The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) in collaboration with Hoolaulima and the community present the Sixth Annual Ramsar World Wetlands Day on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Kailua United Methodist Church, 1110 Kailua Rd.
Ramsar World Wetlands Day is celebrated worldwide every Feb. 2 to commemorate the first wetlands convention held in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. This event in Hawaii recognizes the 2005 designation of the Kawainui-Hamakua Marsh Complex as a Ramsar wetland of international importance.
This year, the local event is being dedicated to the life and works of Ronald Walker. After 40 years as a wildlife professional, Walker dedicated countless hours supporting wildlife conservation and environmental literacy as a volunteer. The Kawainui-Hamakua Marsh Complex in his home town of Kailua is a site where he shared much of his wisdom with children, strength supporting service trips, and dedication to the community and natural resources.
“Ronald Walker had an admirable devotion to wetland protection – a commitment that permeated his efforts as a volunteer with Hawaii Audubon society, Hawaii Nature Center, DLNR, and many others,” said DLNR Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr. “The knowledge he passed on and the spirit of service he exemplified will live on through the thousands of lives he touched, the art he created, and the species he worked to protect.
The 2013 event theme is Wetlands Take Care of Water, highlighting the many local organizations that work to protect our wetlands and Oahu’s water supply, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Honolulu Board of Water Supply. Throughout the event, participants will enjoy live music featuring guest artists Hawaii Loa, Walt Keale, and Jamarek. Educational exhibits will feature information about wetlands in Hawaii with interactive activities for children. A climbing wall will be onsite courtesy of Kamaaina Kids. Simply Ono lunchwagon will be providing food options for purchase such as Kalua Pig Plate, Herb Roasted Chicken with Rice, Pork Sliders, fish and vegetarian options and plenty of cold beverages. Ample parking will be available at Kailua United Methodist Church, Kailua Baptist Church, and St. John Lutheran Church.
Free, guided tours of Kailua’s wetlands have been an event highlight since it started in 2008. Walking tours of Hamakua Marsh and Kawainui Marsh will be offered by DLNR’s Division of Forestry Wildlife Staff at 10 a.m. and noon during the World Wetlands Day celebration. Tours of Ulupo Heiau will begin at 10 a.m. and noon and led by Hawaiian Civic Club. Bus Tours of Kawainui will be offered at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. by reservation. To make reservations, contact Kaimi at [email protected] or call 263-8008.
Located in the center of the Kailua ahupuaa, Kawainui-Hamakua is the largest existing wetland in Hawaii. It provides significant wetland habitat for the endangered waterbirds of Hawaii, including the alae ula (gallinule), alae keokeo (coot), aeo (stilt), and koloa (duck). Kawainui and neighboring Kaelepulu Pond are culturally significant for their use as large fishponds by the early Hawaiian inhabitants of Kailua and the numerous cultural and archaeological sites associated with these wetlands.
Logo courtesy Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources