Haleakalā Centennial Speaker Also Turns 100

April 13, 2016, 1:11 PM HST · Updated April 13, 1:11 PM
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The public is invited to celebrate the centennials of Haleakalā National Park and the National Park Service during National Park Week, April 16-24, 2016.

As part of the celebration, fees will be waived all week, special junior ranger programs will be offered (on Saturday, April 23), and a talk story event will feature former Civilian Conservation Corp member, Alvin “Uncle Rex” Ornellas, who also turns 100 this year.

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    Headquarters Visitor Center: “Talk Story with Uncle Rex”

    During the 1930’s Great Depression, President Roosevelt formed the Civilian Conservation Corps in order to employ young men. Known as “Roosevelt’s Tree Army,” the CCC employed nearly three million men, planted over three billion trees, and conserved 800 natural areas nationwide during its nine-year history.

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    At Haleakalā, crews planted native species, removed exotic species, and built the cabins and trails still used today.

    Alvin “Uncle Rex” Ornellas worked on the first crew stationed at Haleakalā in 1934.

    The public is invited to join Uncle Rex at the Headquarters Visitor Center (at 7000 feet of elevation) from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 23, ask him what life was like as a “CCC boy,” and wish him a Happy Birthday.

    Numerous current-day youth conservation groups were inspired by the CCC so young people are especially encouraged to participate and bring their questions.

    To commemorate the CCC’s legacy, keiki will plant silverswords with Uncle Rex. In addition, the 6th grade chorus from Seabury Hall will sing “We Can Plant a Forest” by Jim Papouis and Mike Greenly.

    From 1 to 3 p.m. in the Kīpahulu district (a one-hour drive past Hāna) park staff and partners will teach and share weaving, kalo pounding into poi, and other cultural practices.

    “Junior Ranger Day is a fitting time to share with young people the natural and cultural legacies passed down to us from previous generations, especially during our Centennial,” said Chief of Interpretation Polly Angelakis. “It is always a gift when today’s keiki directly learn from the wisdom and experiences of kupuna.”

    Other events include walks, talks, and short volunteer activities. Activity times and locations will be posted at all visitor centers.

    National Park Week is a great opportunity to explore the countless ways there are to #FindYourPark and to celebrate #HaleakalaNP100. Visit www.nps.gov/hale/getinvolved/celebrate-our-centennial-the-100th-anniversary-of-haleakala-national-park.htm to learn more other Centennial events taking place in 2016.

    Uncle Rex is a former Civilian Conservation Corp member who also turns 100 this year. Photo credit: Haleakalā National Park.

    Uncle Rex is a former Civilian Conservation Corp member who also turns 100 this year. Photo credit: Haleakalā National Park.

    Uncle Rex and silversword--the CCC member we will talk story with on April 23. This is Uncle Rex in the mid 1930's while he was a CCC boy. Photo credit: Haleakalā National Park.

    Uncle Rex and silversword–the CCC member we will talk story with on April 23. This is Uncle Rex in the mid 1930’s while he was a CCC boy. Photo credit: Haleakalā National Park.

    Kipahulu Cultural Demo of poi pounding. Photo credit: Haleakalā National Park.

    Kipahulu Cultural Demo of poi pounding. Photo credit: Haleakalā National Park.

    Civilian Conservation Corp working on the Halemau`u Trail. Mid to late 1930's. Exact date unknown. Photo credit: Haleakalā National Park.

    Civilian Conservation Corp working on the Halemau`u Trail. Mid to late 1930’s. Exact date unknown. Photo credit: Haleakalā National Park.

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