Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest

If you have a group of volunteers, school group, or boy/girl scout troop that would like to volunteer to help create and maintain the Discovery Forest, contact Linda at Lmduling@hawaii.edu or call 760-695-7460.

Volunteer Workday Photos
October 2015 Volunteer Events Photos
November 21, 2015 Volunteer Event Photos
December 2015 Event Photos
March 19, 2016
December 10, 2016

2017
February 18, 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017

HFIA Summer 2017 E-news HZCDF Receives Continued Support
HFIA Association News-Winter 2015 HZCDF article
Honolulu Zoo CDF Ribbon Cutting and Work Day media release 4-11-17

Current Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest activities funded by:

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Aloha ‘Āina Program
Friends of Hawaii Charities


About the Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest

HFI and Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association’s (HFIA) are working with community partners to create the Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest.  The Discovery Forest is a representation of natural systems, creating a scene of Hawai‘i before the arrival of humans. The project is demonstrating culturally significant plant and tree species that once grew near traditional shoreline villages of O‘ahu. This replication of coastal ecosystems is helping to provide habitat for Hawaiian plants, birds, and invertebrates. The exhibit is designed to demonstrate culturally significant Hawaiian plant species, the significance of place, and the kuleana of mālama ‘āina by integrating traditional Hawaiian forest ecosystems, forest stewardship opportunities, and innovative land-based education for residents and visitors. Jason Umemoto, Leland Miyano, and Leonard Bisel created the Schematic Concept Plan (See below).

Renown landscape designer, artist, and author Leland Miyano is working with award-winning landscape architects PBR HAWAII & Associates, Inc. to lead the landscape construction process. Leland Miyano is a landscape designer, sculptor, author, and naturalist.  His mentor in landscape, Roberto Burle Marx, was the  most influential landscape designer of the 20th Century.   As a  naturalist, Miyano’s research of Hawaii’s endemic fauna and flora, date back to the 1960’s.  Former United States Poet Laureate, W.S. Merwin, writes, “Those of us who know him have been aware for years that Leland is a true original, a living treasure among us, and it is fortunate for all of us that his sculpture, with all its representations of the irreplaceable life of these islands, is receiving some of the attention and honor it deserves.”

The Discovery Forest  is reconnecting urban visitors with the Hawaiian forest through three demonstration zones: Polynesian-introduced species and cultivars; Dryland Mesic forest species; and Strand vegetation.  The project is integrating the interest of the community by engaging partners and volunteers in creating the project, which will benefit an estimated 750,000 visitors per year to the zoo. Community involvement is a key component in this project and aesthetic appeal will be valuable for zoo visitors. Wilderness is rarely so organized, and a demonstration garden is an effective way for urban visitors to reconnect with the Hawaiian forest and nature in general. Schematic Concept Plan created by Leland Miyano, Jason Umemoto, and Leonard Bisel.

The project started with the construction of the Polynesian-introduced Zone and will proceed to the dryland and mesic forest and then strand vegetation of the coast; using examples of indigenous and endemic flora. Educational programs are being developed related to topics such as evolution, ecological lessons, endangered species, watershed protection, ahupua‘a resource management, and invasive species. Plants that are associated with educational stories will be prominently displayed. For example, a depiction of a lowland loulu (Pritchardia palm) forest will be a unique feature.

Hawaii’s native forests are our nation’s most endangered, and the lowland ecosystems have been the most severely impacted. By reintroducing elements of the forest, this project will return community rewards in the form of environment and cultural educational benefits, forest stewardship volunteer opportunities, and private and public partnerships.  This special place is serving as an outdoor educational setting where visitors learn about the importance of the sustainability of native and Polynesian plantings within a framework of Hawaiian cultural values. The vast cultural, natural, and historical attributes of Hawaii’s coastal flora and geology is being shared, demonstrating the bond that must be formed between people and ‘āina if both are to thrive.  Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest Topographical Survey Honolulu Zoo Landscape Plan

Donate(Online)

We appreciate your donation to the Children’s Discovery Forest. Donations are secure when using our Pay Pal account. You determine the amount. Payments can be made by credit card.

Project Update

HFI is partnering with faculty and students at the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa and the State Division of Forestry and Wildlife to improve the native plant collection and educational signs and other materials in the adjacent Kipuka Nene Exhibit to better highlight native forest bird habitat and conservation efforts.

An Upland Hawaiian Forest Interpretive Sign was created and installed at the Discovery Forest.  The sign illustration was created by Gerald Mayfield and the layout and design were created by Diana Tusher.  The sign was funded by Hawai’i Tourism Authority and Hawai’i Community Foundation

The infrastructure of the Upland Hawaiian Forest Zone has been completed and volunteers continue to enhance and maintain this Zone. Project Coordinator Linda Duling has coordinated efforts to engage over 1,200 volunteers of all ages in maintaining the Discovery Forest and outplanting 925 seedlings. An additional 3,000 trees, shrubs, and ground cover were planted in the Upland Hawaiian Forest by the contractor.  We have had individual volunteers; community groups such as JEO Navy, Air Force, Lions Club, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and students from McKinley High School, Kaimuki Middle School, Jefferson Elementary, Waikiki Elementary, Washington Elementary, Lunailio Elementary, Ala Wai Elementary, Punahou High School, UH Mānoa, and pre-kindergarten children.

Linda and HFI President Dr. Travis Idol host field trips for students incorporating natural resource lessons including: Native Hawaiian Birds, Energy & Nutrient Cycling, Kalo cultural stories and replanting guidelines, El Nino & Global Climate Change, Polynesian vs. Native Hawaiian plants identification and uses, and Island Chance paper airplane activities.

polynesian-introduced-honoluluzoodiscoveryforestwayfinder-web
Upland Hawaiian Forest Interpretive Sign. Illustration by Gerald Mayfield. Layout and design by Diana Tusher. Funded by Hawai’i Tourism Authority and Hawai’i Community Foundation.

Phase I Dedication

Council Member Ernie Martin presents HFI with a Certificate from the County Council.

A Phase I Dedication was held on February 7th, 2015.  The Dedication featured presentations by Acting Zoo Director Baird Fleming, Landscape Designer Leland Miyano, HFI President Travis Idol, and HFI Treasurer William Yuen. Council Member Ernie Martin presented HFI with a certificate of appreciation and an Hawaiian blessing was performed by Kahu Kalama Cabigon. This was followed by a tour of the site and refreshments. Dignitaries planted Ti plants during the Dedication Ceremony and volunteers planted seedlings in Phase I, the Polynesian-introduced Zone.  Plants were donated by Waimea Valley, Board of Water Supply Halawa Xeriscape Garden, and the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum.

Forest aims to cultivate kids’ interest in nature-Star Advertiser-2-2015

Hawaii Forest Institute – Sat 2-7-15 KITV 10pm

Groundbreaking Celebration

The April 20, 2013 Groundbreaking Celebration was attended by about 75 student volunteers, parents, and invited guests.  Council members Ernie Martin and Stanley Chang participated in the groundbreaking ceremony with Landscape Designer Leland Miyano, PBR HAWAII President Thomas Witten, Department of Enterprise Services Director Gerald Saito,  Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement Grant Administer Kehau Meyer, HFI Treasurer William Yuen, and  HFI President Travis Idol.  Each of the dignitaries planted a native tree and watched as 30 student volunteers planted some native seedlings.  HFI Director William Yuen welcome the attendees, President Travis Idol talked about HFI and the Discovery Forest project, and Landscape Designer Leland Miyano talked about the landscape design he created.  Leland also talked about the native plants and gave a planting demonstration for  the volunteers. Student volunteers were from McKinley High School, Kaimuki Middle School, Jefferson Elementary, Waikiki Elementary, Washington Elementary, Lunailio Elementary, Ala Wai Elementary, as well as pre-k children. UH Manoa graduate students volunteered to help the children plant their seedlings. Mahalo to Waiahole Botanicals for donating 50 ‘Ohi‘a seedlings for the children volunteers to take home.  And mahalo to Side Street Inn and Halli’s Hawaiian Foods for donating food for the event.

Early Childhood Advisory Committee

A Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest (HZCDF) Early Childhood Advisory Committee has been formed.  The mission of the Committee is to provide guidance to HFI toward the creation of educational resources and developmentally appropriate activities at the Discovery Forest that will benefit students in pre-kindergarten through second grade, as well as early childhood educators.  Early Childhood Advisory Committee members are Travis Idol, Sherry Robinson, Leland Miyano, Nicole Evans, and Heather Simmons. The Committee developed potential topics for Hawai‘i Early Learning and Development Standards for four year-old children and Hawai‘i Content and Performance Standard Benchmarks for students in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. The committee has also initiated the development of activities and lesson plans.

Early Childhood Advisory Committee Mission and Goals
EarlyChildhood Resources Standards and Benchmarks
Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest Draft Lesson Plans

Project Funders
DLNR Division of Forestry & Wildlife and USDA Forest Service through Kaulunani Urban Forestry Program
Friends of Hawaii Charities
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Aloha ‘Āina Program
Hawai‘i Community Foundation
Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation
Cooke Foundation
Atherton Family Foundation
Pettus Foundation
Department of Community Services, City & County of Honolulu, Hawai‘i

In-kind Donors
Halli’s Hawaiian Food
Leland Miyano
Side Street Inn
PBR Hawaii
Waiahole Botanicals
Waiahole Nursery & Garden Center
Green Field Nursery
Native Plant Source
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
Waimea Valley Board of Water Supply
Halawa Xeriscape Garden
Sharon’s Nursery
Hui Ku Maoli Nursery
Gerald Mayfield
Diana Tusher
University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa

Others committed to assisting with the project include:

City and County of Honolulu Department of Enterprise Services Honolulu Zoo, Conservation Council of Hawai‘i, Kualoa-Heeia Ecumenical Youth Project, Mānoa Heritage Center, O‘ahu Resource Conservation & Development Council, Paepae o He‘eia Polynesian Voyaging Society Scenic Hawaii, Inc. The Outdoor Circle University of Hawai‘i (UH) Dept. of Agronomy & Soil Science UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

Public Relations

Stories of endemic land snails by Leland Miyano

Hawai‘i had one of the greatest land snail biodiversities in the world.  One estimate states that there may have been over 800 species in the past.  Today, only a handful are living and those are under constant threat of extinction.  The majority of people in Hawai‘i have never heard of our endemic land snails, and very few have actually seen them.

The Discovery Forest will have examples of plants that were important habitat and food plants for endemic land snails. Surprisingly, the coastal zones used to be the home of countless millions of snails now completely extinct.  Kawelu grass was the preferred plant for Endononta snails at one time.  Higher up in the forest will be Lonomea trees, which formed a habitat for an extremely rare ground dwelling snail that disguised its shell with soil and slime and resembled a clump of dirt.  Under Mamaki bushes many types of snails thrived on half-dried fallen leaves.  Many snails in Hawai‘i often cleaned the forest and did not eat living leaves.  The most famous, Achatinella snails on O‘ahu, are tree snails that eat sooty mold, algae, and fungi off of various tree species.  While there will be no living Hawaiian endemic snails in the Discovery Forest, their stories will live on with the plant species selected and planted.

If you have questions or would like additional information, contact Project Coordinator Linda Duling at zoodiscoveryforest@gmail.com.

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Or visit us at:https://sites.google.com/site/childrensdiscoveryforest/

We appreciate your donation to the Children’s Discovery Forest.

Donate by Mail

Please make your check payable to the “Hawai`i Forest Institute”. Your donations by mail can be mailed to:
Hawai`i Forest Institute
P.O. Box 66
O`okala HI, 96774

Mahalo!