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10 yr old koa planted in a former pasture under scattered ‘ōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha) trees in windward Mauna Kea on Hawaiʻi Island. Photo: J.B. Friday

The Symphony of the Hawai‘i Forests was a performing arts project that fostered the breadth of Hawai`i’s artistic genres, media, and practitioners, while maximizing public access and exposure to a quality arts experience.

HFI partnered with the University of Hawai’i, Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra, Mālama Learning Center, Division of Forestry & Wildlife, and Hālau ‘Ō hia to implement a performing arts project that presented environmental education including a concert series, hula, storytelling, animations, webpages and an art contest. Symphony webpages continue to benefit students and teachers with educational resources relating to protecting Hawaii’s forest ecosystems.

The Symphony of the Hawai‘i Forests concert series was held in April 2022 at Hawai’i Theatre Center. There were four performances attended by 2,000 students and teachers from 43 schools through the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra’s keiki concert series. Mālama Learning Center developed a teacher’s PDE³ course (accredited college/university course), which was completed by a mix of Oʻahu and Molokaʻi teachers; 33 teachers from 25 schools. Participating schools: Campbell High, Molokai High, McKinley High, Molokai Kaunakakai Elementary, Pearl City Highlands Intermediate, Honouliuli Middle School, Kilohana Elementary, Waianae Elementary, Kailua High, Waianae High, Waialua High & Intermediate, Kapolei Middle School, Kailua Intermediate, Wheeler Middle School, Kualapuu Elementary, Wheeler Elementary, School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability, Charter School, Moanalua High, Hawaiʻi Tech Academy, Makaha Elementary, University Laboratory School Public Charter School, Inouye Elementary, Farrington High, and Waiau Elementary.

The Symphony of the Hawai‘i Forests was modeled after Symphony of the Hawaiian Birds, a collaboration of UH and Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra. It presented and supported literacy arts through storytelling; visual and media arts through the animations and art contest; and performing arts through the music, hula and storytelling.

It provided opportunities for the public to experience and appreciate a wide variety of professional artistic and cultural activities. A specific focus of the project was to deepen engagement and participation in culture and the arts among under-served communities, including Native Hawaiians. Hālau ‘Ō hia’s involvement helped make the content more relevant to Native Hawaiians.

Mālama Learning Center’s teacher’s PDE³ course, (accredited college or university course) was completed by a mix of Oʻahu and Molokaʻi teachers; 33 teachers from 25 schools.  Participating schools:  Campbell High, Molokai High, McKinley High, Molokai Kaunakakai Elementary, Pearl City Highlands Intermediate, Honouliuli Middle School, Kilohana Elementary, Waianae Elementary, Kailua High, Waianae High, Waialua High & Intermediate, Kapolei Middle School, Kailua Intermediate, Wheeler Middle School, Kualapuu Elementary, Wheeler Elementary, School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability (SEEQS) Charter School, Moanalua High, Hawaiʻi Tech Academy, Makaha Elementary, University Laboratory School Public Charter School, Inouye Elementary, Farrington High, and Waiau Elementary.

HFI received a $15,000 grant from the State Foundation on Cultural and the Arts and a $8,000 grant from the US Forest Service/Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry & Wildlife ( DOFAW) Kaulunani Urban & Community Forestry Program.  An award from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority through the Aloha ‘Āina Program, administered by the Hawai‘i Community Foundation for the Honolulu Zoo Children’s Discovery Forest help fund Symphony of the Hawaii Forests educational materials for students and teachers.

Project partners Heather McMillen and Takuma Itoh presented at the Hawaii Conservation Conference.  Website: Symphony of the Hawai’i Forests.

Link to Symphony of the Hawaii Forests Animation/Music Composition-Draft.
Symphony of the Hawai‘i Forests Teacher Resources
Go Native Postcards
Trees PDE3 Teacher Credit Courses Videos

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