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 December 2011 and initiated Phase II in 2012. Phase I engaged over 180 community volunteers in creating native and agro-forest demonstration gardens at the Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens in Hilo, Hawai‘i. The project is providing education, recreation, and volunteer opportunities for community residents and visitors.
Phase II includes:
- Clearing undesirable plants and trees;
- Creating Phase II landscape plan;
- Engaging community volunteers in project workdays;
- Creating interpretive signs and plant ID signs;
- Installing viewing platforms;
- Creating web pages and articles documenting project activities; and
- Continued maintenance and outreach.
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.
Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalani‘ana‘ole Elementary and Intermediate School first grade students planted native Hawaiian plants and learned from native plant experts at the Pana‘ewa Zoo Discovery Forest. See gallery here.
Kamehameha Schools preschool and first grade students cleared weeds, planted seedlings, and learned from native plant experts at the Pana‘ewa Zoo Discovery Forest. See gallery here.
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority
DLNR Division of Forestry & Wildlife and USDA Forest Service through Kaulunani Urban Forestry Program
Change Happens Foundation
Captain Planet Foundation
HPM Building Supply
Hawai‘i Forest & Trail
Big Island Candies
Project Partners and In-kind Donors
Awapuhi Farms & Mill
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR)
Friends of the Zoo
Forest Solutions, Inc.
Hawai‘i Community College Forest TEAM and Junior Forest Team
Hawai‘i County Parks & Recreation
Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association
Leonard Bisel Associates
Mālama O Puna
Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens
San Diego Zoo Institute of Conservation Research
Tree Works Inc.
University of Hawai‘i Tropical Forestry Program
Landscape Architects, Leonard Bisel Associates (LBA) created thoughtful preliminary native and agro-forest demonstration design plans.
The native plan provides a tiered effect of native trees, plants, and groundcovers including Naupaka kuahiwi (Scaevola gaudichaudii), Maile (Alyxia stellata), Hāpu‘u pulu (Cibotium glaucum), Kōlea (Myrsine lessertiana), and Kōpiko (Psychotria hawaiiensis). Boulders, gravel rock, and stepping pavers provide for a low maintenance viewing platform and add visual interest. Native species will be outplanted among existing native species including Lama, Hāpu’u pulu, and ‘Ōhi‘a.
The agro-forest features a strategically-placed viewing platform overlooking low, mid and higher canopy species such as ‘Awa, (Piper methysticum, Noni (Morinda citrifolia), ‘Ulu (Artocarpus altilis), and Milo (Thespesia populnea). An existing Kukui (Candlenut) and palms are incorporated into the design. Edged planting beds, stone groundcovers, and decorative pavers enhance the plantings.
Mahalo to LBA for donating 50% of their design services.
HFIA is seeking monetary and in-kind donations through the Hawai‘i Forest Institute, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. Volunteers and contributions are needed for planting seedlings, caring for new plants, plants and planting materials, interpretive features, and hardscape materials. To learn more about volunteer and partnership opportunities, contact HFI at 808-933-9411 or email@example.com.
The Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens is operated by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation and is open to the public free of charge every day of the year except Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Zoo & Gardens is located in the middle of a lush Hawaiian tropical rainforest in Hilo, Hawai‘i. It is a popular attraction for both residents and tourists, with an estimated 170,000 visitors annually.
Discovery Forest Committee Members
Aileen Yeh (Chair), HFI, HFIA
Dr. J.B. Friday, UH CTAHR, HFI
Dr. Travis Idol, UH, HFI
William Yuen, HFI
Mike Robinson, HFIA, HFI
Peter D. Simmons, HFIA, HFI
Elin Walburn, HFIA
Nick Koch, HFIA, Forest Solutions
Leonard Bisel, Landscape Architect-Leonard Bisel Associates
Heather Gallo Simmons, HFIA, HFI
To learn more about the many ways you can support the Discovery Forest, download the Sponsorship Packet. Discovery Forest Sponsorship Packet.
J.B. Friday’s Pana‘ewa Zoo plants: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbfriday/sets/72157633163092622/
J.B. Friday’s Pana‘ewa Zoo native plant gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbfriday/sets/72157625097437696/
One-time Donations (Online)
Your donation is important. The Hawai‘i Forest Institute relies on donations to continue support of programs that sustain research and promote awareness of Hawaii’s Forests. Donations are secure when using our Pay Pal account. You determine the amount. Payments can be made by credit card.
Planned Giving (Online)
Would you prefer to give on an on-going basis? To make it easier for you, we have options for giving throughout the year. Planned monthly donations can be made to our secure Pay Pal account by using your credit card.
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
- All donors are acknowledged with a written thank you and a receipt.
- You will be acknowledged as a donor and we will keep you up to date on HFI events.