Today the Ohana went to the Volcano Art Center (VAC). The VAC is a nonprofit educational organization located in and around Hawaii Volcano National Park. Their mission is to promote, develop, and perpetuate the artistic and cultural heritage of Hawaii’s people and environment through activities in the visual, literary, and performing arts. The Ohana had the sweet opportunity to have a personal tour of a Hawaiian rain forest by a park botanist. Ohana members were taught how to identify the 4 components that make up the lush Hawaiian Rain Forest.
After a self- confidence boosting lunch conversation surrounding what “awesome” things the students accomplished in life, it was time to get dirty. The group gave their “malama” (care) to the community by digging out the well known invasive species kahili ginger. Kahili ginger was brought over by the Polynesians as a decorative flower and is now over taking the important middle story plants that are essential in the Hawaiian rain forest. The ohana geared up with large trash bags and sturdy hand picks to tackle the invasive plants. A challenge to see which student could pick the most ginger was put into place. The Ohana started digging with enthusiasm and filled large bags to the brim. In the end the Ohana transformed a small section of the forest, making quite a difference.