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The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Lyon Arboretum launched a new public impact project called, “E ola nā mea ulu o Hawaiʻi—Thrive the growing things of Hawaiʻi.” The comprehensive program provides events and activities for the general public to learn about climate change and its effects on Hawaiʻi‘s most endangered endemic species of plants, but also solutions informed by Indigenous Hawaiian practices.

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One of those outreach events, “Pints for Plants,” was a collaboration among the arboretum, Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP) and Honolulu Beerworks on December 9. Lyon Arboretum and PEPP set up a table with educational materials and activities, while Honolulu Beerworks debuted its new grape sour ale called Hāhā-loha, named for the Cyanea family of endemic plants. Education Manager Raedelle Van Fossen and Horticulture Manager Tim Kroessig represented the arboretum.

“Our mission at Lyon is to inspire and cultivate the conservation of tropical plant biodiversity, and connect it to the culture of Hawaiʻi through education and research. We were gratified by the community’s enthusiasm for learning and conservation,” Van Fossen said. “We appreciate the collaboration with PEPP and Honolulu Beerworks. It’s everyone’s spirit that fuels the seeds of change, ensuring a brighter future for Hawaiʻi‘s precious endemic plants.”

The Hāhā-loha beer label showcased the artwork of Saxony Charlot, a UH Hilo student and former Lyon Arboretum summer intern. Proceeds of the sales will support the work of Lyon Arboretum and PEPP.

Cultivating climate education: Lyon’s green vision

person standing at a table next to dozens of plants

“E ola nā mea ulu o Hawaiʻi—Thrive the growing things of Hawaiʻi” is led by Van Fossen, who was selected to participate in a peer learning group with the U.S. Botanic Garden’s Plants and Climate Change Education (PLACCE) program. With a cohort of five other botanic gardens and arboreta, the project aims to create and develop plant-centered climate change education activities, curricula and models that can be shared across the community.

Lyon began implementation of its PLACCE and recently collaborated with the UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Urban Garden Center (UGC), and hosted a community class, “Native Plant Gardens Matter,” taught by Tina Lau, junior extension agent at UGC, and Chai Blair-Stahn, a master gardener and lecturer at Leeward Community College.

Another UH collaboration was with the Institute for Sustainability and Resilience (ISR). Working with Ketty Loeb, an ISR faculty member, Lyon sponsored the second event in ISR’s sustainability film series, which shined a light on food sustainability and climate change. Locally produced films Kumu Niu directed by Alex Cantatore and Roots of ʻUlu directed by John Atonelli were shown, and a panel discussion followed after.

“Stay tuned for upcoming outreach events that promise to nurture curiosity and cultivate a deeper connection with nature,” Van Fossen said. “The community is the key to fostering a greener tomorrow.”

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