07/14/2020-STUDENTS AND KŪPUNA UNITE IN ESSAY CONTESTPosted on Jul 14, 2020 in Main
|DAVID Y. IGE
SUZANNE D. CASE
For Immediate News Release: July 14, 2020
STUDENTS AND KŪPUNA UNITE IN ESSAY CONTEST
Essays capture kūpuna knowledge about wahi pans
(Honolulu) – Students across Hawai’i were invited to engage with kupuna as part of an essay content inspired by the 50th anniversary of International Earth Day. The contest was offered by the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) for all high school students in the state as a way to explore change in Hawai’i.
Announcing the contest in December 2019, students were asked to interview someone they knew over the age of 50, who had introduced them to a wahi pana: a landscape or environment they both cherish. Essayists recorded their elder’s earliest memories of native plants, animals, and landscapes, and then wrote their own earliest memories of that place. Finally, the students were asked to imagine their wahi pana in the year 2070 and reflect on actions they could personally take to protect it for the next 50 years. Eighty-one students on four islands took up the challenge.
Judges included writers, conservationists, and educators. These volunteers helped select sixteen winning essays about forests, reefs, beaches, streams and other special places.
“Walk with anyone over a certain age in Hawai‘i and you’ll hear them talk about what used to be here,” said Maui DOFAW Natural Area Reserves System (NARS) Specialist and contest coordinator Jeff Bagshaw. “That knowledge is precious, and reading all the essays was a privilege. Students wrote about salt making, gathering for lei, fishing, hunting or hiking, but they all had in common a love for their wahi pana on their island, and always for experiencing it with family.”
Students with winning essays will receive a unique prize: a trip organized by DOFAW staff to visit conservation areas and wahi pana on each of their home islands. While originally planned to take place following Earth Day, due to the COVID-19 outbreak these trips will be organized once it is safe to do so. Furthermore, organizers are exploring options for printing the essays into a hard-copy journal.
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2020 Wahi Pana Essay Contest Winning Entries
Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
808-587-0396 (Communications Office)