Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Children and Youth Day 2009

Join DOFAW and other agencies, non-profits, and youth-focused groups on the State Capital grounds on October 4th for a full free day of fun, activities, music, food, and more! 

Time: 10am-3pm
Location: Hawaii State Capital Building, Honolulu, HI
Details: See website links below

"2009 marks the 16th annual Children & Youth Day and promises to be as exciting as past years. This is a one-day free event of fun games, educational experiences, hands-on activities, entertainment and surprising adventures for Hawaii’s children and youth and the young at heart - great fun for the whole family!
Good Beginnings Alliance is the fiscal sponsor for Children & Youth Day. The event kicks off a month long celebration of children and youth that involves over 2,300 volunteers and is a remarkable example of collaboration pulling together all segments of the community. The purpose of Children & Youth Day is to educate children, youth, parents and other family members about the issues facing Hawaii’s children. This event offers learning opportunities around creating stable, healthy, and safe environments in which children can succeed." - Good Beginnings Alliance website

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hawai'i Natural Area Reserves System

Hawai`i contains unique natural resources, such as geological and volcanological features and distinctive marine and terrestrial plants and animals, many of which occur nowhere else in the world. These resources are highly vulnerable to loss by the growth of population and technology.

Ka'ena Point, Oahu 

In 1970, the Hawai`i State Legislature expressed the need to protect and preserve these unique natural assets, both for the enjoyment of future generations, and to provide base lines against which changes which are being made in the environments of Hawai`i can be measured.

 Mt. Ka'ala, Oahu

 To accomplish these purposes, the legislature decided that the present system of preserves, sanctuaries and refuges must be strengthened, and additional areas of land and shoreline suitable for preservation should be set aside and administered solely and specifically for the aforesaid purposes.

'Āhihi kīna'u NAR, Maui 

Thus, the statewide Natural Area Reserves System (NARS) was established to preserve in perpetuity specific land and water areas which support communities, as relatively unmodified as possible, of the natural flora and fauna, as well as geological sites, of Hawai`i.

Hono O Na Pali NAR, Kauai

The system presently consists of 19 reserves on five islands, encompassing more than 109,000 acres of the State's most unique ecosystems. The diverse areas found in the NARS range from marine and coastal environments to lava flows, tropical rainforests, and even an alpine desert. Within these areas one can find rare endemic plants and animals, many of which are on the edge of extinction. The reserves also protect some of the major watershed areas which provide our vital sources of fresh water.

 Mauna Kea Ice Age NAR, Hawai'i Island

The Natural Area Reserves System is administered by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife. Currently, management teams are working to control the encroachment of non-native plants and animals which threaten the existence of the natural biota on the reserves.

To learn more about the NARS, visit:

All photos: DOFAW

Monday, September 28, 2009

"These Come From Trees" Stickers - free for schools

These Come From Trees Sticker 


The 'These Come From Trees' Education Challenge

A little more than a year ago, an enterprising student from Aragon High School up here in the Bay Area sent an email to us asking if we could provide him with complimentary stickers, as his school might not have the budget to buy stickers (and he, as a student, might not be able to navigate the ins-and-outs of purchasing via the school).

We thought it was a great idea, and not only did we set him up, but we opened up the offer more broadly to any K-12 organization interested. We call it the These Come From Trees Education Challenge.

All we ask is that the interested participant:
  • Figure out how many stickers they need for their school (How many paper towel dispensers in how many bathrooms? How many photocopiers?)
  • Make sure that they get permission from their principal or facilities administrator.
  • Submit your information using this web form to get the ball rolling!
Since then, we've had hundreds of schools reach out to us to take advantage of this challenge. With great success, with reports of up 30% reduction in paper towel usage!"

The idea of "education" is a big piece of These Come From Trees. That is to say, at the end of the day, the individual stickers themselves are a quick, polite piece of instruction that help us all say "Oh, yeah, that's right. How much of these do I really need?" So it only makes sense that 'These Come From Trees' stickers and schools would make a great team!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Earth Science Week

A weeklong event sponsored by the American Geological Institute, Earth Science Week is October 11-17, 2009.

The purpose of this weeklong celebration is to "encourage people everywhere to explore the natural world and learn about the geosciences. 'Understanding Climate,' the theme of Earth Science Week 2009, will promote scientific understanding of a timely, vital topic: Earth’s climate."

Throughout the week, NASA, the National Park Service, US Geological Survey and other geoscience groups will be releasing educational videos, holding webcasts, providing materials to teachers, and keeping interactive websites updated to promote understanding of our earth.

Visit for more information about how to get involved!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 4th week in September - happy face spiders

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

  Can you spot 2 happy face spiders on the underside of this leaf?
Photo: C. Tucker

Hawaiian happy face spiders (Theridion grallator) are rearing their young in 'ōhi'a forests of Maui, Moloka'i, O'ahu, and Hawai'i. Living under the sheltering leaves of kōpiko, pū'ahanui, and other plants, this native spider stays out of sight of insects and birds that prey on it.

There are dozens of different marking displayed by happy face spiders. Though its comical markings might seem hard to miss, in the forest light they serve as camouflage, and humans overlook the tiny happy face, too.

"Adult and keiki eating syrphid on Myrsine at Auwahi, Maui, Hawaii"
Photo by Forest & Kim Starr

The happy face spider; Theridion grallator, is now also known by the Hawaiian name nananana makaki'i. After its discovery by scientists in 1900, it was lost again for three quarters of a century.

Very few spiders display parental behavior, but the happyface spends as long as three months caring for its offspring. A mother shares her leaf with the young and feeds them small flies that seek refuge under the leaf when it rains. Detecting a fly on top of the leaf in good weather, she will creep to the edge and throw a web to snare it.  

To learn more about spiders in Hawai'i, visit the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy spider page.

Also, visit the spider page.

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


Friday, September 18, 2009

New Wetland Resource in Development

Kawainui Marsh, Oahu

 DOFAW is currently working with partners and wetland experts across the state to develop a wetland brochure and poster. 

 Cattle crane [a non-native bird] and taro (kalo)

Hawai'i has many unique and special wetland areas. Some are in remote areas, but several, like Kawainui marsh and Hamakua marsh, are accessible and available for enjoyment by the public.

When visiting wetland areas, be sure to respect any posted signs, and avoid disturbing birds and other wetland creatures.

Honouliuli Marsh, Oahu

 The hope for the brochure and poster is to share educational and scientific information about wetlands in Hawai'i with the public. Stay tuned for more info about this wonderful wetland resource!  

Pinao (dragonfly) on taro (kalo)

 Web resources:
Hawaii Ecosystems At Risk project:

An informational and entertaining website created by students: 

Learn how to get involved at Kawainui marsh with Ahahui Malama i ka Lokahi and the Kailua Hawaiian Civic Club
All photos: C. Tucker

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 3rd week in September - Mokihana

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 3rd week in September:

"I kahi 'e no ke kumu mokihana, 
paoa 'e no 'one'i i ke 'ala.

Although the mokihana tree is at a distance, 
its fragrance reaches here."

Mokihana fruit is reaching peak abundance now in the rainforests of Kaua'i. Though mokihana grows only on that island, a lei made from its fruit carries the fragrance to distant places. This is the famous lei of Kaua'i, and its sweet scent lasts for years. Thus mokihana often signifies Kaua'i, or the eternal in Hawaiian songs and chants.

Mokihana and its native relatives, the alani, are members of the orange family. Noticing the botanical relationship, Hawaiians called orange trees alani when the Brotish explorer George Vancouver brought citrus to the islands in the late 18th century. The scientific name for mokihana is Pelea anisata - Pelea in honor of the volcano goddess Pele and anisata because its fragrance is reminiscent of anise. (This plant is also known by the botonical name Melicope anisata.) Dry fruit was scattered between layers of kapa as well as used in lei.  

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

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 2nd week in September - bristle-thighed curlew

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

Another migratory bird, the kioea or bristle-thighed curlew (Numenius tahitiensis), arrives at this time of year and stays through winter. Like the kōlea, it flies here from breeding grounds in the north - on the tundra of western Alaska. Kioea presently reside in greatest numbers on the unpopulated islands in the northwest part of the archipelago, but they may also be observed at uncrowded beaches on the main islands. 

"Kioea with Laysan albatross at Water catchment Sand Island, Midway Atoll"
Photo by Forest & Kim Starr  

The kioea must have been much more common in the old days, for Hawaiian sayings refer to it as the bird that prompts fishermen to launch their canoes. Its cry was said to be Lawelawe ke ō! Lawelawe ke ō!, which means "Take the food! Take the food!" Issuing this call in the early morning, it served as an alarm clock, signaling fishermen to get to work. 

"Kioea pack at Water catchment Sand Island, Midway Atoll"

Photo by Forest & Kim Starr  
For more photos of kioea and other birds, visit Forest and Kim Starr's gallery on the Hawai'i Ecosystems At Risk project website. 

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Join DOFAW in Kailua to learn about wetlands

DOFAW outreach staff will be participating in the Da Kine Canine Festival this year in Kailua town.

On September 6th from 2-6pm, there will be informational booths, a dog parade, live entertainment and a dog costume contest. It all happens at the Kailua town parking garage, in the farmer's market area.

DOFAW staff will be sharing info about how to safely visit natural areas with your dog. Festival goers can also learn about nearby wetland areas, and how best to protect our feathered friends that call them home.

So bring your pup, learn about natural areas, and participate in a fun craft at the DOFAW booth this year at the
Da Kine Canine Festival in Kailua!

This Week in Nature: The 1st week in September - blue whale

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 1st week in September:

The blue whale, largest of the whales, migrates through Hawaiian waters at this time of year. Exactly where it is going and why, no one knows, in part because it keeps to the deep seas and in part because whaling has reduced the herds so much that observation is more difficult than ever. Happily, there are signs that the population of blue whales is on the rise.

Though one report tells of small whales being driven into Hilo Bay and later consumed, it seems safe to say that the Hawaiians generally did not hunt or eat whales, which they classed together under the name koholā. Apparently the Hawaiians dealt mainly with beached whales and valued them primarily for their ivory, known as palaoa, whose most prominent use was in the royal lei niho palaoa.

A proverb says, "Above, below, the upland, the lowland, the whale that washes ashore - all belong to the ali'i."

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

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Free Environmental Education Workshop in Hawaii - 2009

Announcing 2009 Project Learning Tree Environmental Education workshops in Hawaii!

Project Learning Tree is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary Environmental Education program. These FREE professional development opportunities will provide educators with the chance to meet and share ideas with other teachers, participate in interactive lessons while learning how to use the PLT activity guide.

The Project Learning Tree (PLT) Pre K-8 Guide

Participants will receive the PLT Pre K-8 curriculum guide, which contains 96 lessons and activities and is correlated to National Content Standards. During the workshops, facilitators highlight connections with Hawaii-specific resources, including the Ohia Project.
Several lessons will be correlated with Hawaii State Science Standards and Benchmarks. Participants will also learn about grant opportunities and will receive free teaching materials.

Complimentary lunch and snacks for PLT workshops throughout the islands provided by various generous sponsors including Costco Oahu and Kauai, Stretch Island Fruit, Larabar, and Whole Foods Honolulu. 

2009 Workshop details:
Hawaii Island: (CLOSED) September 19, 2009 from 8:30am-3:30pm at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Featuring an interpretive hike provided by HAVO ranger, special guest speakers, and more!
Maui: (CLOSED) June 13, 2009 from 9am – 3:30pm at the Hawaii Nature Center in Iao Valley. Optional guided hike after the workshop led by Hawaii Nature Center Staff.
Kauai: (CLOSED) June 19, 2009 from 11am – 4pm meet at the Kokee Lodge. Optional free overnight accommodations on the 19th for those who want to participate in our service trip on the 20th.
Oahu: (CLOSED) June 27, 2009 from 9am – 3:30pm at the Hawaii Nature Center in Makiki. Optional guided hike after the workshop led by Hawaii Nature Center Staff.

PLT workshops in Hawaii are sponsored by the Department of Land and Natural Resources - Division of Forestry and Wildlife, in cooperation with Hawaii Nature Center, the US Forest Service, the American Forest Foundation and other partners.