Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park participates in the local town’s 4th of July Parade, which entails the Park Rangers dressing up as the endemic plants and animals. It’s a hoot and the town absolutely loves it, which makes every second worth it. The parade was definitely a hidden local event, considering that one of the other groups marching included a Ukulele Community Group. Besides the park, the Ukulele group was probably my favorite, continuously filled with music, song, and laughter.
We left around 7:45 am the morning of the parade and arrived to gray skies and a light mist. Rain is relatively common and celebrated in the park, considering that we live in a rainforest. The cloudy morning helped us stay cool as we ran around to greet the community on the mile-long route. Park Rangers were either in uniform or costume. I was happy to be a Kamehameha Butterfly, an endemic butterfly to Hawai‘i. The full selection of plants and animals were: Kamehameha Butterfly, Bat, Ohia Tree, Koa Tree, and Honua Sea Turtle.
The parade was filled with fun and community engagement was high. Although I was mistaken for a moth most of the time, it didn’t dampen my spirits one bit. After all, that’s just another teaching moment for the park’s Science Communication Assistant! ?