HONOLULU (KHON2) – March is observed as Women’s History Month and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is highlighting one of their outstanding park rangers.
Park ranger Emma Tunison was born on the Big Island and was raised to take care of the land she grew up on and loves. According to Hawaii Volcanoes NP when she was young, she joined the Youth Conservation Corps in high school which then led her to become a youth ranger in college.
During her time as a youth ranger, she restored native plant habitats, built trails and built fences with lava rocks. She later joined the park’s law enforcement team.
Ranger Emma said she was raised with values of mālama ʻāina so this work not only came easy for her but was important.
“Finding a balance between work and pleasure is key to my happiness,” Emma said. “I feel fortunate that protecting the park and Hawaiian culture is what I get to do.”
A fun hobby Ranger Emma enjoys is hula dancing. She said she started dancing when she was just five years old and today dances with Hālau Ke ʻOlu Makani o Mauna Loa.
She recently performed in the 2021 and 2022 Merrie Monarch Festivals, which is a renowned hula competition held on the Big Island.
Ranger Emma said that dancing traditional hula and wearing the lei poʻo (head lei) reminds her of her strong passion for the Big Island and Hawaiian culture in general.
The next time you head to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and you run into Ranger Emma, be sure to give her a big wave and a warm aloha. Feel free to ask her what her favorite part of the park is and where to get the best view of Kilauea Volcano.
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“Reset and get on Hawaiian time. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is one of the most unique places on Earth, with a desert, rainforest, two volcanoes, and a stunning coastline,” said Ranger Emma. “You have to slow down to connect with this place and our culture.”