Wahi Pana Essay Contest

International Earth Day April 22, 2020
Your Wahi Pana: Past, Present, Future
Hawai‘i Essay Contest


The ‘āina of Hawai‘i has changed dramatically in the last 50 years, since the first Earth Day.  Students are asked to interview someone they know over the age of 50 years about a wahi pana, or beloved place shared by both the adult and the student. Essays should focus on four ecosystem categories: Marine/coastal, Stream/wetland, Wet/windward forest, or Dry/leeward forest.  What native animals and plants are remembered from earlier times, how has it changed in the last 50 years, how will it change by 2070? What can be done to retore or keep the animals and plants unique to that place healthy for the next generation?

Click here to download essay application, guidelines and submission instructions

Four first-place essayists from each county will join conservationists for a one-day experience in a wahi pana on their home island, a place normally inaccessible to the public:


helicopter into Ku‘ia or Hono o na pali Natural Area Reserves


journey into the Ka‘ala Natural Area Reserves in the Wai‘anae


helicopter into the Hanawi or Nakula Natural Area Reserves


helicopter into Pu‘u o ‘umi Natural Area Reserve

First and Second place essayists will be invited to a special hike and luncheon. Winning essays from all islands will be be published on-line and in print journals.

Think Globally, Write Locally
For Hawai‘i Public and Private
School Students in Grades 9 – 12

Signed student applications and completed essays must be submitted on-line or post-marked by:

February 14, 2020

Winning essays announced on International Earth Day

April 22, 2020


Sponsored by Hawai‘i Department
of Land and Natural Resources,
Division of Forestry and Wildlife
and partners


  • Max. file size: 98 MB.
  • Max. file size: 98 MB.