The Ka‘ūpūlehu Dryland Forest site is located in the North Kona District on the island of Hawai‘i, which is approximately 10 miles north-northeast of Kailua-Kona. Since 1993, the Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association, HFI’s affiliate, has managed Ka‘ūpūlehu Dryland Forest. The management of the forest was initially coordinated by the Dryland Forest Working Group (DFWG), a coalition of landowners, non-profit organizations, government agencies and committed individuals. The ongoing work at Ka‘ūpūlehu fulfills a critical need for a mature tropical dryland forest demonstration site that provides education and inspiration for others, and is an important model where there are few others. One important program at the Ka‘ūpūlehu Dryland Forest site is the Ho‘ola Ka Makana‘a (Healing the Place Budding Out of the Lava). This Outreach and Education program provides hands-on forest stewardship opportunities for the Hawai‘i Island youth. Ho‘ola Ka Makana‘a is one of four restoration and education components.
Another educational program, called Aupaka o Wao Lama, was a “learn while doing” place-based stewardship education partnership, integrating cultural ecology and science ecology. The primary sites of activity were: 1) The community “Piko” area of the native plant Aupaka Preserve, within Hawaiian Homelands of La‘i‘Ōpua Village; 2) The L2020 Kau I Ka Mālie Cultural and Technical Center at Kealakehe High School; and 3) The cultural ecology outdoor learning site of Ho‘ola Ka Makana‘ā, Ka‘ūpūlehu.
In addition to its educational programs, HFI received funds to create two interpretive audio signs at the Kalaemanō Interpretive Center, which is a gateway to exploring the historic and environmental connections of the mauka (mountain) and makai (shoreline) environments of the Ka‘ūpūlehu area. The objectives of the the Ka‘ūpūlehu Dryland Forest site are to:
- Manage the restoration of remnant dryland forests in Ka‘ūpūlehu and nearby properties;
- Offer a mature tropical dryland forest demonstration site that provides education and inspiration for others;
- Create Outreach and Education programs to provide hands-on forest stewardship opportunities for Hawai‘i Island and visiting youth.
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