New Partnership Brings Together Earth, Sea and Sky In Historic Collaboration

A partnership of Imiloa, Mokupapapa, and Volcanoes National Park will begin to tell the whole story of the Hawaiian Archipelago

Three organizations representing Hawaii’s volcanic beginnings, its pristine yet threatened ocean surroundings, and the cosmic skies above, agreed to work together to offer a vision that the Native Hawaiians understand: that the earth, sea and sky are not separate systems, but a single natural system.

Joined by a representative for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, the new Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of the National Marine Sanctuaries, and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park announced a historic and innovative partnership between the three organizations at a special event. These programs will include education and outreach, staff and volunteer interchange, collaborative trainings and other mutually beneficial projects.

“Senator Inouye applauds the partnership of Imiloa, Mokupapapa, and Volcanoes National Park because together they can begin to tell the whole story of our Hawaiian Archipelago,” said Jennifer Sabas, chief of staff, Hawaii operations, for Senator Inouye, who was one of the driving forces for the establishment of the Imiloa Center, part of the University of Hawaii at Hilo. “Although our governmental agencies and science textbooks divide the land from the ocean and the earth from the sky, the truth is that they are all part of a single natural system. This is a truth that the Native Hawaiians understand and recognize in the kumulipo, the ancient Hawaiian chant of creation, and it is a truth we are recovering today.”

Ms. Sabas, speaking on behalf of Hawaii’s senior senator, was the keynote speaker at the event. She was joined by University of Hawaii at Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng, who signed for Imiloa Astronomy Center; Jim Gale, chief of interpretation for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on behalf of Superintendent Cindy Orlando, and Allen Tom, the regional director of the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ Pacific Islands Region .

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park encompasses two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Maunaloa and Kilauea. The Park is an International Biosphere Reserve and is Hawaii’s only World Heritage Site. For more information, go to or call (808) 985-6011.

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries seeks to increase the public awareness of America’s marine resources and maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, the sanctuary system manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one marine national monument that together encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources. . The NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ Pacific Islands Region supports the Mokupapapa Discovery Center on the Big Island, in addition to other offices and visitor center throughout Hawaii island chain. For more information, go to or call (808) 397-2660.

Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii weaves today’s newest astronomy findings and Hawaii’s cultural heritage into a compelling story of star exploration. The Center features more than 100 exhibits including an interactive meteor display, a replica of the sacred Maunakea mountain with the night sky overhead, and several rotating planetarium shows within its 12,000-square-foot exhibit hall. It is one of the first discovery centers in Hawaii to incorporate both Hawaiian and English languages to enhance the cultural and learning experience. Located on nine acres of lush ethno-botanical gardens in Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island, the Center’s 40,000-square-foot facility opened to the public in February 2006. Visitors can enjoy the planetarium, exhibit halls, learning center, café and museum store. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays). For more information, visit the Web site at or call (808) 969-9700.