With funding provided by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) and in collaboration with the County of Hawai‘i, the Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau (IHVB) is seeking proposals from non-profit organizations to develop and operate a community cultural-based education program in the Keaukaha area that will help balance the preservation of cultural and natural resources with mindful visitation.
“HTA is working alongside the community to address residents’ concerns and further support cultural and natural resource preservation in Keaukaha,” said HTA’s President and CEO John De Fries. “We are taking the community’s lead in how they envision this cultural-based educational program to be developed and look forward to supporting the important work and stewards of this special place.”
Keaukaha, which translates to “passing current,” is where freshwater springs feed into the Hilo area’s coastline, creating nutrient-rich brackish water environments for loko i‘a (fishponds), plants, fish, and other marine life to thrive. Keaukaha is also one of the oldest Hawaiian Homestead communities in the state.
Place-based education curriculum aims to combine Native Hawaiian and local ʻike (knowledge) to weave past and present knowledge of aloha ‘āina and its wahi pana (storied places) and/or wahi kapu (sacred places), with the goal of instilling a deeper understanding and appreciation for the place and its people amongst all those who visit.
“Throughout this DMAP process, IHVB is listening intently to the communities that are being impacted by the effects of tourism, such as the residents of Keaukaha,” said Rachel Kaiama, IHVB Destination Manager. “We’re involving the community every step of the way to ensure that historical ‘ike and mo‘olelo remain fundamental to the cultural preservation and visitor education of the area. Our hope is that this program can serve as a stewardship model that may be adapted for other hot spots on our island.”
The Keaukaha Community Cultural-based Education Program also supports the ‘Āina Aloha and Ho‘okipa principles of the ‘Āina Aloha Economic Futures declaration, as well as the goals of Hawai‘i’s Aloha+ Challenge and United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Those submitting proposals must be a licensed 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and develop a cultural-based education program that can be implemented by stewards and cultural and natural resource management ambassadors of the area.
To view the request for proposals, visit https://www.hvcb.org/island-of-hawaii-dmap-rfp/.