Artist Resources

Native or Not?

Simply put, a native species is any creature that got to the Hawaiian Islands without the help of humans. They did this in one of three ways: by Wind, by floating over the ocean Waves, or by flying over using Wings (or being stuck on a bird’s feathers). We call these the three W’s.

If you are unsure about the origins of your subject, contact us by email or phone (573-6999) and we’ll help you out. You can also do some research on your own, via the internet, or your local library. You can also go on one of our hikes specifically geared towards artists.

Where to go for Inspiration


Try your local bookstore and look in the Hawaiiana or Natural History sections. Below are some exceptional books with great pictures and interpretive text. You can also reference them to see if your subject is native to Maui Nui.

Mālama Wao Akua
Remains of a Rainbow
Hawaiian Plant Life: Vegetation and Flora
Growing Hawai’i’s Native Plants
Hawai’i’s Ferns and Fern Allies
Hawaiian Insects and their Kin
Hawai’i’s Sea Creatures
Hawaiian Reef Fishes
Corals of Hawai’i
Hawaiian Reef Plants
The Hawaiian Honeycreepers

Places to go

Many popular hikes on Maui are actually altered habitats with little or no native wildlife. Come on a hike with us and travel back in time to a place filled with the plants, birds, and insects that make Maui unique. Call 573-6999 to sign up your group for an EMWP hik

Other places you can hike to that have interpretive information and native species:
Haleakalā National Park
Hawaiʻi Nature Center
Kealia and Kanaha Ponds
Maui Nui Botanical Gardens
Maui Ocean Center
Nā Ala Hele

Sites to surf

These websites serve as a good place to check that the natural range of your native species is native to Kaho’olawe, Lana’i, Maui or Molokai’i.

Maui Nui Botanical Gardens Facebook Page
Explore their ‘Hawaiian Plant of the Day’ image library to find a plant native or endemic to Maui Nui.

Native Hawaiian Plant Society
Learn about native plants, and volunteer for service trips.

Starr Environmental
Over 3,000 images of plants found in Hawaiʻi. Not all are native so be sure to check on the page if it is listed as native or not.

Native Plants Hawai’i
A very user friendly site to search native Hawaiian plants and native nurseries.

CTAHR Hawaiian Native Plant Database
Searchable database put together by the University of HI, Manoa.

Birds of a Feather
An article with pictures of native Hawaiian birds

Native Nursery
A plant nursery in Kula that sells native and Polynesian introduced plants. Website has pictures, and you may be able to ask for a tour.

Jack Jeffrey’s Photos
Brilliant photographs by this wildlife biologist and photographer.

Mike Neal’s Photos
Artist and photographer’s collection of native bird photos and more.

Jupiter Nielsen’s Photos
Artists and photographer’s collection of native Hawaiian plant photography.

Flickr Groups: Hawaii Plant ID
Get help identifying Hawai’i native plants by posting an image and wait for someone to help identify it. Please use this as a guide and reconfirm with a reliable source.


Marine Websites:

John Hoover

A site that has marine life guides and books and lists some various marine species that may not be in current copies of his books.

Sea Slugs of Hawaiʻi

Comprehensive site of Hawaiian sea slugs-gastopod mollusks including nudibranches and their relatives.

Marine Life Photography

A great all around website for all things marine with photos and some descriptors.


Tips for Teachers

Are you thinking of getting your class involved in this year’s Mālama Wao Akua art contest? We hope so!

Here are some tips that might help! Remember, there is a $5 entry fee for all entries in the keiki division. Not all artwork entered will be selected for the exhibition. This is a CONTEST.

  • Consider having a contest within your class or school first, then enter the winning pieces from your contest to compete with the entries from other schools and individuals.
  • Invite EMWP to come as a guest speaker.
    We will give a presentation about Hawaiian rainforest ecology. Students build a watershed. Time: 60-90 minutes (flexible).
  • Check to make sure your students’ entries qualify.
    Native birds, insects, plants or landscape of native species of Maui are OK. Coral reef species OK too. Polynesian introductions and other non-native species are NOT OK.
  • Have each student fill out an entry form and waiver, make sure entries are display ready.  Attach a teacher cover sheet.