Pana’ewa Zoo Discovery Forest Exhibit Preserves Botanical Species and Hawaiian Cultural Heritage

Hawaii is a unique state that is home to a native people with a rich cultural tradition that stretches back almost 1,700 years. Over the centuries, the Hawaiian people explored their beautiful, fertile island home and incorporated many of the botanical species into their traditions. At the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens in Hilo, Hawaii is helping preserve these precious plants, many of which came with the original Polynesian settlers many centuries ago, by instituting a multi-phase project to plant and nurture these endangered plants.

The three phases of the Pana’ewa Zoo Discovery Forest project include an initial phase conducted by community volunteers to create demonstration gardens which include native and Polynesian-introduced plants. The second phase involved the seeding of these important botanical species, appropriate labeling and maintenance. The final and current phase of the project is the pruning of undesirable flora from the area and the construction of a traditional Hawaiian Hale. A hale is an important cultural touchstone which incorporates traditional materials and construction methods.

Many members of the local community including elementary and middle school children have participated in completing phases one and two. The Hale Building Workshop is being overseen by Certified Traditional Hawaiian Hale Builder “Unko Waltah” who is sharing his time honored skills with volunteers. This part of the Pana’ewa Zoo Discovery Forest is supported in part by the Hawai’i Forest Industry Association as well as the Mahalo Aina Initiative, however in order to complete the site clearing and construction $6,000 will be needed.

To raise these funds, the Pana’ewa Zoo Discovery Forest team has sponsored a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. In addition to helping preserve irreplaceable plants and Hawaiian culture, backers may also receive valuable perks like posters, Hawaiian jazz downloads, gift cards, canvas bags, T-shirts, baseball caps, Hawaiian jewelry, Hawaii Forest & Trail tours, eco-adventures, or volunteer opportunities at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center.

To learn more about the Pana’ewa Zoo Discovery Forest or to make a donation, please visit

Distributed by GetMeCrowdfunded

Media Contact
Company Name: Pana’ewa Zoo Discovery Forest
Contact Person: Heather Simmons
Country: United States