“Ike Honua” – the Value of Place
In the southeastern region of the Island of Hawai'i sits a spectacular reminder of the prehistoric forces of nature that are still active today. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is home to Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, two of the most active volcanoes on Earth, both of which continue to add to the island of Hawai'i. Unlike continental volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa produce less gaseous eruptions and instead are the source of fountains of flowing – and fiery – molten lava. This lava produces a volcanic landscape that creates a unique, beautiful space for countless kinds of life.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is the result of over 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution and is part of the Hawaiian Island-Emperor seamount chain, a mostly underwater mountain range in the Pacific Ocean that makes up the Hawai'ian Islands. The arrival of Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands over 1,600 years ago, and later the arrival of Europeans in the late 18th century, established a rich culture and traditions on the islands unlike anywhere else in the world.
Since 1997, the Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park (FHVNP) has operated as a primary partner of the park. The organization was originally founded as “Na Hoaloha ‘Ainahou” (The Friends of ‘Ainahou) to support a historic ranch, Ainahou, located within the park’s boundaries.
The park offers visitors from all over the world the opportunity to walk on newly formed lava fields, explore ancient rainforests, and celebrate the culture of native Hawai'ians. FHVNP has been instrumental in supporting all of these experiences, providing both financial support to the Park as well as working to enhance the visitor’s educational experience.
The organization is guided by the mission of “Ike honua,” which means the “value of place,” as they work with NPS in the “protection, preservation, and interpretation of the natural and cultural resources at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park for the enjoyment of current and future generations.”
Today, FHVNP hosts a variety of interpretive events, volunteer programs, and stewardship opportunities for its members from across the globe. The Hawai'i Volcanoes Institute offers field seminars in and around the national park, where expert institute instructors share insights into the geological, biological, historical, and cultural wonders of the land. Similarly, its Youth Ranger Internship Program gives students from rural East Hawai'i the opportunity to participate in educational and career preparation activities, working directly with park rangers in six different divisions.
One of the most important projects supported by FHVNP is its volunteer program, most notably the Forest Restoration Project. The organization is fueled by its dedicated volunteers who assist with everything from field seminars to fundraising, but with over 330,000 acres of public land within the park, monthly restoration projects engage volunteers directly in the work preserving the unique, native ecosystem of the Island. With their help, FHVNP works to fulfill its vision of “a park with a cultural and natural native ecosystem where all visitors experience a profound connection to the unique physical and spiritual beauty of the Island of Hawai'i.”
To learn more about the Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes’ programs and events or to support the group’s work, visit www.fhvnp.org.