Event Details

Date & Time
03/23/2013 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Fee Information
$50.00 for Friends members - $65.00 non-members
Contact Us
e-mail us


Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, with two active volcanoes, may be one of the world's best outdoor classrooms for learning about the colonization of new geological surfaces, a process that ecologists label primary succession.

The lava flows along the Chain of Craters Road, resulting from the Mauna Ulu flows and other eruptions in the 1970s, are a highly accessible and informative area. Life has noticeably recolonized these 30 to 40 year old flows and deposits, but the simplicity and sparseness of life make species identification manageable-and ecological patterns readily apparent.

In this program we'll investigate the characteristic small suite of plant and animal species found on recent lava flows; how succession on lava in Hawai'i differs from that on rock surfaces; how rates of colonization differ on 'a'ā versus pāhoehoe and from dry to wet areas; and why there are few alien, invasive plants on recent lava flows.

The day involves short walks in three of four sites (on pāhoehoe or deep cinder) totaling about one mile. Tuition includes a pictorial species identification handout and a PDF "mini book" for each participant.


Tim Tunison was a Botanist at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park from 1982-1994 in charge of programs dealing with invasive plant management, plant community restoration, rare plant recovery, and fire ecology. From 1995-2006 he was the park's Chief of Resource Management. Since retirement, Tim has stayed connected with the plants of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park by teaching field botany classes in Volcano.

Where to Meet

Participants provide their own transportation to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. From Highway 11, between mile markers 28 and 29, turn into Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park (entrance fees apply). Meet at the Kilauea Visitor Center, outside under the lānai by the horizontal relief map. We will carpool from there. Approximate travel from Hilo is 1 hour and from Kailua-Kona is 3 hours. To view maps, visit http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/maps.htm

Details & What to Bring

The experience is rated easy to moderate, with a total of approximately one mile of walking on pāhoehoe lava fields, with some rough patches and deep cinder. Youth are welcome as long as they are supervised by a parent or legal guardian. Be prepared for the 4,000' elevation and for variable weather conditions, including sunny, windy, chilly, and/or rainy.

Please bring:

  • bag lunch
  • drinking water
  • hat, sunscreen & sunglasses
  • closed-toe walking shoes
  • long pants
  • warm jacket or windbreaker
  • raingear
  • personal items (e.g., backpack, camera, binoculars, etc.)


This event is presented by the Hawai'i Volcanoes Institute, which is part of the Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, a non-profit organization. Program cost is $50 for Friends members and $65 for non-members. Students (K-12 and college with valid student ID) are half-price. Non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to get the member discount.


To register, visit www.fhvnp.org, email institute@fhnvp.org, or call (808) 985-7373. Your registration is confirmed when you pay by credit card over the phone or on our website, or when we receive a check payable to: Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park (FHVNP), P.O. Box 653, Volcano, HI 96785.

Cancellation Policy

The Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park will gladly refund your full amount up to 7 days prior to the day of the event. Between 2 to 6 days, 50% of the cost of the event will be refunded. If cancellation is within 48 hours of the start of thevent, 0% will be refunded. All proceeds help support the efforts of the Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

link to pdf flier (369KB)

Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Fee Information:
$50.00 for Friends members - $65.00 non-members

Contact Name:
Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Contact Email:
e-mail us

Contact Phone Number:


Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 52
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718


(808) 985-6000
Visitor Information

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