Hawaii volcanoes appoint Makuakane-Jarrell chief of interpretation

An experienced park ranger has been appointed to lead the interpretation of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Joni Mae Makuakane-Jarrell, who has worked in all five national park units on the Big Island, is the first native Hawaiian to hold this position and also the first woman.

Your job will be to oversee visitor services and educational and cultural programs in the park, said a park spokeswoman.

Makuakane-Jarrell is a 32-year National Park Service veteran. She began her career as an interpretive ranger with Hawaii Volcanoes through the Young Adult Conservation Corps program and later became the park’s oversight ranger.

She has also worked as a law enforcement specialist at the Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site and as an interpreter at the Koloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.

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On the latter, she worked with her late husband, park ranger Steve Makuakane-Jarrell, who was shot and killed by a traveler in 1999 during an argument over the man’s free-roaming dogs.

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Makuakane-Jarrell most recently worked as an education specialist at Hawaii Volcanoes, where she coordinated the annual cultural festival now in its 33rd year.

She also launched the Na Le Manu (Heavenly Voices) concerts in the park and the ‘Ike Hana No’eau’ cultural workshops.

Makuakāne-Jarrell’s visions for the park including sharing traditional Hawaiian names of places, the park said in a statement released today.

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“Hawaiians are very careful watchers, and when they name things they usually tell the story or history of the area,” she said. “Using these first names helps protect, honor, and sustain Hawaiian culture.”

“Joni Mae brings an ideal combination of perspectives to the vital role of Chief of Interpretation,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Her strong background in Hawaiian values ​​and culture, combined with her leadership skills and commitment to the park’s mission and importance as a World Heritage Site, will serve the park and its visitors very well.”

Makuakane-Jarrell is replacing Jim Gale, also a 32-year valet parking veteran who retired as an interpreter in October.

*** Updated to correct NPS information. ***

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