Monday, March 15, 2010

Changes for the DOFAW blog...

We wanted to let you know....

The DOFAW blog is making some changes.

We will be transitioning to another blog site:, and will be focusing more exclusively on Environmental Education issues in Hawaii. The new site will be maintained by members of the Hawaii Environmental Education Alliance.

To obtain information about the Division of Forestry and Wildlife in the future, please visit the DOFAW website at

All of the current content from the DOFAW blog has been transitioned to the new site, and we will continue to offer "This Week in Nature" as well as posts and announcements regarding natural resources, native species and EE opportunities and news.

There will be very few major changes to the blog besides the name, so keep tuning in and let us know if there is something you'd like to learn more about. And don't forget to subscribe to the new blog: if you'd like to continue receiving updates!

Thank you for your support and flexibility, we'll see you at!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

National Wildlife Week - March 15-21, 2010


Celebrate National Wildlife Week 
March 15-21, 2010 
Get Wild, Child!

See below for ideas from the National Wildlife Federation for how to celebrate an entire week dedicated to wildlife and the outdoors!

playing familyStudies show that children who spend time outside are more creative, have less stress and perform better in school. Help your child unlock their learning and imaginative potential "after-school" during National Wildlife Week. Celebrate nature and jump-start your spring with fun outdoor activities, tips for gardening with children and more.
Get started:

1. Download your custom Family Activity Passport

2. Spend an extra hour this week outside with your children observing wildlife and doing fun outdoor activities.

3. Capture the wildlife in your neighborhood - with your camera! Children can enter the youth competition in the National Wildlife Federation Photo Contest.

 Digital Outdoor Toolbox
 Exploration and Education
The above information is from the National Wildlife Federation. It is being provided here as a resource for those interested in environmental education, wildlife conservation and other environment-focused topics.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This Week in Nature - The 2nd Week in March - Palila

What's Happening in Hawaii
During the 2nd Week in March:

The palila (Loxioides bailleui), now beginning its breeding season, is another of the Hawaiian honeycreepers but differs conspicuously from the 'apapane and the 'ākohekohe. Male and female palila are similar, having a yellow head and breast, greenish wings and tail, a gray back, and white underparts. Males have a black mask, and females have less yellow on the back of their heads and a gray mask.

Apart from color, the most visible difference between palila and the other honecreepers is in beak shape, with the palila adapted for eating seeds and insects rather than for drinking nectar.

Palila feed primarily on pods of the māmane tree, holding them down with one or both feet while opening them and digging out seeds. Approximately 90 percent of the palila’s diet consists of immature māmane seeds; the remainder consists of māmane flowers, buds, leaves, and naio (Myoporum sandwicense) berries.

Dependent on māmane as their main food source, palila today are confined to the mixed māmane-naio forest of upper Mauna Kea and are endangered by mouflon sheep's destruction of this habitat. The forest has been reduced to a tenth of its former size, and its future remains uncertain.

The Palila is a sociable bird, and has a sweet voice and varied repertoire, including one song similar to the canary's.

To learn more about Palila, visit the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) Palila Fact Sheet here.

Image and text from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"
published by Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Middle School students visit Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve on Oahu

This week, DOFAW outreach staff hosted a field trip to Kaena Point for a group of seventh grade students from Oahu. For many of the students, this was their first time to the Natural Area Reserve at the Northwestern tip of Oahu. It was an exciting day!

The trip coincided with some really big surf on the North Shore.


Have you ever wondered what an albatross bolus is, or what a dancing albatross looks like? Students were given an informational presentation prior to visiting Kaena, and learned the answers to these questions and much more about this special place.

(A bolus is the regurgitated mass composed of undigestable items. Recently, rather than squid beaks and other natural food items, plastic has made up a large portion of the contents of many boluses, reflecting the growing problem of plastics in the marine environment.) Photo (left) by Forest and Kim Starr.

See video below to see a dancing Laysan Albatross!

outreach staff accompanied the students, teachers and chaperones on the 6-mile roundtrip hike along the coastal trail to Kaena. The day was beautiful and sunny, with a nice breeze and lots of sea spray coming off the ocean.

The Kaena Point Ambassedor shared a cultural lesson at a cove while we took a rest and rehydrated for the second half of the hike. 

Once the group reached the Natural Area Reserve boundary, students began to see adult albatross flying overhead and native plants growing along the path.

While visiting the NAR, students were able to observe:

Naupaka kahakai - "Naupaka by the sea":

Monk seals:

 Can you see the seals in the above photo?

A closer photo of the two monk seals at the point

Ohai - Sesbania tomentosa:

A newly hatched Laysan albatross chick:

For more information about hiking to Kaena Point, or about the plants and animals that call it home, click here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This Week in Nature - The 1st Week of March - Nana

What's Happening in Hawaii
During the First Week of March (Nana):
The beginning of the hot season is still two months off, but the weather has started to shift. Winter storms and surf are subsiding, and as the Hawaiian writer Kepelino observed, in Nana the leaves on the trees are no longer bruised by hard, driving rains.

A Hawaiian proverb also marks Nana as a month when pāpa'i (crabs) are fat. The nature of this "fatness" is not indicated, but the proverb probably refers to the presence of eggs on the underside of female pāpa'i. This phenomenon, known as berrying, reaches its heaight about this time, prior to heavy spawning that occurs in spring and summer.
Images and text from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"
published by Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989.