The Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission received two state grants through a partnership between the Hawaii Community Foundation and the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
The "Hale Hooulu Mea Kanu and Kalamalama: Building Bridges Between Kahoolawe and Kihei" project granted through the Kukulu Ola: Living Hawaiian Culture grant program will prepare an 8-acre parcel of land in Kihei for the KIRC's forthcoming Kaho'olawe Cultural Center. Set aside by Gov. Linda Lingle in 2002 for KIRC's future use as an office/information center, boat house/storage facility, and native Hawaiian plant nursery, the area is expected to see the nursery and traditional hale for educational programs by year's end.
The purpose of the Hawaii Community Foundation/ Hawaii Tourism Authority's Kukulu Ola: Living Hawaiian Culture program is to seek community-based programs that perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and community.
Native plants will be part of the educational experience about Kahoolawe at the Kihei parcel.
"Hawaiian Culture has always been preserved and maintained through the many stories passed down from generation to generation," says KIRC Executive Director Michael Naho'opi'i, "the Hale Hooulu Mea Kanu and Kalamalama will tell these stories."
The KIRC's "Kumeheu" trail project will be funded through the Hawaii Community Foundation/ Hawaii Tourism Authority's Natural Resources grant program, which supports projects that help to improve both the visitor experience and resident enjoyment of Hawaii's natural resources. "Kumeheu" will design a walking trail with native plants and interpretive educational experience about Kahoolawe on the same 8-acre Kihei property, thereby providing visitors with a unique glimpse of ancient Hawaii and with an understanding about Kahoolawe today.
To make a tax-deductible donation to the Kaho'olawe Rehabilitation Trust Fund in support of these projects, send a contribution to the KIRC at 811 Kolu St., Suite 201, Wailuku 96793 or give online at hawaiianwayfund.org (donor designation #130).