Categorized | Environment

Rare dryland forest honored by youth

Hoolauna Kona students at Kaupulehu Dryland Forest after a long day's work. (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7 by Yvonne Yarber Carter)


There were no certificates, speeches or medals given, but this summer, youth between the ages of 11 to 23 and their adult leaders honored the rare dryland forest of Kaupulehu with the best tribute of all. In good spirit they gave time, energy and thoughtfulness-weeding, planting and most of all making new trails.

“The new trails serve as internal firebreaks and provide greater access into this ancient forest in order to care for the land,” said Outreach Coordinator Yvonne Yarber Carter.

However, work was not the only activity.

The learn-by-doing Ka Pilina Poina Ole – “Connections Not Forgotten” partnerships also provided events and resources to learn about mauka-makai connections and dryland ecosystems of which only about 5-percent remain in Hawaii.

Partnering – an antidote to difficult economic times – made this special summer possible. Mahalo is extended to the hardworking groups committed to cultural ecology that connects youth to the land.

Among the programs that brought honor to the forest this June and July were: Hoolauna Kona and Kulia I ka Pono (Kamehameha Schools), Na Kalai Waa, Imi Pono No Ka Aina (Three Mountain Alliance), Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC), East-West Center (via Kohala Center), and UH-Hilo.

The dryland forest outreach education and cultural ecology working team that facilitated events were: Wilds Pihanui Brawner, Yvonne Yarber Carter, Keoki Carter and interns Janelle Williams and Pua Whitehead. The site program and host was Hoola Ka Makanaa (Healing the Place Budding Out of the Lava) managed by the Hawaii Forest Industry Association (HFIA) and sponsored by Aina Ulu (KS-LAD).

A Bishop Museum education grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation & Improvement (Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations), is a major source of support for the “Connection Not Forgotten” program.

Additional supporters include Kamehameha Schools, Kaupulehu Cultural Center at Kalaemano, Nahelehele, Hawaii Community Foundation, Atherton Family Foundation and Hawaii Tourism Authority.

HFI’s mission is to improve and promote the health and productivity of Hawaii’s forests through educational programs and scientific research.

Established in 2003, HFI is a nonprofit organization founded by and for people committed to managing and maintaining healthy and productive forests.

The Ka Pilina Poina Ole – “Connections Not Forgotten” project falls under the Hawaii Forest Institute’s Tropical Reforestation & Ecosystems Education (TREE) Youth Education Program.

— Find out more:
Connections Not Forgotten:
Hoolauna Kona:

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