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Moanalua Gardens Foundation
Cultural and Environmental Education in Hawaii
1352 Pineapple Place, Honolulu, HI 96819
ph: (808) 839-5334
fax: (808) 839-3658

Exploring the Islands Field Guides

Written by Faith Roelofs
with Lorin T. Gill and Maura O'Connor

Step into the fascinating world of the native Hawaiian environment and culture with Moanalua Gardens Foundation's Exploring the Islands field guides. Each illustrated, softcover guide book will lead you on tours and hikes and provide fascinating and accurate information so you can:

  • interpret Hawaiian cultural sites
  • gain insight on historical sites and place names
  • uncover clues to the islands' volcanic past
  • identify and learn about unique Hawaiian plants and animals

Field guide booklets are softcover, 25-30 pages.

The series is also available as Teacher's Packets which include guide books, field trip notes, and classroom and field activities.

The series covers all of the main islands; each is described below.

Hawaii: the Big Island

Adventures Around Kilauea -Tour Kilauea, the youngest of the emerged Hawaiian volcanoes and experience the awesome power and beauty of creation in the home of Pele, the volcano goddess. Explore native rainforest, dry forest, lava tubes and fresh lava flows.

Investigating the South Coast: Punaluu to Manuka - Venture to the island's southern coast and climb the rocks where Hawaiians bored holes in the lava to moor their canoes, visit a coastal heiau (temple) built by Hawaiians for worship of their gods and explore a pit crater rich in rare native dryland plants.

Saddle Sojourn -Take a trip along the "saddle" between majestic Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and discover the magic of this remote upland area. Enjoy the range of environments from young, moss encrusted lava to mature rainforest alive with native birds.

Up the Coast and Into the Past: Hamakua to Waipio - Explore the streams and rainforest of the scenic windward coast and travel to Waipio Valley where the stories of the great Hawaiian chiefs make the past come to life.


High and Wild: Waikamoi and Halemauu Trail - Experience the diversity of life on the upper slopes of Haleakala. This book interprets geology, native plants and animals, and tells the story of human changes to the land. Experience a remote alpine shrubland and one of the best examples of Hawaiian rainforest in the Islands.

In the Land of Na Wai Eha: The Waihee Trail and Halekii - Discover the geology of Maui's two volcanoes in an impressive view from Kahului Bay; observe how winds have shaped Waiehu dunes; explore Halekii - Pihana Heiau State Monument; and enjoy sweeping vistas from Waihee Ridge as you traverse through native forest there.


On the Wild Side: West Molokai - Follow Maunaloa Highway (Route 460) and Kaluakoi Road west and discover intriguing and beautiful areas of West Molokai. Vast white sand beaches, ancient sand dunes and coral reefs, stark piles of stone placed and chipped by people of old, speak silently of the natural and cultural history that make Molokai so richly Hawaiian.

Place of Power: Central and East Molokai - A trip along the south shore of Central and East Molokai offers a glimpse of the geologic and climatic forces that have shaped the land and a window to the island's ancient and modern Hawaiian culture. This booklet describes natural and cultural features encountered along Kamehameha V Highway.


Aiea Loop Trail and Keaiwa Heiau - The 4.8 mile trail loops over the makai end of the ridge starting and ending at Keaiwa State Recreation Area. This booklet describes how medicine was practiced at the heiau (temple) and it interprets the 1.6-mile trail that leads to the North Halawa Valley Overlook.

Koolaupoko - A trip around the southeastern end of Oahu crosses through most of the Hawaiian district of Koolaupoko where the geologic history of the area can be read in the landscape, and the culture of the Hawaiian people emanates through place names, legends and archeological remains.

Hauula Loop Trail - This field guide describes some natural and cultural features on the Hauula Loop Trail on the windward side of Oahu. Follow the historic trail of changes that have occurred here since the arrival of people and enjoy the remnants of old Hawaii.

A Walk Into the Past - by Maura O'Connor - This booklet gives detailed environmental and cultural information keyed to 13 stops along a trail in Kamananui Valley of Moanalua. It is not available as a Teacher's Packet.


Dune Discoveries: Makawehi Dunes and Sinkhole - Walk on the Makawehi Dunes, thrown up by the wind thousands of years ago, and "read" the stories written there. This guide will lead you to see the dynamic interactions between land, water plants, animals and people recorded in the rocks and dunes.

Canyon Country Excursions: Waimea Canyon and Kaluapuhi Trail - The features described in this guide tell the fascinating story of the formation and erosion of the west side of the Kauai shield volcano. Descriptions of areas along Iliau Loop and Kaluapuhi Trail give a glimpse of the remarkable evolution of plants and animals that has occurred on the island in five million years.

Footsteps of the Alii: Wailua Basin and Heiau Complex - The sites described in this field guide help to make Hawaiian history and the geologic past of Kauai come alive. Wailua Basin was once a center of Hawaiian activity where religious rites were observed at the many heiau (temples) and where chiefess mothers gave birth to royal children. The geologic past is revealed from overlooks at Opaekaa Falls and the breathtaking vista on Kuamoo-Nounou Trail.

You can purchase MGF's field guides from either the MGF Store or using our mail-in/fax order form. You may also place a telephone order.

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© Moanalua Gardens Foundation. All rights reserved.
revised 30 January 2006 Hawaiian diacriticals have been intentionally omitted.