Hawaii's Forests Make Their Way to the City

An exhibit for the Year of the Hawaiian Forest

By: Dawna Robertson

When Honolulu visitors jump on an elevator at any of 10 downtown office towers, they’ll “Step Into the Hawaiian Forest,” a photo exhibit with authentic views and sounds from some of Hawaii’s rare, remote and beautiful native forests.

To raise awareness of the Year of the Hawaiian Forest, Malama Hawaii has joined with Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources/Division of Forestry & Wildlife to create this unique elevator exhibit that shares the beauty, diversity and value of Hawaii’s native forests.

“We wanted to do this project because there are so few of these native forests left,” said Beth McDermott, project manager. “It was a good way for us to recreate the experience of stepping into forests and hearing the sounds of birds to make it even more complete.”

Through March 2004, four 7-foot by 14-foot panoramic photographs of Hawaii’s native forests will be displayed on a rotation basis in elevators at 10 separate office towers. A soundtrack of bird songs typically heard in each forest will also be included. The forests are a sampling of nature from across the islands, and offer a taste of what’s in store for people who are planning to visit the areas.

“We’ll be adding photos of the birds that are featured on the soundtrack in January,” added McDermott. “Many of these are nearly extinct.”

Featured forests include Mt. Kaala on Oahu, Kamakou Preserve on Molokai, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawaii and Puu Kukui Forest Preserve in West Maui. The images are photographs taken by some of Hawaii’s best photogra-phers, including David Ulrich, David Liitschwager, Susan Middleton and David Meunch.

Locations for January are Alii Place, 1132 Bishop, Pauahi Tower at Bishop Square and the Pacific Guardian Tower. In February, the exhibits will remain at Alii Place and 1132 Bishop, with the addition of Topa Financial Center (formerly the Amfac Building). Visitors will find signs identifying the elevator exhibit location within these buildings.