Aloha and please enjoy,
I wanted to write about something that is both dear and positive to me. Last week was the annual art contest held by Eastmaui Watershed Partnership and Viewpoints gallery that highlights the native and endemic species on Maui. The contest not only brings awareness to all of us but it also brings a lot of beauty into our life.
I entered six photos and one painted ceramic plate, out of that, one photo was selected for the show. I am sure I did not place, but just to get selected was an honor. Out of 180 entries only 65 pieces were chosen including the elementary, middle and high school. My daughter also was selected for the elementary division with her painted ceramic plate "Hau hele wai" or the pink hibiscus of Maui. I was told by the biologist that this hibiscus is most common in Kipahulu valley, which is were I grew up (lower valley), so not only did I learn about the flower from the book "Growing Hawaii's Native Plants, but I learned even more from the biologist on hand at the gallery.
So I think that this is an absolutely awesome project that spreads awareness, creates money for the watershed, gallery, and artist and is a positive move forward for conservation on Maui. We have so many negative things going on right now in Maui and Hawaii, I wanted to focus on something good.
The show will be on display at Viewpoints Gallery in Makawao through October 21, 2008. If anyone is interested in native hawaiian habitat and species, I really encourage you to go and check it out. This project started as an idea and now has come full circle into a great success as an annual event. The art that was created in many different mediums, is absolutely astounding to say the least. I could have spent thousands of dollars, I wanted many of the artworks. This is also a chance for people to learn at the same time as getting maximum enjoyment either creating an artwork or simply going to view the work. Most of the pieces have a brief description about the species or scape, it is learning for all of us. The children love it too.
Some of the photos that I saw blew me away. It is a good way to get a glimpse of the fragile ecosystems and species that are not accessible to the average person. An extremely rare lobilia flower from the West Maui Bog.....wow incredible....how else would I ever have learned or even seen this flower if not for the art show/contest. It is a great cause and we all need to support these types of efforts hosted by the people and businesses of Maui/Hawaii.
If you do not have time to go to the gallery just visit the website of Eastmaui Watershed Partnership. http://eastmauiwatershed.org/art/ breathtaking art to enjoy.
Part of the importance of this event is also to learn what is native and what is non-native and INVASIVE. I learned in Hawaiian Field Biology 105 that before human contact a new speceis made it to the islands and established itself about once every 97,000 years. Now with the plant and nursery busisness as well as florists a new species gets here on average, can you believe this, ONE TO TWO EVERY MONTH!!! We all need to learn about this terrible epidemic. Just in the past couple of years I myself have seen the Wiliwili tree nearly die out, the Ohia rust take over east Maui, stinging nettle engulf Haiku and other areas, bee mite in Oahu and now in Hilo, fireweed is completely out of control... It just goes on and on. It makes me so sad because we could stop this and step up on ag. inspection accross the state. We all need to be aware when buying and planting ornamentals. I feel that there should be a committee to assess what is being shipped here and also to studdy impact on the whole. For anyone who wants to do this on their own, you can go to Hear.org and they have a great website that will tell you about invasive, native, endemic, and non-invasive species. Hey, we all owe it to our children, the islands and the fragile environment. Hear stands for Hawaii ecosystems at risk. Please check it out and visit this website it is another great one.
Back to the art contest. I think that all of us as citizens of Maui and Hawaii have a responsibility to preserve and protect the fragile environment as well as its species. This is a great example of people doing just that and also at the same time making a huge impact on residents as well as the children. I was proud to even enter and for my daughter and I both to get selected tells me that I am learning and helping to do my part where I can. Together we can make a difference. Malama Wao Akua
References are: Growing Hawaii's Native plants, The Eastmaui Watershed Partnership and Haleakala National Park employee and artist Mellisa Chimera. And Hear.org.