Break clear away

close to nature's heart- john muir

We hope you can break away to enjoy some wilderness this weekend.  As a reminder for our friends on the Big Island, the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo Discovery Forest is open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. every day except Christmas and New Years Day, and the admission is always FREE!  Just outside the bustle of Hilo, escape into an incredible Discovery Forest full of life, vibrancy and beauty.

The Hawai‘i Forest Institute (HFI) and the Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association (HFIA), along with community partners completed the first phase of the Pana‘ewa Zoo Discovery Forest project in 2011 and the second phase in 2013.  Over 300 community volunteers have participated in creating native and agro-forest demonstration gardens and interpretive signage.   HFI recently received funds from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority to initiate Phase III, which will include developing the Phase III landscape plan, clearing of undesirable trees, and additional plantings.  The project is providing education, recreation, and volunteer opportunities for community residents and visitors.

The Discovery Forest features a demonstration of native, cultural, and medicinal plants. Culturally significant plants that once grew in the traditional farms and native forests of East Hawai‘i are featured in the Discovery Forest, including Polynesian-introduced plants that arrived with migrations in voyaging canoes. These “canoe plants”, along with many endemic species, play essential roles in Hawaiian culture, for food, fiber, tools, implements, building materials, and medicine. Many of these culturally significant plants have found a place in the Discovery forest.

If you’ve never been to the Pana’ewa Zoo, take this chance and be sure to explore the Discovery Forest while you’re there! Remember, admission is FREE!

Learn more at: Pana’ewa Zoo

About the Author
Cindy Beth is honored to work towards the HFI mission, promoting the MAHALO ‘ĀINA Give Back to the Forest program as Project Coordinator. She can be found with her Hawaiian hound Hina exploring the wilderness on most given days.

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