Categorized | Education, Entertainment, Featured

Hawaiian Rain Forest Stamp ceremony, free park entrance Wednesday (Sept 1)

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On Wednesday, September 1, 2010, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park partners with the US Postal Service in a special event—the First-Day-Issue of the Nature of America: Hawaiian Rain Forest Stamp.

The official unveiling ceremony will be held at the hula platform near the Kilauea Visitor Center from 11 am to noon and include remarks by Senator Daniel Inouye, Lt. Governor Duke Aiona, Mayor Billy Kenoi, and US Postal Service Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Donahoe.

Stamp artist John Dawson, a Hilo resident, will share his perspectives on inspiration for the artwork; Kumu Hula Ab Kawainohoikala‘i Valencia and Halau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu will offer an oli and hula; and Waiakea High School Navy JROTC Color Guard will conduct Presentation of Colors.

The US Postal Service will sell and cancel the Hawaiian Rain Forest stamp panes and stamped postal cards from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm on the Kilauea Visitor Center lanai.

The event is free and park entrance fees will be waived until noon.

The Hawaiian Rain Forest is the 12th and final stamp pane in the US Postal Service Nature of America series, an educational series focusing on the beauty and complexity of major plant and animal communities in the United States. Dawson painted all scenes in the series.

The setting for this stamp pane is a rain forest on the island of Hawai‘i. To illustrate the spectacular biodiversity of this ecosystem, Dawson depicted more than 24 different plant and animal species in his colorful acrylic painting.

The leaves and branches of mature ‘ohi‘a lehua trees dominate the forest canopy. Below, the lush understory is dense with ferns, saplings, flowering trees, and shrubs.

Colorful blossoms attract honeycreepers such as the scarlet ‘i‘iwi, whose long, curved bill allows it to reach the nectar of tubular haha flowers. An ‘amakihi sips the nectar of red ‘ohi‘a lehua blossoms, while an ‘akepa glides toward the same tree, where it will glean insects from leaf buds. The Hawaiian thrush known as ‘oma‘o prefers fruits and berries.

Small insects and spiders are visible near the bottom and center of the painting. A Kamehameha butterfly lays eggs on the leaves of mamaki, its primary host plant. Among the smallest creatures is the happyface spider, shown in extreme close-up at lower right in the painting.

Only one mammal—the ‘ope‘ape‘a, or Hawaiian hoary bat—is native to the rain forests of Hawai‘i. This fast-flying, insect-eating bat gets its name from the frosty appearance of its grayish-brown fur.

A description of the rain forest and a numbered key to the artwork appear on the back of the stamp pane, along with a corresponding list of common and scientific names for 24 selected species.

Previous Nature of America issuances were Sonoran Desert (1999), Pacific Coast Rain Forest (2000), Great Plains Prairie (2001), Longleaf Pine Forest (2002), Arctic Tundra (2003), Pacific Coral Reef (2004), Northeast Deciduous Forest (2005), Southern Florida Wetland (2006), Alpine Tundra (2007), Great Lakes Dunes (2008), and Kelp Forest (2009).

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