Hawaii Conservation Week

In an ideal world, everyone would celebrate and participate in some type of conservation effort or activity every day, whether it’s water conservation, energy conservation, environmental conservation or even cultural conservation. This week, the Hawaii Conservation Alliance is helping to make that possible by supporting and hosting daily Conservation Week events.

Conservation Week kicked off yesterday with a family fishing event at the Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe. The Garden shared their “catch ‘n’ release” program with the public from 10 am – 2 pm and provided fishing poles for participants. Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden celebrates the relationship between humans and our natural environment through their environmental activities, nature trails, crafts and camping programs.

Today, with the help of Kalihi-based non-profit KAUPA, community members began painting a mural along the Kalihi stream. KAUPA works to restore natural and cultural resources in Kalihi Valley, employing traditional Hawaiian watershed management practices in combination with scientific methods to improve the environmental quality of the region.

Tomorrow two evening events are planned. At 6 pm, Dr. Cynthia Stiles, the Assistant State Soil Scientist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will give a talk on soil surveys of Kahoolawe. The lecture will take place at ING Direct Café on Kalakaua Avenue in Honolulu. At 6:30, the Kokua Hawaii Foundation’s Plastic Free Schools program and Plastic Free Kailua are hosting a free screening of the award-winning film Bag It at Huakailani School for Girls in Kailua. Bag It addresses the issue of plastics, their effect on our environment, and urges viewers to consider the question, “Is your life too plastic?”. The first 30 attendees will receive a reusable grocery bag from Whole Foods.

On Wednesday at 6 pm, The ARTS at Marks Garage on Nuuanu Ave in Honolulu will host an opening reception celebrating the work of Haleakala National Park ranger and painter, Melissa Chimera. Chimera’s paintings of Hawaii’s rare plant and animal species will be on display through August 13, 2011. At 7 pm, UH Manoa’s Outreach College and Maxine Burkett, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy (ICAP), will be offering a lecture on climate change, its effect on the Asia-Pacific region, and how policy can provide solutions to the climate change problems we face.

From 5:45 – 6:30 pm on Thursday, Foster Botanical Gardens will host a free twilight concert. Attendees can listen to the Harp Ensemble while enjoying the beauty and serene green space created by the gardens.

If you missed the screening of Bag It in Kailua, you have another chance to see the film. Waimea Ocean Film Festival will have a free screening at 7 pm on Friday, in the Bakken Auditorium at Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu.

And if you also missed out on fishing at Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden, there will be a second free family fishing day on Saturday, from 10 am – 2 pm. Or you may consider attending one or two of the other conservation activities happening Saturday. From 9 – 11 am, ING Direct Café on Kalakaua will have a volunteer fair for those interested in learning about environmental opportunities available in Hawaii.

Or take a more immediately active approach to conservation and join the Saturday stream clean-up in Kalihi or the spearfishing tournament and charity fundraiser at Koolina. From 1 – 4 pm, conservation volunteers will malama the Kalihi stream bank and do some trail work, while artists paint the wall. Volunteers should contact kaupa4kalihi@hawaii.rr.com. Meanwhile, at Koolina, Westside Dive & Tackle will host the “Roi Reckoning” tournament to create awareness about the invasive species problem and invite participants to help keep invasive species populations in check. For more information, contact Westside Dive and Tackle at (808) 228-2295.

In addition to these activities, the Makai Watch Program will also be hosting a free observation and training session at Pupukea. Volunteers will learn about reporting violations and how to be the “eyes and ears” for the Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE), in an effort to better protect the Pupukea-Waimea region. For more information, email scubadrew@pupukeawaimea.org.

Whether or not you are able to attend one of these Conservation Week events, you can work to conserve Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources by hosting your own event or simply making a more conscious effort to conserve energy and water. Walk to the store rather than drive. Turn the lights out when you are not using them. Pick up rubbish in your neighborhood park or at the beach. Recycle. Refuse plastic bags at the store and carry a reusable tote instead. There are so many simple ways we can participate in conservation on a daily basis, now and in the future. Our beautiful, naturally unique and culturally rich islands are worth the effort.