Festival to celebrate Mauna Kea’s high-elevation forest


Folks of all ages are invited to explore the remote forests of Mauna Kea at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, a part of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Palila Palooza. This free event offers entertainment, keiki crafts, guest speakers and the screening of the film, “Struggle for Existence.”

The day’s events celebrate Mauna Kea’s remote high-elevation dry forest and its most famous inhabitant, the palila. A critically endangered forest bird, the palila is only found on the southwestern slopes above 6,700 feet. Guest speakers throughout the day will focus on the palila and its forest home.

“Struggle for Existence,” by former Hilo resident Laurie Sumiye Filiak, will be shown in the planetarium at 11 a.m. The front lawn of the center will also feature educational and craft activities, including palila origami and games. Live music will be played all day, featuring Two Souls and others. In addition, artwork from the Hawai‘i Nei Art Contest will be on display in the center’s main hallway throughout the month of December.

At Palila Palooza, docents will lead “tours” of the forest by interpreting the art. Palila Palooza is a collaborative event of ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, the Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project, and the Hawai‘i Nei Art Contest. Regular admission rates apply for entry into the exhibit hall and the daily planetarium shows. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/palilapalooza.

 

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