Today we journeyed to Manuka State Park. The park is located inside the 25,550 acre Manuka Forest Reserve on the slopes of Mauna Loa to the south west side of the island. The state park itself is access through the rolling lawns of an arboretum of native plats and trees. We began here, with a game and an introduction to the area. Along the hike the group worked to identify and learn about different indigenous, endemic and introduced species, using the trail side signs and guide books. Today the group learned about the hapu’u, the kukui, the pikakiawe, awapuhi, kaumani, hame, hou, and ohialehua, to name a few. We learned the legends of Ohia and Lehua and of Manini’owali, and were able to see ancient agricultural mounds and village sites.
When we returned to the arboretum area, we enjoyed lunch as a group and then played a game. The game allowed the group to work together as a team to solve the problem of transporting themselves to the other side of an imaginary burning field of lava. It challenged us to work together, to communicate clearly, to be patient and to appreciate and integrate many different ideas, as the group identified after we all successfully made it to the far side. The weather was beautiful at the park, we avoided all the island rain that could have limited our access to many places today!