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“Bless the Beasts and the Children”. Remember that song? I think it’s really true as our children are our future.

That’s also why one of my favorite HFI projects is the Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest. The project demonstrates a native Hawaiian forest ecosystem but is located just within the zoo entrance. I think it’s great because folks don’t have to hike up to the top of a mountain or to some other remote location to see native plants up close. Plus, every month we host one or more groups from schools and other civic organizations to learn about native ecosystems.

You don’t have to hike up to the top of a mountain to see native plants!

Since it opened in 2015, over 1,680 volunteers from approximately 40 schools, civic organizations, and the general public have helped to create and maintain the Discovery Forest while learning about native plants. In the near-term, we intend to raise funds for site maintenance, additional plantings, and increased outreach and education.

This site has huge potential as it’s located in the heart of Waikiki. The zoo gets around 600,000 visitors each year so we can reach a huge number of people – including tourists – and spread our message worldwide.

‘Til next time. Yours truly,

Paul Arinaga

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