Earth Day 2021: Palila in the Urban Wild

Not a whole lot of people can say that they held a successful, in-person Earth Day event this year…but we can! Although it may have looked a little different this year because of Hawaii’s mask mandate at the time of the event, it almost felt as though things were on their way back to “normal.”

While brainstorming how we could come together and celebrate Earth Day in a safe (yet fun and interactive) way, we came up with “Palila in the Urban Wild” – an outdoor, scavenger hunt to look for our hidden Palila among the urban landscapes of Honolulu, Hilo and on Maui.

Over a dozen teams consisting of 2-5 people each, registered online for our first ever A Paradise Lost-sponsored Earth Day event. Each of the three hunt-hosting locations (Honolulu, Hilo and Maui) had an initial meeting place where they were able to check-in (in person!) and receive all the clues they needed to complete the hunt. Included in the clue sheet were the latitude and longitude points of each location where we had hidden a Palila sticker. As the teams found Palila, they had to get photographic documentation in the form of a selfie with them. Then they uploaded their selfies to Instagram with the assigned hashtags, and they were off to the next location! The first team to complete their hunt and make it to the last location was the winner, and they received a special prize including a Laurie Sumiye art print, and all of the participants got to take home a goodie bag. Congratulations to teams “A Small Birden” of O’ahu, “Kahalelaumamane” of Hawai’i Island, “Meoneki” of Maui, and Jan Inn (who won the virtual version of the hunt) for being the first-ever winners of the Palila in the Urban Wild event!

A Paradise Lost also debuted the name of the film’s main character Palila bird, who will now be referred to as “Anuenue” (they/them). Anuenue means rainbow in olelo Hawai’i (the Hawaiian language), and it was revealed at the final location of the Honolulu hunt, the Duke Kahanamoku lagoon, which happens to be one of the best places to view the *Rainbow* Tower at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Special mahalo to our co-sponsors, partners and all of those who helped make this event possible;  Bishop Museum, Jonee Peters and Moana Bjur of Conservation Council for Hawaii (CCH), Les Walsh of the National Wildlife Federation, Hawai’i Forest & Trail, Bret Mossman of Birds of Hawai’i Past & Present, Hoku Subiono, our location providers; Patagonia Honolulu, Na Mea Hawai’i, our volunteers; Molly Hagemann, Spencer Hagerman, Jovit Marks, and Scott Peiterson, and all of our wonderful participants. We couldn’t have done it without you.

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