Maui News

Hawai‘i Nature Center Celebrates 40th Anniversary With Expanded Programs in 2021 on O‘ahu and Maui

January 10, 2021, 3:56 PM HST
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  • Courtesy Hawai‘i Nature Center.
  • Courtesy Hawai‘i Nature Center.
  • Courtesy Hawai‘i Nature Center.
  • Courtesy Hawai‘i Nature Center.
  • Courtesy Hawai‘i Nature Center.

Hawai‘i Nature Center is hosting expanded educational programs and events for 2021 in celebration of its 40 year anniversary. HNC’s mission is to foster awareness, appreciation, understanding and stewardship of Hawai‘i’s environment by educating children with an interactive and immersive approach.

Programs for 2021 include expanded programs on the weekends, more school break camps, the continuation of its weekday offering and opportunities for small group nature encounters.

To kick off its anniversary year, upcoming weekend experiences for children, ages 3 to 5 and their parents, include these events, which all start at 10 a.m.

  • Saturday, Jan. 9: Tree-mendous Trees
  • Saturday, Jan. 23: Something Fishy
  • Saturday, Feb. 6: Incredible Insects, Bugs and Spiders
  • Saturday, Feb. 20: Makiki Quest

Cost for weekend programs is $10 for each adult or child for members and $15 per person for non-members. There are limited reservations available as these are small group experiences. Email your reservation request to [email protected] and include adult name, child’s name and age, and a contact phone number. Child must be accompanied by an adult/parent. 

“Over the past 40 years, we’ve impacted generations of children – some of whom have grown up and become leaders in the environmental movement,” says Executive Director Todd Cullison. “As cultivators of kindness, compassion and sensitivity to the natural world, we’re addressing urgent problems relating to climate change, pollution and overpopulation.”

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For its weekday offering called Outdoor EDventure Days, parents can purchase a two-day program within the same week. Visit HawaiiNatureCenter.org to enroll. Cost is $140 (members) or $170 (nonmembers) on O‘ahu and $110 (members) or $140 (nonmembers) on Maui for the two-day program with full-day and half-day options.

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All programs incorporate State of Hawai‘i Next Generation Science Standards and explore a range of topics led by environmental educators including climate change, the ahupua‘a ecosystem, native species and cycles of nature.

Led by environmental educators, the programs offer nature encounters, project-based teamwork, physical exercise such as hiking, meadow exploration, aquatic habitat discovery, instructional discussion and hands-on craft activities. All programs have been designed with an emphasis on health and safety, especially as it relates to COVID-19. HNC continues to follow CDC Guidelines for cleaning, social distancing and other protocols to keep students, families and HNC staff healthy.

HNC also offers nature encounters for groups for companies, birthdays and more. Fully customized activities can include guided hikes, stream explorations or environmental talks in addition to use of outdoor lanai and pavilion facilities. 

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“With so many working remotely, companies are looking for safe ways to team build and bring people together in meaningful ways,” says HNC Executive Director Todd Cullison. “For our anniversary year, we are offering customized experiences to help people reconnect with nature and each other in the wide open spaces of the outdoors.”

The beginnings of HNC started deep in the rainforest in 1972 when the Outdoor Circle’s Parks Committee proposed an education center in O‘ahu’s Makiki Valley. Margaret Smith Young of Tantalus was a driving force in its early years. By 1981, the Makiki Environmental Education Center opened and five years later it grew into an independent 501(c)3 non-profit called the Hawai‘i Nature Center. In 1991, the organization branched out to Maui and established a center in sacred ‘Īao Valley. 

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