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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Stewardship, healthy foods, lomilomi, whale counts on tap in February

  • ​​National Park Service A humpback whale demonstrating a fluke up dive off Kaena Point 2015.

  • National Park Service

    Lomi massage incorporates the Hawaiian concept of aloha to promote personal harmony.

  • National Park Service

    Edna Baldado will show how to eat and live healthier with native Hawaiian foods, such as kalo (taro).

  • A hike for Chinese-speaking visitors will pass through Akanikolea (Steaming Bluff).

    JANICE WEI/National Park Service

  • JANICE WEI/National Park Service

    Protect Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and remove invasive plants from native rain forest.

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

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

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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 age 18. Visit the park website for additional planning details: www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/summit_stewardship.htm.

When: 8:45 a.m. Feb. 17 and 19

Where: Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at Kilauea Visitor Center on either date.

Stewardship of Kipukapuaulu

Help remove invasive, non-native plant species every Thursday 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 you don’t mind getting permanently stained from morning glory sap. Be prepared for cool and wet or hot and sunny weather. New volunteer? Contact Marilyn Nicholson at nickem@hawaii.rr.com.

When: 9:30 a.m. Feb. 15 and 22

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

Chinese New Year Guided Hikes – in Chinese!

Chinese-speaking visitors are invited to join Hawaii Volcanoes National Park volunteer Janice Wei on an easy 2-mile round-trip guided hike of Ha‘akulamanu (Sulphur Banks) to the edge of Kilauea Caldera at Akanikolea (Steaming Bluff) to celebrate the Year of the Dog. The park is a popular destination for Chinese who travel for the annual Chinese New Year holiday. Wei, who was born in China and speaks Mandarin fluently, is an ideal guide. Note: People with respiratory or heart issues, infants, young children and pregnant women should avoid Sulphur Banks because of high levels of naturally occurring volcanic gas. Free.

When: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. today (Feb. 13) and Feb. 16 and 18

Where: Meet at Kilauea Visitor Center

New Geochemical Tool Predicts Volcanic Unrest and Earthquake Activity

Did you know that dissolved gases are sometimes a precursor to volcanic activity? Until now, there has not been a reliable portable instrument to measure them. Gary McMurtry of the University of Hawaii will describe how the helium isotope instrument can save lives and mitigate societal costs of volcanic eruptions and major earthquakes. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

When: 7 p.m. today (Feb. 13)

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium

‘Ai Pono – Healthy Eating

Aunty Edna Baldad explains how to eat and live healthier with native Hawaiian foods such as kalo (taro), ‘uala (sweet potato) and ulu (breadfruit). Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) workshops. Free.

When: 10 a.m.-noon Wednesday (Feb. 14)

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center lanai

Lomilomi at Kahuku

A master lomilomi (Hawaiian massage) practitioner demonstrates and discusses the important spiritual and physical components of lomilomi in Kahuku. This style of massage incorporates the Hawaiian concept of aloha, which means to love, unify and breathe, to promote personal harmony. 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 Friday (Feb. 16)

Where: Kahuku Unit

Count Humpback Whales for the “Sanctuary Ocean Count” at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Join us at Ka‘ena Point and count migratory humpback whales that swim by. The Sanctuary Ocean Count is a signature outreach project that the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary hosts annually. Ocean 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 — valuable data used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Bring sun protection, water, snacks and a cushion to sit on. Free. Register at www.sanctuaryoceancount.org.

When: 7:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Feb. 24 and March 31

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

Tales of Early Ranching in Humu‘ula

Learn about the fascinating days of sheep and cattle ranching on the rough eastern slopes of Mauna Kea in the Humu‘ula ‘ahupua‘a (land section). Professor Peter Mills of the University of Hawaii at Hilo will share anecdotes and information he gathered during his decade of field work and research. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 27

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Lei Haku Demonstration

Learn how to create a lei haku, a method of lei making that involves braiding materials into a base of leaves. Part of Hawaii Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) workshops. Free.

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When: 10 a.m.-noon Feb. 28

Where: Kilauea Visitor Center lanai