Skip to main content

Painted Mural Depicting Cultural Ecosystem Services in Heʻeia

Painted Mural Depicting Cultural Ecosystem Services in Heʻeia

Final Mural Heʻeia

About the project

Ecosystem service assessments are a top priority at many reserves in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. However, within ecosystem services research, there is a critical gap surrounding the equitable representation of cultural ecosystem services (CES) — one of four main categories of ecosystem services (the others being supporting, provisioning, and regulating services). In collaboration with Reserve partners in Heʻeia and Kachemak Bay, this project aims to advance the equitable representation of CES in estuary stewardship and management within and beyond the NERRS. To do so, the project team implemented an interdisciplinary and mixed methods approach, including the development of informational materials for diverse end users.

About this resource

In-person learning and exchange, in particular with community partner organizations was a high priority in this project. In addition to the development and refinement of a series of tools and resources to inform the practical application of CES methods, the project approach focused on convening in-person gatherings to deepen dialogue and shared learning. This included a Reserve Exchange (and methods pilot) that engaged staff from both Heʻeia and Kachemak Bay Reserves, and a Heʻeia Reserve Community Partner Family Day. Valuing and creating a space for diverse forms of interpretation and communication, the Heʻeia virtual exchange and in-person family day resulted in the development of this painted mural characterizing cultural ecosystem services experienced across the ahupuaʻa of Heʻeia. The mural was created by Native Hawaiian artist Aubrey Kealohi Matsuura and completed in part by the Reserve’s community partner organizations.

“This painting is a reflection, and visual representation of the rich discussions had amongst Heʻeia organizations during workshops and conversations convened by the Catalyst project. As the artist participating in this empowering project, it was a privilege to listen to the many discussions and visit the people and places contributing to the beauty of Heʻeia, Oʻahu. What I gathered from observing all conversations was the desire to ensure that the waiwai (fig. things of high value, lit. abundant waters) of Heʻeia remains for generations to come. That desire was shared by those who are descendants of Heʻeia, those who engage daily, those who protect, those who empower through education, and those who revitalize, reinvigorate, and reimagine waiwai.” Aubrey Kealohi Matsuura, Native Hawaiian Artist

Click the open/download resource button to read the artist’s full description of the mural.