Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Save Our Seabirds! Simple steps to reducing light distraction.

Each fall, the keiki of Hawaii's native seabirds begin to fledge and fly to the ocean for the first time using the moonlight on the sea to navigate their way. These young birds are leaving the land for the first time and traveling to the ocean to find food and begin their adult lives. The light of the moon is their primary navigational tool.

Wedge-tailed Shearwater (Puffinus pacificus)

Unfortunately on their way to the sea, they cross lands covered with glaring lights. 

 Full moon behind Poipu Resort

These threatened and endangered birds are attracted to lights and often end up circling them until they are exhausted, and they can be injured by their fall to the ground.

Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis)

This sad story can have a happy ending, though, and you can do your part, simply by making sure that your outdoor lights point DOWN instead of up!  

Uplighting creates a large amount of unnecessary light pollution. By simply changing light fixtures so they point down or are shielded, you can make a big difference for these special endangered birds. 

Visit the Seabird Protection and Impact Reduction webpage for more information about lighting strategies, examples of light fixtures that reduce light distraction, and info about fallen seabirds.

Click here to read "Turn Off the Lights for the Birds" on the Maui News website from December 2009. Check out the section with tips for "what to do/what not to do" if you encounter a fallen bird.

Monday, December 28, 2009

This Week in Nature: The last week in December - Fin whale

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the last week in December:

Fin whales pass the islands about now, en route to the warm waters of the equatorial region.  Second only in size to blue whales, fin whales average 65 feet in length and may attain swimming speeds as high as 20 miles an hour. Usually they keep to the deep sea, but occasional sightings and strandings have been reported in Hawaii. A fin whale spotted off Hale'iwa was apparently enjoying a meal of 'ōpelu.

Their passage through Hawaiian waters coincides with fin whales' peak calving and mating period, so newborns - 19 feet long at birth - are likely to be among our visitors. Mating may occur here as well. Recordings made off Ka'ena Point indicate that females swim south first, followed by males singing courting songs.

To learn more about fin whales, visit the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources' Marine Mammals page

Taken from "Hawaii: A calendar of Natural Events" 
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Forest Reserve System News

On November 19, 2009, the Board of Land and Natural Resources approved new management plans for three Forest Reserves; Na Pali-Kona, Puu Ka Pele, and Molokai.
For more info about the Forest Reserve System, click here and use the navigation bar on the right side of the page.

Koa (Acacia koa)

With its inception in 1903, the Forest Reserve System represented a public-private partnership to protect and enhance important forested mauka lands for their abundance of public benefits and values.  Though this original partnership has evolved over the decades, today the tradition is carried on by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) for public Forest Reserve lands.

Monday, December 21, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 4th week in December - Koloa maoli

What's Happening in Hawaii 
during the 4th week in December:

Koloa maoli
Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS

Koloa maoli, the Hawaiian duck, (Anas wyvilliana) can now be seen making vertical flights that indicate the onset of mating. Courting pairs fly virtually straight up from ground level to an altitude of one hundred feet and chase one another in tight circles. Sometimes a second male joins the chase, trying to approach the female, but is ritually driven off. Courtship resumes on the ground, where eventually as many as ten eggs will be laid and hatched in a large, well-concealed nest. Koloa appear to mate throughout the year, but their main breeding period begins in December.

Once plentiful on most of the main islands, koloa is now an endangered species, and is fighting for survival against threats like predation by foreign animals, draining and filling of marshes, and breeding with feral and domesticated mallards.

Koloa maoli means "indigenous duck," distinguishing this native from six North American species that visit the islands in the winter. The only other native duck is a resident of Laysan, toward the northwest end of the archipelago.

To learn more about koloa maoli, visit the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy koloa fact sheet

For lessons and activities about the native Hawaiian duck, visit Malama Hawaii's koloa webpage.

Taken from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ten Things You Can Do To Reduce Marine Debris

DOFAW asks you to remember: what happens mauka can effect the health of ecosystems makai. There are so many things we can all do to help protect the unique and beautiful natural resources in Hawaii. Here are 10 ways to help reduce marine debris. This list was compiled by the Hawaii Wildlife Fund.

1. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Choose reusable items and fewer disposable ones. Please visit website to discover more recycling options (e.g., batteries, cans, cell pones, computers, fishing line).

2. Place all rubbish in trash cans with lids so it doesn't blow away. Keep streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and storm drains free of trash as they empty into our oceans. Throw all cigarette butts and bottle caps into refuse containers!

3. Encourage your tackle shops, docks, marinas, and fishing piers to provide adequate trash cans and recycling bins for used line and other trash. Bring your oil cans, food wrappers, and ciggerette butts back to shore to throw in the rubbish can. Visit the Berkley Fishing page and the Florida Conservation website for more info about monofilament recycling programs.

4. "Paper or plastic?" Neither! Remember to use your re-usable shopping bags when you go to the store. Also remember that "Less is more." Be mindful to select products with minimal packaging.

5. Instead of continually purchasing plastic-bottled water, use water filters, water coolers, and refillable stainless steel bottles instead. Visit for more info.

Buy soft drinks and juice  in aluminum cans or glass bottles which can be redeemed and recycled, as opposed to plastic bottles, which are often "down-cycled" rather than "recycled."

7. Encourage restaurants to use biodegradable (or at least #1 and #2 recyclable plastic) take-out food containers and utensils. Better yet, bring your own!

8. Avoid over packaged merchandise and disposable products like plastic lighters, razors, cameras and other throw-away items. Visit for more info.

9. Avoid body care products that contain tiny plastic "micro-scrubbers" that wash down the drain and into our ocean.

10. Serve as an example to others. Practice 1-9 above and participate in local beach clean-ups. To learn more about marine debris in Hawaii, visit

In addition, be sure to write and speak to your elected officials and encourage them to support policies that protect our ocean, and all of our natural areas. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Looking for GIS data and maps?

Visit the Hawaii Statewide GIS Program website.

What is GIS? "GIS's are computerized mapping and information systems which are capable of combining spatial (mapped) data with associated attribute information to facilitate spatial data analyses for improved decision making."

What can be done with GIS data? "Mapped data (e.g. roads, streams, schools) and their associated attribute information (e.g. road name, stream flow volume, school enrollments) are converted to a computer-compatible form. This enables users to better and more efficiently assemble, store, manipulate and display geographically-referenced information. GIS's allow efficient retrieval and analyses of these data, including the ability to overlay and combine different layers of information to perform functions such as suitability analyses, i.e. the appropriateness of a particular area to support a certain activity or land use."

Interested in learning more? Visit the Hawaii Statewide GIS Program website.

To see how GIS data is being used in a large scale project in Hawaii, check out the Hawaii State-wide Assessment of Forest Conditions, or SWARS website. SWARS is the state of Hawaii's comprehensive assessment of forest conditions, across all land ownerships and is part of a federal initiative to improve resource management and planning.

Monday, December 14, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 3rd week in December - 'opihi

What's Happening in Hawaii 
During the 3rd Week in December

Kāpeku ka leo o ke kai,
o ho'oilo ka malama.
When the voice of the sea is harsh, 
the winter months have come.

 December usually brings the year's largest surf, generated by storms in the North Pacific. Kāpeku ("harsh") describes the thunder of big surf and refers to the ancient practice of noisily splashing the water to scare fish into a net. The winter waves have a similar effect, stirring the ocean bottom to depths as great as 240 feet, dislodging a variety of creatures and washing them to shore.

On the islands' northern and western coasts, this is a particularly dangerous time to pick 'opihi (limpets) but a good time to look for sea life on the beaches. In doing so, don't ignore the sand under your feet. The turbulence of storm surf helps create the beaches by bringing ashore the remains of millions of tiny organisms. Much of the white sand of Hawai'i is composed of shells of single-celled animals (Foraminifera, a kind of protozoa), which feed on oceanic bacteria. Some, like the "paper shell" depicted above, grow as large as a quarter of an inch across.

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

Friday, December 11, 2009

Laysan Albatross Return to Kaena Point

The birds are back!
Laysan Albatross have begun to arrive at Kaena Point after being out at sea for several months.

Albatross at Kaena Point, Oahu.
Photo: C. Tucker

Birds of breeding age come back to areas, including Kaena Point, at this time of year to lay eggs and raise their young.

Female albatross with egg.
Photo: C. Tucker 

For more information about the Laysan Albatross and their habits, check out... the National Audubon Society albatross page.

To learn about some of the challenges the albatross are facing, click to read the article "Bringing Home the Trash."

Monday, December 7, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 2nd week in December - Mauna kea

What's Happening in Hawaii 
during the 2nd Week in December:

Mauna Kea
Photo by C. Tucker

The first snow comes to Mauna Kea about now, though it sometimes happens sooner. Snow may also fall on Mauna Loa and Haleakalā, but it lasts longest on Mauna Kea, whose very name means "white mountain." Poli'ahu, the goddess of snow and sister of Pele, was called  ka wahine kapa hau anu o Mauna Kea, "the woman who wears the cold snow cape of Mauna Kea."

Mauna Kea (foreground) and Mauna Loa. 
Photo by C. Tucker.

Generally ill-equipped for cold, Hawaiians stayed inside by wood fires when the weather got bitter. Naueue ka hi'u o ka i'a lewa i ke kai, says a proverb about this time of year: "The tails of the fish that move in the sea tremble." Even the fish are shivering.

Text taken from "Hawai'i: A Calendar of Natural Events" 
published by Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

Friday, December 4, 2009

Like the beach? Help clean it up on Saturday December 12!

The Friends of Kaena invite you to 
Malama Kaena...

By helping with a beach clean-up

Saturday December 12 2009

Want to help? Meet at YMCA Camp Erdman  69-385 Farrington Hwy.

Come dressed to work outside in hot weather. Don't forget sunscreen and a hat!

Afterwards, join the Friends of Kaena board members for lunch, where they'll discuss plans to further malama Kaena.

The Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi)
can often be seen at the very end of Kaena Point. 

pōhinahina (vitex rotundifolia)
is one of the first plants to colonize coastal dunes, keeping the sand from blowing away. This hardy shrub bears handsome deep blue to purple blossoms that are a favorite of lei makers and growers of Hawaiian plants.
Pōhinahina is a native plant that grows at Kaena Point.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Calling all Graphic Artists, Designers, and Students!

The 2010 Hawai’i Conservation Conference is not until August, but the logo design contest deadline is December 9th!

The Hawaii Conservation Alliance is looking for a logo to represent the conference, which takes place August 4-6, 2010 at the Hawai’i Convention Center in Honolulu, HI.

It is the largest gathering of conservation professionals in Hawai'i, expected to bring in over 1,000 participants. The winning design will be showcased on conference materials, including the conference website, signs, program booklet, and souvenirs. You will also receive a cash prize of $100 and free registration to the conference and other Conservation Week events (a value of over $300).

The 2010 conference theme is "Pacific Ecosystem Management and Restoration: Applying Traditional and Western Knowledge Systems". This theme reflects the growing trend in Hawai‘i and the Pacific region of landowners, communities, natural resource agencies, and governments working together more collaboratively and utilizing different knowledge systems to better manage and restore island ecosystems.

Logo designs must be received by Wednesday, December 9, by 5:00 p.m. The winning design will be announced December 18. For logo guidelines and instructions for submitting an entry, visit the Hawaii Conservation Alliance logo contest page.

Above: Orville Baldos' design was chosen for the 2009 Conservation Conference

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 1st week in December - Makali'i

What's Happening in Hawai'i
during the 1st Week in December (Makali'i):

According to one legend, this month takes its name from a great navigator who steered the first canoes to the islands. Maka means "eyes" and li'i is short for ali'i, so his name can be translated "Eyes of the Chief," indicating his importance and prowess at steering by the stars. The Pleiades are also called the Makali'i, perhaps because of their use in the ancient science of celestial navigation.

Ilima on Oahu.
Photo by C. Tucker.

It is said that the hero Makali'i was a great farmer as well as steersman and that his name was given to December because it is the month when he planted his crops. Tradition also says that it is the time when 'ilima (Sida fallax) withers and ko'oko'olau (Bidens spp.) blossoms. 'Ilima is a dryland plant famous today for the flowers it gives to the lei of O'ahu. In the old days, along with ko'oko'olau, it was equally valued for its many medicinal uses. A proverb says, Ola no i ka pua o ka 'ilima - "There is healing in the 'ilima blossom."

'Ilima at Mokolii on Oahu.

Drawn image and text taken from "Hawai'i: A Calendar of Natural Events" 
published by Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

Monday, November 23, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 4th week in November: 'amakihi

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 4th week in November:

Starting this week, 'amakihi are starting to nest in high, native forests on the island of Hawai'i. Although breeding at this time of year is unusual for Hawaiian birds, 'amakihi and nēnē have both developed this behavior. Perhaps there is a greater availability of food available during the rainy season.

The Hawai‘i ‘amakihi (Hemignathus virens) is a small generalist Hawaiian honeycreeper (Family: Fringillidae) that occurs on the islands of Hawai‘i, Maui, and Moloka‘i. Until 1995, the Hawai‘i ‘amakihi, and the O‘ahu 'amakihi (H. flavus) and Kaua‘i ‘amakihi (H. kauaiensis) were considered a single species: the common ‘amakihi (H. virens).

Plumage of all species is similar; males are yellow-green to olive in color, and females are generally similar, but duller. All have decurved bills.

Hawai‘i ‘amakihi are generalized foragers that most often glean arthropods from the leaves, blossoms, twigs, branches, and less frequently from tree trunks of a variety of trees, ferns, and shrubs. This species feeds on nectar predominately from the flowers of ‘ōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha), māmane (Sophora chrysophylla), and native lobelias (Campanulaceae), but also forages on flowers of a number of other native and non-native plants. Hawai‘i ‘amakihi also eats fruit from native and non-native plants, but predominately from pilo (Coprosma spp.).

Hawai'i 'amakihi forages alone, in pairs, in family groups, or in mixed flocks. Courtship behavior is somewhat complex and includes courtship chases, advertising displays, and courtship feeding. Pairs will remain together for successive breeding seasons. The pair selects a nest site, the female builds an open-cup nest, then lays two or three eggs. Only females incubate eggs and brood nestlings. Males deliver food to females who then feed nestlings. Fledglings are dependent on parents for up to three months. The Hawai‘i ‘amakihi usually raise two broods in a season.

Drawn images taken from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events" 
published by Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989
For more info about 'amakihi, and to see photos, visit the Hawaii Comprehensive Conservation Strategy forest bird fact sheets.

Or click on the names below:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Time For An Environmental Pop Quiz!

Lessons from the Environment:
Test Your Environmental Knowledge!

An environmental awareness quiz, brought to you by the National Environmental Education Foundation. This quiz covers issues that have been discussed in the media. The questions are designed to illustrate how much accurate information people are getting from television, newspapers, magazines, and other sources. Write down your answers and compare them to the correct answers below.

1. There are many different kinds of animals and plants, and they live in many different types of environments. What is the word used to describe this idea? Is it:
. Multiplicity

b. Biodiversity
c. Socio-economics
d. Evolution
e. Don't know

2. Carbon monoxide is a major contributor to air pollution in the U.S. Which of the following is the biggest source of carbon monoxide? Is it…
a. Factories and businesses

b. People breathing
c. Motor vehicles
d. Trees
e. Don't know

3. How is most of the electricity in the U.S. generated? Is it…
a. By burning oil, coal, and wood

b. With nuclear power
c. Through solar energy
d. At hydro-electric power plants
e. Don't know

4. What is the most common cause of pollution of streams, rivers, and oceans? Is it…
a. Dumping of garbage by cities

b. Surface water running off yards, city streets, paved lots, and farm fields
c. Trash washed into the ocean from beaches
d. Waste dumped by factories
e. Don't know

5. Which of the following is a renewable resource? Is it…
a. Oil

b. Iron ore
c. Trees
d. Coal
e. Don't know

6. Ozone forms a protective layer in the earth's upper atmosphere. What does ozone protect us from? Is it …
a. Acid rain

b. Global warming
c. Sudden changes in temperature
d. Harmful, cancer-causing sunlight
e. Don't know

7. Where does most of the garbage in the U.S. end up? Is it in…
a. Oceans

b. Incinerators
c. Recycling centers
d. Landfills
e. Don't know

8. What is the name of the primary federal agency that works to protect the environment? Is it the…
a. Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA)

b. Department of Health, Environment, and Safety (the DHES)
c. National Environmental Agency (the NEA)
d. Federal Pollution Control Agency (the FPCA)
e. Don't know

9. Which of the following household wastes is considered hazardous waste? Is it…
a. Plastic packaging

b. Glass
c. Batteries
d. Spoiled food
e. Don't know

10. What is the most common reason that an animal species becomes extinct? Is it because…
a. Pesticides are killing them

b. Their habitats are being destroyed by humans
c. There is too much hunting
d. There are climate changes that affect them
e. Don't know

11. Scientists have not determined the best solution for disposing of nuclear waste. In the U.S., what do we do with it now? Do we…
a. Use it as nuclear fuel

b. Sell it to other countries
c. Dump it in landfills
d. Store and monitor the waste
e. Don't know

12. What is the primary benefit of wetlands? Do they…
a. Promote flooding

b. Help clean the water before it enters lakes, streams, rivers, or oceans
c. Help keep the number of undesirable plants and animals low,
d. Provide good sites for landfills
e. Don't know

Click here to compare your responses to the responses of a random survey of Americans. Click here for a report card on Americans' environmental knowledge.

(Answers: 1. b, 2. c, 3. a, 4. b, 5. c 6. d, 7. d, 8. a, 9. c, 10. b, 11. d, 12.b)

Quiz, answers, and links from the National Environmental Education Foundation website.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Online Environmental Education Resources

See below for two online resource centers for educators and advice for teachers looking to incorporate EE into the classroom:

Resource #1.
Attention High School Teachers! The National Environmental Education Foundation's Classroom Earth is an online resource designed to help high school teachers include environmental content in their daily lesson plans. This is not just for science teachers. Lessons are divided up by subject area, and include foreign languages, language arts, math, social studies, the arts, and of course, science.

Useful resources on the site include:
In the News: Find environmental news articles to connect to your classroom content.
Where in the World: Geographically-based environmental information, plus resources for incorporating geographically-based topics into your lessons.
Find your Course

Look at Success Stories. The projects of other teachers can offer inspiration.
Explore Funding Opportunities
Teaching about the environment does not require funding, but if you have a creative idea that needs funding, or want to allow an opportunity to enrich your skills, browse the funding resources.
Discover Professional Development Opportunities
Are you looking for professional development opportunities to help you learn more about how to include environmental content in your high school classroom lessons? Look for tabs at the top of the home page or links in the bottom right hand corner.

Resource #2
The National Wildlife Federation has officially started the Eco-Schools USA Program. It is the new US component of an international network of 30,000 schools in 43 nations.

The Eco-Schools USA goals are simple:  1) green the school buildings,  2) green the school grounds, and c) green the educational programming at registered schools.

The program encompasses a rich set of educational "pathways" such as energy, water, green hour outdoors and climate change. Program partners include, Facing the Future, Al Gore's Climate Project, and the HSBC climate initiative. Schools and teachers can sign up online to be a part of the program and access valuable resources for "greening" your school!

And finally...
Advice from educators, for educators interested in incorporating the environment in their teachings.

  • Look for real-life connections that students can relate to.
  • Talk about science careers.
  • Don’t brainwash students, let them reach their own understanding based on facts.
  • Get the whole school involved. A holistic approach that incorporates the environment in more than just science classes.
  • As the teacher, you need to get out in the field. Try a summer project with the Nature Conservancy or a university professor.
  • Forge a connection with a university so that you can bring a scientist into your classroom.
  • Show school administrators that you’ve done your homework and have a workable plan if you want to sell them on a class project that takes the kids outside the classroom.
  • Learn how to write and apply for grants.

    *This list is part of the article "Teachers and schools embrace green curricula" by Harriet Blake for KABC TV - Los Angeles.

Monday, November 16, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 3rd week in November - Humpback Whales

What's Happening in Hawaii 
during the 3rd week in November:
Humpback whales are now beginning to arrive for their annual, five-month stay in island waters. Humpbacks come to calve, and preferring warm, sheltered water for this purpose, they can often be seen from shore. Arrivals can increase in December and January, with the peak population being reached in February, when much of the calving occurs. 

At least a few humpbacks winter near each of the main islands, but they can be found in greatest numbers in the enclosed waters off Maui's southern flank and over a shallow bank west of Moloka'i.

Of the several hundred adults present, perhaps 30 will bear calves, and some will also mate before setting out in April or May for their summer feeding grounds in the North Pacific. Humpbacks are known for underwater song, and their music evolves while they are here. New themes are started and old ones dropped, so that they leave with a different song than they brought. 

To see a video of singing whales, visit the Whale Humpback Whale Song site. This site also answers many frequently asked questions about whale songs.

Visit the Discovery Channel webpage to hear Humpback whale songs as well as noises from other interesting creatures. (You may need Quicktime, RealPlayer or Windows Media player to access these audio files. DOFAW is not affiliated with Whale Trust or the Discovery Channel.)

Want to learn more about the Humpback's migration? Visit the NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary site to play a fun migration game.

If you'd like to volunteer your time and join others to watch and count whales this winter, visit the NOAA Humpback Whale Sanctuary Ocean Count Volunteer page.

Natural history info and image taken from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events," 
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989.

Friday, November 13, 2009

How can you help Hawaii's unique and beautiful natural resources?

Here are a few ideas:

Get outdoors! Try out a new Na Ala Hele trail, visit a forest or spend some time in your neighborhood park. Appreciate what's out there, and spread your enthusiasm to others.

Before and after your hike, make sure to clean your shoes and pant legs. Seeds from invasive plants can stick to the bottoms of your shoes and pants, which can spread to native areas. Help the native forest by keeping it free of weeds!

Plant a tree! For advice about planting the right tree in the right place, visit the Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program webpage.

Plant some native vegetation. For a list of native plants, and tips for how and where to plant them, visit pages 6, 7 and 9 of the Backyard Conservation publication distributed this year on Oahu. Did you get your copy in your newspaper? If not, you can utilize this informative online resource right on your computer! While you're browsing through the booklet, learn about xeriscaping, compost, and water conservation.

Keep the environment free of litter. Make sure your trash goes into the trash can, and join beach and park clean-ups. Visit the Keep America Beautiful webpage for a list of community organizations working to keep Hawaii beautiful. If there are no clean-ups in your neighborhood or at your favorite beach, get friends and family together to start one!

Like spending time at the beach? Volunteer with the NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Ocean Count program. Each winter when the humpback whales stop off in the islands during their annual migration, volunteers post up at beaches on Oahu, Hawaii and Kauai to watch for whales, and monitor their behavior. This information is then reported back to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by location team leaders. For more details about dates, locations and registering to help, visit the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale webpage.

What else can you do to help Hawaii's environment? Leave your ideas in a comment below!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Richard C. Bartlett Award - A $5,000 Grant For Environmental Education

"Engaging youth to learn about nature and the environment is important. Positive solutions to achieve a sustainable planet begin in the classroom with teachers...who are true leaders in education."  
-Richard C. Bartlett

The Richard C. Bartlett Environmental Education Award is awarded annually to an outstanding educator who has successfully integrated environmental education into his or her daily education programs. The award is given to an educator who can serve as an inspiration and model for others.
A $5,000 cash award is provided for the recipient to continue their work in environmental education. Additionally, as part of the prize, the winner travels to Washington, D.C., to meet with representatives from the  environmental community to further his or her network. Read about previous winners of the Bartlett Award.

This award honors teachers that are bringing environmental education into the curriculum and the community, not just teaching about environmental challenges but also engaging students in the solution.

The award was established in 2007 by the National Environmental Education Foundation to distinguish the teachers who best represent Richard C. Bartlett’s passion for and leadership in environmental education. For more than 40 years, Richard C. Bartlett has been inspiring environmental educators nationwide.  For more information on Mr. Bartlett, read his biography

Applications are due January 15th, 2010

Interested?? You can fill-out the online application, which includes six brief essay questions and must be completed online. In addition, at least three letters of support (one from a school administrator, one from a fellow teacher, and one from a student) must be submitted to NEEF by mail or fax.

The winner will be honored during National Environmental Education Week, April 11-17, 2010, and will travel to Washington, D.C. at the end of the month to receive their $5,000 prize, and meet with representatives in the environmental education field.

For more about applying, eligibility, and any questions:

Or contact Meghan Trossen, Bartlett Award Coordinator
Phone: 202-261-6466

Good luck! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Join DOFAW at the Kamehameha Schools Surf Sample Sale and Environmental Awareness Event November 21, 2009

On Saturday November 21st, join DOFAW at the 2nd Annual Kamehameha Schools Surf Sample Sale and Awareness Event to learn about how to care for our watersheds. Watershed education is beneficial for everyone, especially those who love the ocean. What we do mauka affects makai; take care of the land and the ocean will benefit too.

The event is happening from 10am-2pm and is hosted by the KS Surfers Give Back Club. It is a benefit for Shriner's Hospital and the Queen Lilioukalani Foundation, with profits from the surf sample sale going to these two places. For more about the history of the KS Surfers Give Back Club and details about the event, visit the website below.

This free event is open to everyone, and will have food, entertainment, a kids corner, and LOTS of surf gear for sale. For more info, visit the event webpage here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This Week in Nature:The 2nd week in November - Nene

What's Happening in Hawaii 
during the 2nd week in November:

Nēnē, the Hawaiian goose (Branta sandvicensis), begins nesting on the upper slopes of Haleakalā, Hualālai, and Mauna Loa. Historically, at least five species of geese (family: Anatidae) occurred in Hawai‘i; today, only the nēnē, or Hawaiian goose, survives. Adult males and females are mostly dark brown or sepia with a black face and crown, cream-colored cheeks, and a buff neck with black streaks. Females are smaller than males. Compared to other geese, nēnē are more terrestrial and have longer legs and less webbing between their toes; these differences likely facilitate nēnē walking on lava flows.

Nēnē, Haleakalā National Park, Maui.
Photo by Forest & Kim Starr

Nēnē pairs mate for life. Nēnē have an extended breeding season and eggs can be found all year except May-July, although the majority of birds nest between October and March, and most clutches are laid between October and December. Nēnē nests consist of a shallow scrape, moderately lined with plant materials and down. Pairs typically return to previous years’ nests sites, typically in dense vegetation; when available, kīpuka may be preferred. Females lay between two and five eggs which hatch after 30 days. Young are not fed by their parents; however, young remain with their parents for up to one year.

Nēnē, Haleakalā National Park, Maui.  
Photo by Forest & Kim Starr 

In 1951, the wild nēnē population was estimated at 30 individuals. Current population is estimated at between 1,300 and 1,500 individuals with 378 birds on the island of Hawai‘i, 295 to 325 birds on Maui, 720 birds on Kaua‘i, and 74 birds on Moloka‘i. All populations have been or are currently being supplemented by captive-bred birds.

Historical threats included habitat loss and degradation, hunting, and predation by rats (Rattus spp.), cats (Felis silvestris), dogs (Canis domesticus), and the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus). Current threats include predation by the non-native mammals listed above, exposure in high-elevation habitats, nutritional deficiency due to habitat degradation which may result in low productivity, a lack of lowland habitat, human-caused disturbance and mortality (e.g., road mortality, disturbance by hikers), behavioral problems related to captive propagation, and inbreeding depression.

Nēnē at Namana o ke Akua Haleakala National Park, Maui 
 Photo by Forest & Kim Starr

The goals of conservation actions are not only to protect current populations and key breeding habitats, but also to establish additional populations, thereby reducing the risk of extinction. Past and current actions include captive propagation and release of captive-bred individuals into the wild, predator control, habitat enhancement, research and monitoring, private conservation efforts, formation of the Nēnē Recovery Action Group, and public education.

For more details about the nēnē life cycle, and how DOFAW is working to protect the nēnē, visit the Hawaii Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy nēnē fact sheet.

Also, visit the nēnē page.

Check out Forest and Kim Starr's gallery for more beautiful images of nēnē and other native Hawaiian species. 

Drawn image from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989.

Text: Hawaii Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, October 2005. 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Free Resources for Teachers

Are you looking for a fun activity to teach your students about Hawaii's special plants and animals? Check out the coloring books and other resources available for educators online from Division of Forestry and Wildlife!

Click here to see the other pages to the fun and educational Endangered Animals of Hawaii coloring book available free to educators of all kinds. Simply print out the pages and have fun!

Check out the Forest Jewels of Hawaii coloring book online too. Learn about pueo (sample page above), 'i'iwi, 'amakihi and more of the unique and beautiful birds that call Hawai'i home.

Also see the Teacher Resources page to see curriculum, lesson plans, posters and other great resources for educators.

While you're on the Forestry and Wildlife kids page, explore some of the resources available from other agencies like NOAA.

Have fun and happy teaching!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

See a Snake? Don't Wait - Report a Pest!

Hawaii residents are urged to use the new pest hotline to promptly report sightings of invasive pests such as snakes, unusually aggressive stinging ants, and illegal or unknown animals.

643-PEST (7378)

Fire AntsCoqui Frog
The new Pest Hotline number, 643-PEST (7378), can be dialed from any island in the state, without dialing a “1” or an area code. This Pest Hotline is also the Amnesty Line, where people can turn in illegal animals without fear of prosecution.

The new Pest Hotline relies on a computer program to route calls to the nearest Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) office during normal business hours. On weekends or afterhours, calls are routed automatically to the HDOA office at the Honolulu International Airport, which is staffed 20 hours a day, seven days a week.

The implementation of the new number means that neighbor island callers will NOT incur toll charges as they have in the past when calling the original pest hotline, 586-PEST. The original pest hotline will continue to be operational. An existing HDOA database used to log interceptions of pests at airports and harbors has been modified to also log pest hotline reports.

For more about invasive species and pests in Hawaii, including a guide to high profile invasive species with photos, visit

Click here to watch short videos about pest species and how you can help "Stop the Silent Invasion."

Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Brown Tree snake, Miconia, Coqui frog, and Little Red Fire ant.