Hawaii Conservation Conference in August

July 25th, 2011
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Blue-black urchin. Photo by Susan Middleton and David Liittschwager, ©2005

Blue-black urchin. Photo by Susan Middleton and David Liittschwager, ©2005

You can see some of the most rare plants and animals in Hawaii, including the po‘ouli (Hawaiian bird species), which was last seen in 2004, and the unfurling blooms of puakala (poppy) at the Conservation Through Art exhibit coming up in August.

The exhibit is free and open to the public from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at the Hawaii Convention Center on Aug. 3.

The 19th annual Hawaii Conservation Conference takes place Aug. 2-4 at the Hawaii Convention Center, with the theme: "Island Ecosystems: The Year of the Forest" in alignment with the United Nations International Year of Forests.

The conference draws conservationists from throughout the world. Besides scientific and technical symposia, there will be forums, workshops and panel sessions related to Hawaii's forests and oceans.

Celebrated poet laureate W.S. Merwin will be a keynote speaker on the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 2, followed by a "Perspectives of the Forest" luncheon panel. Merwin, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize who has pennedmore than 30 books of poetry, translation and prose, was chosen due to his dedication to restoring Hawaii's forests. Visit The Merwin Conservancy to learn more about his efforts.

There will also be a Conservations through Art exhibit. Haleakala National Park ranger Melissa Chimera's "Splendor: Portraits of the Natural World" features large-format paintings of rare plants and animals in Hawaii. The exhibit will be on view at the ARTS at Marks Garage from July 26-Aug. 13 (11 a.m.-6 p.m.Tuesdays through Saturdays).

A selection of images from Susan Middleton's and David Liittschwager's "Archipelago: Portraits of Life in the World's Most Remote Island Sanctuary," along with marine debris art (including mosaics made of plastic litter partially eaten by sharks) will also be on view at the conference's free open house 3:30-7 p.m.

The following is a schedule of conference events and highlights:

Tuesday, Aug. 2

9:30-11 a.m.: Keynote speech by celebrated poet laureate W.S. Merwin and William N. Kostka, Executive Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust.

Noon: Perspectives of the Forest luncheon panel.

7-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 2: Screening of Struggle for Existence followed by a panel discussion.

Wednesday, Aug. 3

8 a.m.: Gov. Neil Abercrombie talks about "New Day Hawaii Aina" followed by a panel discussion with the heads of DLNR, the department of agriculture, and department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Noon: Lunchtime screening of short films from the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival/UN International Year of the Forest Film Festival.

3:20-5:20 p.m. Free forum showcasing different environmental education programs and projects in Hawaii.

3:30-8 p.m. Free viewing of the Conservation through Art exhibit, including a presentation by photographer and conservationist Susan Middleton, and screening of the 1993 documentary "Listen to the Forest" with Eddie and Myrna Kamae.

Thursday, Aug. 4

12:30 p.m.: Luncheon featuring music by Kupaoa, the My Hawaii Story Project Awards ceremony, and presentation by professor James Juvik on how to manage conservation in a world that is continuously being transformed by human actions.

5 p.m.-8 p.m. Art and Conservation at the ARTS at Marks Garage, featuring exhibit walk-through of "Splendor..." with Melissa Chimera, and "Reimagining Biodiversity"  by Susan Middleton.

The Poouli Diptych, by park ranger Melissa Chimera, depicts a native Hawaiian bird last seen in 2004. Courtesy photo.

The Poouli Diptych, by park ranger Melissa Chimera, depicts a native Hawaiian bird last seen in 2004. Courtesy photo.

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