Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Eruption’s 10th year, living history program highlight events in March

  • Photo courtesy of NPS A volunteer removes invasive Himalayan ginger from native rain forest.
  • MICHAEL SZOENYI/National Park Service Morning glory can become invasive.
  • MATT PATRICK/USGS The summit lava lake at Halema‘uma‘u Crater, which has been active since March 19, 2008.
  • Photo courtesy of NPS Actor Dick Hershberger portrays Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar, the founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
  • MICHAEL SZOENYI/National Park Service Kaula (Hawaiian cordage) made from ti leaf.
  • Photo courtesy of NPS Pu‘ohe, the Hawaiian trumpet.
  • Photo courtesy of NPS A Hawaiian top, or hu, made from kukui nut.
  • Photo courtesy of NPS Volunteers at Ka‘ena Point count humpback whales.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture, After Dark in the Park talks and other programs throughout March.

In addition, everyone is invited to lend a hand to save native rain forest through the park’s volunteer stewardship opportunities.


Park programs are free, but entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Hawaii Pacific Parks Association.

Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Stewardship at the Summit

Volunteer to help remove invasive, non-native plant species that prevent native plants from growing in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a World Heritage Site. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, rain gear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. Parental or guardian accompaniment or written consent is required for volunteers younger than 18. Visit the park website for additional planning details at www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/summit_stewardship.htm.

When: 8:45 a.m. March 3, 9, 16, 23 and 31

Where: Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at Kilauea Visitor Center on any of the above dates.

Stewardship of Kipukapuaulu

Help remove invasive at Kipukapuaulu, home to an astonishing diversity of native forest and understory plants. Bring clippers or pruners, sturdy gloves, a hat and water. Wear closed-toe shoes and clothing that could get permanently stained from morning glory sap. Be prepared for cool and wet or hot and sunny weather. New volunteer? Contact Marilyn Nicholson for more info at nickem@hawaii.rr.com.

When: 9:30 a.m. Thursdays, March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29

Where: Meet at the Kipukapuaulu parking lot, Mauna Loa Road, off Highway 11 in the park.

The First Ten Years of Kilauea Volcano’s Summit Eruption

March 19 marks the 10th anniversary of the volcanic vent that opened within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kilauea. During the past decade, the eruption has consisted of continuous degassing, occasional explosive events and a fluctuating lava lake in an open crater 640 feet by 840 feet in size and still growing. Join USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Matt Patrick as he recounts the first 10 years of Kilauea Volcano’s ongoing summit eruption, including an overview of what scientists have learned from it and the new techniques they use to monitor the lava lake and associated volcanic processes. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free (park entrance fees apply).

When: 7 p.m. March 6

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium

A Walk into the Past with Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar

Walk back to 1912 and meet the founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar, at the edge of Kilauea Volcano. Dressed in period costume, Ka‘u actor-director Dick Hershberger brings the renowned geologist to life. Jaggar will take you on a tour of his tiny lab located below the Volcano House to see original seismograph equipment and other early instruments. You’ll learn what motivated Jaggar to dedicate his life to the study of Hawaiian volcanoes and how his work helps save lives today. The living history program is supported by the Kilauea Drama Entertainment Network. To find out more, visit www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/walk_into_the_past.htm. Free (park entrance fees apply).

When: 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. March 6, 20 and 27. Each performance is about an hour.

Where: Meet at the Kilauea Visitor Center

Kaula (Hawaiian Cordage) Demonstration

Come and join Uncle Larry Kuamo‘o as he demonstrates how to make traditional cordage from native Hawaiian plants such as hau and hala. Kaula making was a necessary skill for making tools, wa‘a (canoes), hale (homes) and much more. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) workshops. Free.

When: 10 a.m.-noon March 14

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center lanai

Pu‘ohe (Hawaiian Bamboo Trumpet) Demonstration

The pu‘ohe is a Hawaiian bamboo trumpet. It has a deep sound somewhat like a conch shell, and similar to other native instruments, pu‘ohe requires the special spirit breath to produce the proper sound. Rangers and Hawaii Pacific Parks Association staff in Kahuku will help you make your own pu‘ohe. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) workshops. Free. The Kahuku Unit is a 50-minute drive south of the park’s main entrance, near mile marker 70.5 on Highway 11.

When: 10 a.m.-noon March 16

Where: Kahuku Unit

Tracking Lava Lakes with the Sounds from Bursting Gas Bubbles

Other volcanic systems around the word are similar to Kilauea Volcano’s Pu‘u ‘O‘o and Halema‘uma‘u craters. These churning lava lakes continuously emit gas bubbles that burst when they reach the surface. Volcano seismologist Greg Waite from Michigan Technological University uses the sounds of these bursting bubbles to investigate the rise and fall of lava lakes in volcanic conduits. Learn about his fascinating work with Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala, Villarrica Volcano in Chile and Kilauea. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

When: 7 p.m. March 27

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Hu (Hawaiian Top) Demonstration

Early Hawaiians devoted much of their time to games, amusement and relaxing. Top-spinning was an absorbing activity for children, and making hu (kukui nut top) was equally engaging. Rangers and staff from Hawaii Pacific Parks Association will help you make your own hu. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) workshops. Free.

When: 10 a.m.-noon March 28

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center lanai

Count Humpback Whales

Join us at Ka‘ena Point and count migratory humpback whales that swim by. The Sanctuary Ocean Count is a signature outreach project hosted annually by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. The count serves to promote public awareness about humpback whales, the sanctuary and shore-based whale-watching opportunities in the Hawaiian Islands. Participants tally humpback whale sightings and document the animals’ surface behavior during the survey which provides valuable data to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Bring sun protection, water, snacks and a cushion to sit on. Register at www.sanctuaryoceancount.org. Free.


When: 7:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. March 31

Where: Ka‘ena Point, at the end of Chain of Craters Road

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