. At the end of each show, Pablo handed out native Firewise plant bookmarks and Kaleo the Pueo stickers. 

Mahalo nui loa to the HYT Tour Company for an amazing show and for the opportunity to share our message with the keiki. 

Kamaile Academy 7-9th Grade Fall Wildfire Lessons

Teaching about native Firewise plants by playing a game show.

For the second time this year, HWMO’s Pablo Beimler was invited by STEM teacher, Jamiel Saez, to teach students about wildfires at Kamaile Academy in Waiʻanae. Wildfire was fresh on the minds of many of the students after a busy wildfire year in West Oʻahu. Students ranging from 7th to 9th grade learned the importance of understanding the fire triangle to solve our wildfire issues. By focusing on “fuels,” Pablo taught students that they could make an impact by planting native plants around their homes and in and around the school. Native Firewise plants can significantly reduce the fire threat around structures, an eye-opener for many of the students. 

Students play fire tag to learn about the fire cycle with a fitting fire-prone landscape as the backdrop.

At the end of each class, students participated in the Firewise Plant Game Show. Three judges were chosen to be Pablo’s “landscaping apprentices” and were there to give the final say on whether a selected plant would be worthy of being in our Firewise garden or not. A “plant model” would walk a sample of a plant around to each student in the classroom. After the plant model walked around and students made their observations, “audience members” raised either a happy face emoji, sad face emoji, or “meh” face emoji of their own creation. Their mission: to influence the decisions of the judges who had to make a quick decision based on consensus. 

One of the classes also had the opportunity to play fire tag outside, learning the fire cycle and its impacts on the native forests of Hawaiʻi. As a special treat, Pablo performed a slam poetry piece for the students - a nice incentive for being a well-behaved class. 

Kamaile Academy 7-9th Grade Fall Wildfire Lessons 9/9/16

Maui 4-H Tech Connect

NRCS representatives share about soil conservation.

HWMO’s Community Outreach Coordinator flew to Maui to meet with students and talk to them about wildfire ecology and preparedness. The event was put on by the Maui 4-H program, a University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension youth involvement program. The theme was appropriately titled: “Earth, Wind, and Fire.” You can guess which element HWMO covered!

Students, ranging from K-12, broke off into small groups to spend 20 minutes with each educator. Natural Resources Conservation Service, Island Energy Inquiry, Maui Electric, and Monsanto representatives were among those holding activities at the University of Hawaii Maui College campus. 

Firewise Plant characteristics that the students nailed during the activity.

Firewise Plant characteristics that the students nailed during the activity.

Although 20 minutes would fly by, Pablo was able to share quite a bit about the importance of preparing for wildfires. Students were able to grasp the concepts quickly and were able to play the Firewise Plant Game to familiarize themselves with native plants that can also serve as fire-buffers around the home. 

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