Thursday, June 6, 2013

Saving Place | Hana Hou! Magazine

I loved exploring Mount Ka`ala, the highest peak on Oahu, with Emma Yuen, a Department of Land and Natural Resources agent for this Hana Hou! Magazine story about Hawaii's Natural Area Reserves, which protect the unique and diverse native ecosystems found in the islands. The Natural Area Reserves are sanctuaries for rare, endemic flora and fauna unique to our islands, there are 20 reserves on five Hawaiian islands, encompassing 123,431 acres of the state's natural ecosystems.

We arrived to the top of Mount Ka`ala as the sun was just peaking out of the horizon, bathing the atmosphere in a foggy golden glow. Cloaked in mist, listening to the wind rustle trees and birds chirping, we hiked through the ancient native cloud forest bog and I was enthralled with the beauty of this place. Emma pointed out rare plants, and found tiny creatures living in this pristine, ethereal microcosm. Spending time in such a special native place like this reminds you how important it is to take care of the natural world around us, the necessity to have these refuges and that we humans don't need to go everywhere, we need places in the world just for native flora and fauna to thrive.

After the article was published, I was thrilled when Emma told me that the Natural Area Reserves Systems had been getting a lot of support and new interest. Even Governor Abercrombie mentioned that he was so pleased with the article that he sent it out to each legislator.

I also photographed beautiful Ka'ena Point Natural Area Reserve for this story, those photos can be seen here.

Lehua blossom of the ōhiʻa tree

spider web glowing at dawn

Emma inspecting a plant

dew drops on a tree trunk

tiny endangered tree snail

the boardwalk allows you to explore the habitat and lessens impact on the environment

dawn above the Waianae Mountains

golden misty morning

Uki Berries

Hapu'u Fern

Aerial Roots

Lapalapa Tree


Mount Ka`ala

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