An award from the county Department of Research and Development and the Hawaii Tourism Authority is funding guided native plant walks every day at 1 p.m. at Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Captain Cook.
The award funds marketing costs for the walks through the end of 2013. The daily walks inspire visitors to the Amy Greenwell Garden with a glimpse of the farms and forests of West Hawaii in the time before foreign contact. For centuries, Hawaiian farmers sustained a large and flourishing population in Kona with a variety of locally grown produce.
Through the walks, visitors come to appreciate the skills of Hawaiians not just as farmers, but as foresters, herbalists, artists, engineers, and even bureaucrats, who could organize large-scale projects such as the 50-square-mile network of farms and gardens called the Kona Field System.
“They come to see that the cultural landscape of Kona is as inspiring and magnificent as the natural landscape Hawaii Island is already famous for,” said garden manager Peter Van Dyke.
The guided walks are led by staff members, and last about one hour. Visitors explore three zones of the garden during the tour: kahakai (coastal zone), wao lama (dry forest) and mala (agricultural zone). The tour does not require reservations, and there is no extra charge for it beyond the general admission fee.
The garden is looking for community members who are willing to serve as volunteer docents to lead the Hawaiian plant walks. Docents will receive training in Hawaiian plants and ethnobotany before they start leading tours. For more information about the tours, or to sign up as a docent, call 323-3318 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The garden is located at 82-6160 Mamalahoa Highway, open for self-guided visitors Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and closed Mondays and holidays. There is a $7 admission fee for adults and reduced fees for seniors, kamaaina, military and children. For more information, call 323-3318 or visit www.bishopmuseum.org/greenwell.
Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in the walks should contact Van Dyke at least two weeks before a planned visit.
The garden is part of the renowned Bishop Museum in Honolulu and is named for Amy B. H. Greenwell, a Kona resident who did extensive research and writing about Hawaiian botany and ethnobotany as well as important fieldwork. She left the garden site to Bishop Museum in 1974.