Hawaiian canoe carries pledge of conservation around the world

Sherri Eng
Pacific Southwest Research Station, U.S. Forest Service
July 25th, 2014 at 6:00PM

Representatives from multiple conservation groups aboard the Hokule’a, a double-hulled voyaging canoe. On May 30, the double-hulled voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a set sail from the Hawaiian Islands on a more than 50,000-mile, 26-country journey around the world. The crew’s mission: to spread the word about the importance of world conservation.

The dual-masted, 62-foot Hōkūle‘a, along with her escort the voyaging canoe Hikianalia, will travel to Tahiti, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa around Cape Horn, Brazil and Florida, and through the Panama Canal before heading to Rapa Nui (Easter Island). At Rapa Nui, younger crewmembers will take the helm and sail back to Hawaii.

“This accepting and sharing of responsibility symbolizes the learning which is a cornerstone of Hōkūle‘a’s message and journey,” said Jodi Chew, the Pacific Island liaison for the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region.

At each port of call, Hōkūle‘a’s crew will meet with schoolchildren and community leaders and members to share a pledge signed by the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region and more than 20 federal and state agencies and environmental groups promising to address conservation issues, such as vanishing natural resources, rising seas and changing climates.

In partnership with the Forest Service, the Hawaii Conservation Alliance supports the voyage as it furthers the organization’s core value of promoting global sustainability. The HCA is a cooperative collaboration of conservation leaders representing 23 Hawai’i focused government, education, and non-profit organizations. Collectively, HCA is responsible for managing the biodiversity of Hawai’i’s lands and waters. The Pacific Southwest Region provides funding, technical expertise and advice to resource managers in implementing Hawaii’s strategies for forest conservation, and works with organizations to engage youth in environmental stewardship.

“The Hawaiian name for this voyage, Mālama Honua, means ‘to care for our Earth’. This voyage promotes a global movement toward sustainability and the importance of working together to achieve this goal,” said Fischer. “I think every Forest Service employee is connected to this purpose.”

The Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia are maintained by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, a Honolulu-based non-profit that seeks to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration through experiential educational programs. Hokule’a’s journey can be tracked through its website.

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