Business college’s Sustainable Tourism class presents culture-based exhibit plan to USDA Forest Service

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Date: Thursday, January 4, 2007
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Students in the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Business and Economics’ Sustainable Tourism class developed plans for a culture- and place-based educational exhibit to be located at the new facility of the Institute for Pacific Island Forestry (USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Experiment Station) on Nowelo Street in Hilo.

The proposed exhibit focuses on Pacific island peoples’ view of their native forests and wood products. A professional quality viewbook illustrates the outcomes of the students’ research, planning, and design for the exhibit, to be located at the Institute.

“The linkage between our Island’s forest resources and their values and to their uses in the Hawaiian culture is a special focus,” said Dr. Marcia Sakai, dean, UH Hilo’s College of Business and Economics. As a result of collaboration with Wendy Hamane’s Lanakila student group, a holua sled of ‘ohia wood was gifted for display at the Institute. The Lanakila students built the sled under the direction of cultural practitioners Keoni Kalawe and Lynda Tu`a.

The plans and sled were presented by UH Hilo and Lanakila students to Dr. Boone Kauffman, director of the Institute, Kathleen Friday, associate Pacific Islands forester, and Sakai in late November 2006. “It is a great honor…the holua sled is an example of the highest and best use of forest products: both a work of art and a perpetuation of Hawaiian culture,” Kaufmann noted.

Both the Institute of Pacific Island Forestry and CoBE look forward to implementing the display and working on more such projects together, and with high schools.

The UH Hilo students’ work was conducted as part of CoBE’s Sustainable Tourism course, offered every summer, and supported by a USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service grant. The course is regularly offered by Chelle Shand, a Hilo-based cultural consultant, and features project development work for students interested in tourism.

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