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​Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Fee-free weekends, Merrie Monarch events offered in April

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs with the public throughout 2017.

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs with the public throughout 2017.

Two consecutive fee-free weekends celebrate National Park Week in April, and many programs honor the 54th anniversary of the Merrie Monarch Festival.

After Dark and Hawaiian cultural programs are free, but entrance fees apply except for the fee-free weekends and Kahuku events. Programs are co-sponsored by Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hawaii Pacific Parks Association.

Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Endangered Marine Wildlife: Threats & Mitigation Measures

What do monk seals, green sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles and false killer whales have in common? They are all endangered marine wildlife found in waters around Hawaii Island. Susannah Welch of the Marine Wildlife Program shares innovative ways to protect species, including the promotion of barbless hooks and their usefulness is sustaining the fisheries of Hawaii. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center auditorium

Hei Demonstration

Hei are traditional Hawaiian string figures and are used with oli (chants) to tell stories and connect with the elements around us. No‘el Tagab-Cruz teaches the protocol and meaning behind this intriguing practice. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) workshops. Free.

When: 10 a.m.-noon April 12

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center lanai

National Park Week Fee-Free Weekends

Come celebrate “America’s Best Idea” and explore your national parks for free — two consecutive weekends!

When: April 15-16 and April 22-23

Where: All fee-charging national parks are free, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park in Kona and Haleakala National Park on Maui.

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day

Keiki 17 and younger and their families are invited to explore Pu‘u o Lokuana Trail in the park’s Kahuku Unit and practice their GPS skills. Darlyne Vierra also will share Kahuku’s compelling paniolo history. Call 985-6019 to register by Friday. Bring lunch, snacks, water, light rain gear, reusable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, long pants and shoes. Sponsored by the park and the Hawaii Pacific Parks Association. Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5 and meet near the parking area. Free.

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 15

Where: Kahuku Unit

Celebrate World Heritage Day with a Wilderness Hike

Hawaii Volcanoes was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 for its outstanding natural values. To commemorate World Heritage Day this month, join a ranger-guided hike into Kilauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone wilderness. This challenging 14-mile, seven-hour, round-trip interpretive trek includes Makaopuhi Crater, the 1965 and 1969 lava flows, a centuries-old archaeological site, the hapu‘u pulu (fern) processing area and Napau Crater. For more information, call 985-6017. Hikers must bring 4 liters of water per person, lunch and snacks, sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots, long pants, sunscreen, hat and rain gear. Free.

When: 9 a.m. April 15 (a fee-free weekend)

Where: Meet ranger at the Mauna Ulu parking lot, off Chain of Craters Road

Tuesday’s Special Merrie Monarch Festival Events

Join us as we celebrate and honor the 54th Merrie Monarch Festival, the annual hula competition of Hilo. Practitioners on Tuesday will share lau hala (weaving of the pandanus leaf), lomilomi (traditional Hawaiian massage), hu kukui (Hawaiian spinning top game) and ulana niu (coconut leaf weaving). Falsetto singer Kai Ho‘opi‘i performs. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) workshops. Free.

When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. April 18

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center lanai

The Value of Plantation-Era Archives in Today’s World

From the 1850s to the 1990s, big sugar plantations dominated the agricultural landscape of Hawaii Island. The Edmund Olson Trust Archive is home to an amazing array of maps, records and documents from these plantations and it traces an important part of island history. John Cross of the Olson Trust will lead a visual journey through these irreplaceable historic resources and the era that was “Big Sugar.” Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

When: 7 p.m. April 18

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Wednesday’s Special Merrie Monarch Festival Events

Join us as we celebrate and honor the 54th Merrie Monarch Festival, the annual hula competition of Hilo. Practitioners on Wednesday will share the arts of lei making (wili and hulu styles), pala‘ie (Hawaiian ball and hoop game), and kapala mea ulu (Hawaiian plant stamping). The Young Brothers will perform local melodies. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) workshops. Free.

When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. April 19

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center lanai

Kai Ho‘opi‘i in Concert

Enjoy an evening of Hawaiian music and the leo nahenahe (sweet voice) of Kai Ho‘opi‘i, an Aloha Festival Hawaiian falsetto contest winner. Kai will share the traditions and music of his ‘ohana from Kahakuloa, Maui. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ongoing Na Leo Manu (Heavenly Voices) presentations. Free.

When: 6:30-8 p.m. April 19

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center auditorium

Thursday’s Special Merrie Monarch Festival Events

Join us as we celebrate and honor the 54th Merrie Monarch Festival, the annual hula competition of Hilo. Practitioners on Thursday will share the arts of lei making, haku hulu (Hawaiian featherwork), ‘ohe kapala (bamboo stamping) and kuku kapa (making fabric from bark cloth). Multiple Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning composer, singer and musician Kenneth Makuakane will perform. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) workshops. Free.

When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. April 20

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center lanai

National Park Rx Day

Join the growing movement to prescribe parks and nature for the improvement of our health. Among the “prescriptions” are: a morning yoga session with Danielle Makaike from 9-10 a.m.; various presentations including lomilomi (Hawaiian massage) and kalo (taro) from 10 a.m.-noon; and a “Walk with a Doc” from noon-1 p.m. with Dr. Craig Kadooka. Other presenters include Hilo Medical Center, HMSA Community Engagement, state Department of Health and Hui Malama Ola Na ‘Oiwi.

When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. April 23

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center lanai

Kilauea Volcano’s Summit Eruption: Nine Years and Counting

On March 19, 2008, a new volcanic vent opened in Halema‘uma‘u Crater at Kilauea Volcano’s summit. Nine years later, the eruption continues. The vent has grown to a gaping crater that’s roughly 195 by 255 meters (about 640 by 840 feet) in size. A lava lake within the vent rises and falls, with spattering on the lake surface sometimes visible from the Jaggar Museum observation deck. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Matt Patrick presents an update and overview on the summit eruption, including stunning imagery. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

When: 7 p.m. April 25

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Weave Ulana Niu (Coconut Fronds)

Learn how to weave coconut fronds into useful and beautiful items. The coconut palm is one of the most useful and important plants in the world. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) workshops. Free.

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When: 10 a.m.-noon April 26

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center lanai

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