cultural preservation

HFD Battles Brush Fire at Hokulia Golf Course

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From the Source:

The Hawaii‘i Fire department arrived at the scene of a half-acre brush fire at 5:07 p.m. on Monday, March 11, 2019, between two fairways at the Hokulia Golf Course near the bottom of Halekii Street.

The area contained a heavy fuel load, including keawe, haole koa and pili grass. Access was challenging access due to archeological and cultural sites.

Firefighters were unable to cut a firebreak across bottom of fire due to numerous archeological and historical sites.

750 Trees Find New Homes in the Mountains of Waianae

“Dozens of volunteers got down and dirty to plant roughly 750 trees on Oahu’s west side.” Credit: DLNR.

“Dozens of volunteers got down and dirty to plant roughly 750 trees on Oahu’s west side.” Credit: DLNR.

Important work being done by our partners from the Waianae Mountains Watershed Partnership and DLNR to reforest Waianae Kai State Forest Reserve, which will create a more resilient landscape and reduce the wildfire risk in the area. If you want to get involved with the planting events, you’re asked to contact coordinator Yumi Miyata at (808) 227-9545, or wmwpcoordinator@gmail.com.

From the Source:

“The Enterprise Urban Tree Initiative brings our employees together to volunteer in communities like Waianae that have been devastated by natural disasters, such as wildfires,” said Chris Sbarbaro, Enterprise Hawaii Vice President of External Affairs. “We support the Arbor Day Foundation and its partners in their efforts to build strong communities from the ground up and create a sustainable and inclusive future for all.”

The need to restore Oahu’s west side comes as a dry spell started to hit Nanakuli, and is likely to move toward Waianae during the normally hot and dry summer months.

“Unfortunately, wildfires have become more frequent in Waianae. The cycle of infrequent, heavy rain followed by dry, hot and windy weather creates the perfect conditions for fast-moving, intense fire. A recent fire in August 2018 burned more than 1,500 acres of the forest reserve, threatening native forests important for water recharge,” said Yumi Miyata, Waiʻanae Mountains Watershed Partnership Coordinator and Chair of Hawaii Association of Watershed Partnerships.

Earth Day at PTA

“Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization's Pablo Beimler, right explains the effects of wildfires to Connections Public Charter School students Friday at Pohakuloa Training Area's Earth Day. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)”

“Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization's Pablo Beimler, right explains the effects of wildfires to Connections Public Charter School students Friday at Pohakuloa Training Area's Earth Day. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)”

From the Source:

All students from all schools, as well as the general public, were invited to the military training area for the opportunity to see how PTA cares for the multitude of resources within the 210-square-mile area, he said.

“We want to educate people on what we do take care of the resources,” he said.

According to Marquez, the Army’s contracted Natural and Cultural Resources Program has more than 40 staffers who monitor 26 threatened and endangered species and more than 1,200 cultural sites.

In addition to PTA’s stations, about a dozen local businesses and organizations — including Bike Works, Blue Planet Research, W.M. Keck Observatory and Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization — took part.

Integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge and World Renewal Ceremonies into Fire Adaptation: An Indigenous Stewardship Model

"Shown in this image is a California-hazel-stem basket holding tanoak acorns that were collected from the 2015 Klamath River Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) burn area. Also shown is a Karuk woman’s “work” basket cap and an acorn cooking paddle made of Pacific maple. These are a few of the resources used by Karuk women to gather and prepare acorn soup. This burn reduced acorn pests, cleared out surface and ladder fuels to improved acorn gathering, and maintained the tanoak cavity at the base of this older tree. Cavities like this are important habitat for animals that hunt small game that eat acorns. "  Credit: Frank Lake, USDA Forest Service and Karuk Tribe.

"Shown in this image is a California-hazel-stem basket holding tanoak acorns that were collected from the 2015 Klamath River Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) burn area. Also shown is a Karuk woman’s “work” basket cap and an acorn cooking paddle made of Pacific maple. These are a few of the resources used by Karuk women to gather and prepare acorn soup. This burn reduced acorn pests, cleared out surface and ladder fuels to improved acorn gathering, and maintained the tanoak cavity at the base of this older tree. Cavities like this are important habitat for animals that hunt small game that eat acorns. "

Credit: Frank Lake, USDA Forest Service and Karuk Tribe.

In Hawaii, traditional ecological knowledge plays a critical role in the path forward towards more resilient and vibrant landscapes and communities. For example, restoring native dryland plants that are culturally significant along watersheds and even around your own home, helps to also reduce fire threats and impacts to our communities, lands, and waters. Hawaii is not alone in integrating traditional ecological knowledge with fire adaptation, there are many other great examples globally, including in the mainland U.S.:

From the Source: 

"The Karuk Tribe’s Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and belief systems are constructed and preserved in the form of stories, practices, performances and ongoing interactions with the natural world. Among such rituals include our World Renewal Ceremonies, which the Karuk Tribe has practiced since time immemorial. These ceremonies have been passed down for millennia, and are a key part of our local communities’ social fabric. They link human practices like fishing, hunting and gathering to responsibility. They also ceremonially align our culture with ecosystem process and function. In our worldview, cultural resources have a life, as do the people using them. Each life deserves consideration when planning projects, including fire adaptation projects."

Family Behind Hawaiian Fire-Throwing Ritual Apologizes for Brush Fire

Makana Fire. Photo Credit: Richard Berry / KFVE

Makana Fire. Photo Credit: Richard Berry / KFVE

We commend the family who accidentally ignited the fire for taking the courage and responsibility for publically apologizing for their actions. We deeply respect that reviving ancient cultural practices is important, but it is still critical to be aware of your surroundings and dry/windy conditions whether building an imu or practicing ʻOahi O Makana. Vegetation and climate conditions have changed drastically over the centuries (even more so in the past few decades). Many wet forests were once ecosystems covered with native forests that had very few wildfire occurrences if any. However, much of these forests have been taken over by much more fire-prone, invasive species and have experienced more and more days of drier conditions than before. We must continue to adapt to these changing conditions whether it is through vegetation control methods or cultural practices, etc. This fire will hopefully continue these important conversations. We are interested to hear your thoughts. Please share your comments below.

From the Source:

"'It wasn't an intention to start anything to hurt anybody or to stop any roads. There was never that intention. If that happened on behalf of the family we apologize,' McCarthy said.

Ancient Hawaiians held the ceremony to mark great occasions and special ceremonies.

'This is something they mentally, physically have to prepare themselves for,' McCarthy said.

The pair carried Hau branches to light, twirl and throw. McCarthy thinks wind grabbed the embers and blew them back onto the mountain."

Hawaii Island Firefighters Contain 1,600-Acre Kau Blaze

"This photo, taken in the Mark Twain subdivision, shows a fire that was reported near Waikapuna Bay." (Photo courtesy/Alan Gervasi)

"This photo, taken in the Mark Twain subdivision, shows a fire that was reported near Waikapuna Bay." (Photo courtesy/Alan Gervasi)

Even with terrain that was very difficult to access and unfavorable windy and dry conditions, firefighters were able to put out this large wildfire between Waikapuna Bay and Naalehu town in Kau. Mahalo to all of the first responders for their courage and persistence!

From the Source:

"Hawai‘i Island firefighters finally contained a large brush fire on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, that started on Thursday along the coastline between Waikapuna Bay and Na‘alehu town in the Ka‘ū District."

"The fire continued to burn through uneven terrain with variable fuel-vegetation mixtures.

The rugged terrain in the area enables only limited 4-by-4 vehicle access and air access.

The area is primarily cattle pasture, with some native trees and archeology."

From Forest Failure to Restoration Success in 20 Years

"The dark green patches of land are the result of a 20-year dryland forest restoration project on ʻUlupalakua Ranch lands in Auwahi, Maui." Credit - Dr. Art Medeiros

"The dark green patches of land are the result of a 20-year dryland forest restoration project on ʻUlupalakua Ranch lands in Auwahi, Maui." Credit - Dr. Art Medeiros

Collaboration and community volunteers play a crucial role in reviving Hawaii's disappearing native dryland forests, of which there are less than 3% left. We are inspired by all those involved in the Auwahi Forest Restoration Project. Restoring native forests means restoring our watersheds, which reduces wildfire and flood risk. 

From the Source:

“Why should people be concerned about dry forests? They’re identified as one of the world’s biological hotspots just for the number of species that occur there and nowhere else,” says Medeiros,”Culturally it’s really special too. It’s the last stronghold for many Hawaiian trees that were super important to the early Hawaiians.”

“If we lose the plants, to me, we use the colors and the perfumes and even the ability to make things out of the wood.”

Hawaiian Birds Rapidly Colonize Young Restoration Forest

Hawai‘i ‘Elepaio. Credit: Kelly Jaenecke, USGS. Public domain.

Hawai‘i ‘Elepaio. Credit: Kelly Jaenecke, USGS. Public domain.

Restoring our forests has many positive outcomes, including bringing back rainwater to our parched landscapes and thus reducing wildfire risk. Native forests are also home to wildlife. We're excited to hear of the successful bird repopulation efforts of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge!

We will have an exciting silent auction item -- one of many -- at the Firefighter Chili Cook-Off on August 26 to go bird watching at Puʻu ʻOʻo. 

From the Source:

"Researchers used bird survey data collected over 26 years at the refuge to document how a diverse community of birds responded to the nearly 30 years of restoration efforts on the refuge. Their analysis revealed that most bird species increased in number throughout the restoration area, with the greatest increases detected in areas closest to intact forest where the density and diversity of understory shrubs was greatest."

"As temperatures rise with climate change, the area where the transmission of avian malaria is hindered by cooler temperatures will shrink, meaning the restoration of high-elevation forests may be one of the most important conservation tools to protect Hawaii’s native birds.

'We have a clearer picture of how we can facilitate expansion of particular bird species into reforestation areas by creating particular plant communities; this will help us ensure that Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge can continue to be a stronghold for Hawaiian forest birds,' said Kendall."

Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness in Kona Kicks Off Wildfire Season

Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness. Credit: Hawaii DLNR

Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness. Credit: Hawaii DLNR

We are excited to say that not only was HWMO's Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness a success on May 6, but it also received statewide media attention. One of the highlights of the event was the official launch of Wildfire Lookout!, a multi-partner coordinated statewide wildfire prevention and preparedness campaign. Mahalo to KHON2, KITV, and Big Island Video News for coverage of the event, and a very special mahalo to Department of Land and Natural Resources for documenting the day's proceedings and sharing with the media.

From the Sources:

"'In the end, all of us are impacted by wildfire. It’s just that some of those impacts are more invisible than others, so people aren’t quite as aware,' Elizabeth Pickett, executive director of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, said.

Pickett says over 25-percent of the state has been invaded by non-native, fire-prone grasses and shrubs.

That percentage grows as fires consume native forests which are then taken over by those invasive species." - KHON2
 

"The importance of land and homeowners to be fire ready is the theme of National Community Wildfire Preparedness Day events and activities across the country today. At the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area on Hawai‘i Island’s west side, Elizabeth Pickett watched as several non-profit organizations set up booths and exhibits for the first-ever Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness. Pickett is the executive director of the Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO), which with DLNR, and two dozen other State and federal government organizations and various non-profits are supporting the second year of a public and media awareness campaign: Wildfire LOOKOUT!

Pickett explained to people who dropped by the HWMO booth, that just because they may never have personally experienced a wildfire close to their home or property, that doesn’t mean they weren’t impacted. She explained, “Especially in our island environment the negative impacts of a wildfire in a specific location usually has detrimental impacts many miles away that can persist for years and even decades. You often hear people refer to 'mauka to makai,' and that effect pertains to wildfire. Once land is stripped of trees and vegetation it becomes much more prone to erosion and the introduction of invasive species and soot and sediment can wash from mountain forests to the sea where it can choke out life in coral reefs.'

Big Island State Representative Cindy Evans emphasized the need for everyone in Hawai‘i to become aware of these impacts and to do their part to prevent wildland fires. She’s seen first- hand the devastation and destruction, these often fast moving fires cause. Evans said, 'Even the loss of one home is one too many when you consider that with a little awareness, people truly can prevent wildland fires.'" - Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (picked up by Big Island Video News)

Wildfires Are Essential: The Forest Service Embraces a Tribal Tradition

"Rony Reed, a Karuk tribal member, participates in a burn at Bacon Flat in Orleans, California. Photo by Stormy Staats / Klamath Salmon Media Collaborativemaker."

"Rony Reed, a Karuk tribal member, participates in a burn at Bacon Flat in Orleans, California. Photo by Stormy Staats / Klamath Salmon Media Collaborativemaker."

This was a really interesting read that highlights Karuk and their use of community-based prescribed burning as part of a larger cultural and ecological renaissance and to change the narrative on certain misconceptions about their relationship to fire. The article also highlights how the merging of science and culture are essential, especially in the face of climate change.

From the Source:

"This marks the third year the Karuk have helped run and organize the community burning program, a joint venture between the tribe and several groups, including a local watershed council and the nonprofit Nature Conservancy, which uses the burn as part of its own national training program in controlled burning. For the Karuk, the program marks a historic turn from years of being labeled as arsonists for lighting the fires that belief says they are required to perform. It’s also a tribute to the fact that controlled or prescribed burning is becoming in vogue among scientific and resource management circles. The Karuk hope their young fire program will be the start of a sustainable, community-based effort leading to a cultural and ecological revival for the tribe."

'Good Neighbors' Help to Fight Fires in Remote Kahikinui Homestead

Excellent, in-depth article of the recent PFX Field Tour of Kahikinui, the community's history and past struggles with large wildfires, and the bright future ahead of them for their preparedness efforts. Mahalo to the Maui News for the great coverage and to Leeward Haleakala Watershed Partnership and Pacific Fire Exchange for coordinating the field tour.

From the Source:

"There have been some smaller meetings with the community and adjacent landowners in the past, but this was the first time so many people with such a broad range of experience and interest in collaboration came together that I'm aware of," said Andrea Buckman, coordinator for the Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, who organized the event along with the Pacific Fire Exchange.

Kahikinui resident Ainoa Kaiaokamalie and others joined Pacific Fire Exchange, Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, and a variety of other stakeholders for the field tour. Photo Credit: The Maui News

Kahikinui resident Ainoa Kaiaokamalie and others joined Pacific Fire Exchange, Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, and a variety of other stakeholders for the field tour. Photo Credit: The Maui News

"In the meantime, grant funding is also an option for the community. One available program is the U.S. Forest Service Wildland Urban Interface grant, which provides funding for projects related to fire education, planning and prevention. Through this grant, the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization already has $5,000 for a fuel reduction project in Kahikinui that must be matched by cash or volunteer hours."

"Currently, Kahikinui is working to become a certified Firewise Community through the help of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization. Pablo Beimler, the organization's community outreach coordinator, said that he expects Kahikinui to receive its certification by the end of the year. Being certified would help push Kahikinui higher on grant funding lists and could reduce insurance costs in the future, he said.

Trauernicht said that the prevention projects being considering 'are always cheaper in the long run' when compared to the costs of restoring forests, livestock fuel and homes."

Indonesia Uses Trained Elephants to Control Forest Fires

"In this Sunday, Nov. 10, 2015 photo, forestry officials ride on the back of an elephant as they patrol an area affected by forest fire in Siak, Riau province, Indonesia." (AP Photo/Rony Muharrman)

The elephant plays an important role in the lifestyles of many people in Southeast Asia - and in ways you might have never imagined. Elephants as part of a fire crew? Check.

From the Source:

"Officials in Indonesia are using trained elephants outfitted with water pumps and hoses to help control fires that have claimed vast amounts of forest while sending thick haze into neighboring countries.

For nearly three months, Riau province in East Sumatra has been blanketed by smoke from forest fires and land clearing, especially in peat-rich areas where flames are difficult to contain.

At the elephant conservation center in Siak district, 23 trained elephants are being used as 'forest watchdogs.'"

HWMO VIDEO: Kawaihae Fire and Flood 2015 - Mauka to Makai Impacts

Post-fire debris smothers coastline near Mauumae Beach.

Starting on August 8th, Kawaihae experienced a brushfire that threatened local communities, businesses, and cultural sites. Over a week later, the impacts of the wildfire have reached another precious resource: our coastline. 

We just produced a short video demonstrating the mauka-to-makai effects of wildfire with recent footage and photographs documenting the post-fire floods that have and are continuing to have negative impacts on our nearshore resources including coral reefs.

At the end of the video is an important message about how you can join us in taking action to prevent troubling events like these.

Enjoy and make sure to spread this video and the messages in it to everyone you know!

The recent Kawaihae Fire burned over 4,500 acres of wildland in the Northwest region of Hawaii Island. The wildfire directly impacted local communities, businesses, and cultural sites. One week later, the wildfire impacted coastal resources through unprecedented levels of post-fire flooding.

Puukohola Heiau Cancels Cultural Festival

"90 percent of the vegetation on the park’s 80 acres. Pu‘ukoholā Heiau is in the background. (NPS photo)"

"90 percent of the vegetation on the park’s 80 acres. Pu‘ukoholā Heiau is in the background. (NPS photo)"

Due to the recent brushfire in Kawaihae and the need to continue to assess damages to the cultural sites, Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site will remain closed and will cancel the Hookuikahi Establishment Day Hawaiian Cultural Festival, scheduled for Aug. 15 and 16.

From the Source:

"The 43rd annual Ho‘oku‘ikahi Establishment Day Hawaiian Cultural Festival will not be rescheduled this year. Instead, the National Park Service said in a media release:

… the public is encouraged to save the date for next year’s festival, scheduled for Aug. 13 & 14, 2016. Next year also marks the 225th anniversary of the completion of the heiau in 1791, and the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service.

'We regret the inconvenience of having to close temporarily and for having to cancel the festival that so many enjoy,' said Superintendent Kawaiaea. 'As always, our priority is the safety of park staff, our visitors, and the practitioners,' he said."

Kawaihae Fire Continues Up Kohala Mountains

A view of the burned land around the main heiau at Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site. The National Park Service said the building suffered no apparent damage. National Park Service photo

A view of the burned land around the main heiau at Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site. The National Park Service said the building suffered no apparent damage. National Park Service photo

The large Kawaihae Fire that burned from makai to mauka with swirling winds continues to burn upslope. Stay tuned to updates from Civil Defense - flare-ups  are always a possibility so it's important to stay vigilant!

Thankfully, our communities were spared from major damage and although the Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site lost much of its vegetation, including native plants, we're happy to hear that the actual heiau structures were left unscathed.

From the Source:

"'Puukohola Heiau, the massive stone temple where King Kamehameha the Great launched his successful quest to unite the Hawaiian Islands in 1810, did not sustain any damage in the fire, nor did the older Mailekini Heiau below it. The homestead site of British sailor John Young, who served as King Kamehameha’s adviser, also appears unscathed,' the NPS wrote in a press release.

The fire burned 90 percent of the native and non-native vegetation of the 80-acre park.

The brush fire came within 'a few feet of the visitor’s center and park headquarters,' the NPS wrote, but firefighters halted it. Both lack phone and Internet service, but the visitor center still has water and electricity."

Firefighters Protect Wahiawa Homes as 2nd Fire Burns Native Forest

Uluhe fern. Credit - Star Advertiser

Wildfires in Wahiawa are demonstrating what's at stake in Hawaii: protecting communities AND native forests. 

"The resident said 'chunks of ash' also blew through the air, settling on her yard and pressing through her screen windows."

Just goes to show how important Hardening Your Home and Lightening Your Landscape is!

From the Source:

"Firefighters worked through the night to beat back flames from a wildfire in Wahiawa that initially threatened homes Sunday afternoon. 

Meanwhile, another fire, burning in steep and rugged terrain in the Ewa Forest Reserve above Wahiawa, burned through native trees and ferns grew to 75 acres Sunday."

"The fire spread rapidly Sunday 'because of two key challenges,' Ward said. 'Strong winds are helping to spread the fire, and, second, steep terrain.'

She said the land features '60 percent native forest, including koa and ohia trees and, in the understory (below the forest canopy), uluhe ferns.'"

Waikoloa Breeze July 2015 - Goat Dozing and Future of WVA Owned Lands; Pohinahina

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We're featured in the Waikoloa Breeze's General Manager Report for July 2015. GM Roger Wehrsig of Waikoloa Village Association recaps our latest project clearing portions of association-owned lands within the Village using "goat-dozers." 

Also, check out our "Native Firewise Plant of the Month" section highlighting Pohinahina, a great Firewise ground-cover that also acts as a soil stabilizer and grows quite quickly in dry areas.

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Click to enlarge.

New Community Partnership on Hawaii Island Aims to Improve Water Quality

"Rocky coastline on Hawaii Island." Credit - UH Manoa

"Rocky coastline on Hawaii Island." Credit - UH Manoa

We are excited to be a partner of UH Sea Grant and South Kohala Coastal Partnership for this incredible project. Post-fire erosion has always been a major concern for HWMO, so we linked up with Sierra Tobiason and the rest of the partnership for this forward-thinking project to provide any help we could, including funding support for fuels reduction (which has taken place at a couple of sites within the last month.) 

From the Source:

"The two-year Wai 2 Kai project will take place at five sites along the Waikoloa stream and within the Wai‘ula‘ula Watershed. At these sites volunteers will be recruited to install and maintain raingardens, participate in stream and beach clean-ups, remove invasive plant species, and help the project reach its goal of planting 20,000 native plants."

These native plant restoration and Wai 2 Kai volunteer activities were designed to not only restore and improve water quality, but to encourage long-lasting stewardship and understanding of the importance of healthy watersheds.

Said Tobiason, 'The organizations, agencies and community groups of the South Kohala Coastal Partnership have been instrumental in helping to develop collaborative stewardship opportunities to improve the water quality from wai to kai -- the stream to the ocean. It is very exciting to have so much community involvement and partnership support in this project as we work together to improve water quality and reduce impacts to coral reef ecosystems.'"

Waikoloa Breeze June 2015 - Wildfire Prep Day Review, Volunteer of Month, Goat Dozing

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This month's Waikoloa Breeze featured HWMO a number of times. 

1) Wildfire Prep Day recap (pg. 4)
2) Volunteer of the Month: Mark Gordon, Waikoloa CERT and active member of the Waikoloa Firewise Team. He has assisted in helping raise awareness for wildfires in the community, and has contributed to HWMO efforts through a variety of ways. Congratulations Mark! Thanks for all you do! (pg. 8)
3) Update on goat-dozing for fuels reduction within the community's vacant lots - a project we're helping fund and support. (pg. 24)

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Click to Enlarge

Initial 2015 BioBlitz Results

We had the opportunity to be a part of this incredible event, as one of the outreach booths at the Cultural Festival. Find out more about what we did at the event.

From the Source:

"Student inventory. Photo credit: Chris Johns/National Geographic."

"Student inventory. Photo credit: Chris Johns/National Geographic."

"Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park held the ninth of 10 annual BioBlitz events over the weekend. The events are hosted by National Geographic and the National Park Service and have spanned the entire country over the past decade. According to HVNP officials, the events are leading up the NPS’s centennial in 2016.

The 2015 event, which was a combined BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival, hosted more than 6,000 people including more than 850 school-aged children. During the event, more than 170 scientists and traditional Hawaiian practitioners came together to conduct a comprehensive inventory of the plants, insects, mammals, birds, and other species that inhabit HVNP. Officials say the program gathers a 'vivid snapshot of the unique plant and animal biodiversity in the park.'"

"'The BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival presented an incredible opportunity to connect the community with leading scientists, international sister parks, and cultural practitioners this weekend,' said park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. 'This even embodies our National Park Service centennial mission to encourage everyone to Find Your Park – literally – by exploring and understanding our vital connection to our natural world.'