Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Announcing 2010 Project Learning Tree Environmental Education workshops on Oahu and Maui!

Announcing 2010 Project Learning Tree Environmental Education workshops on Oahu and Maui!

Project Learning Tree (PLT) 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 and participate in interactive lessons while learning how to use the PLT activity guide.

Maui educators participating in the PLT activity "Tree Factory"

Oahu PLT Workshop
Location: Hawaii Nature Center
Date: February 20th 2010
Time: 9-3:30pm
Details: Join us at the Hawaii Nature Center in Makiki to learn how the Project Learning Tree (PLT) curriculum can be integrated into 7th and 8th grade science classrooms. We will be offering PDE credits through the Department of Education to DOE teachers of 7th and 8th grade science that complete additional requirements. If this is of interest to you, please ask for more details prior to registering.
Educators of other grades and subjects are encouraged to attend, and may adapt materials for their own use. Lunch will be provided by Whole Foods Honolulu, and participants will receive the PLT activity guide with 96 interactive lessons as well as other educational resources.
For more information, visit

Maui PLT Workshop
Location: Hawaii Nature Center in Iao Valley
Date: March 20th 2010
Time: 9-3:30pm
Details: Meet at the beautiful Hawaii Nature Center in Iao Valley and learn how to use the Project Learning Tree (PLT) Activity Guide with your students. This interactive workshop will demonstrate several hands-on activities from PLT as well as Ohia Project and Hoike o Haleakala - two valuable Hawaii-specific environmental education resources. Lunch and snacks will be provided, and participants will receive free educational resources in addition to the PLT Activity Guide which contains 96 interactive lesson plans.

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

Kauai and Hawaii Island PLT Workshops
Details to be determined. If you are interested in attending a workshop on Kauai or Hawaii Island in 2010, please ask for more info!

For more information about the workshops and to register, visit

For more about Project Learning Tree, visit

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.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Celebrate World Wetlands Day - Saturday February 6th 2010

You are invited to a World Wetlands Day celebration 
in Kailua, Oahu on Saturday, February 6th 2010!

This event is free and open to the public, and this year, the festivities will take place in the covered parking structure at the Kailua Long's Drugstore. The day will begin at 8:30 am with pule and continue until 2:00pm.

Take a free guided tour of the Kawainui and Hamakua Marsh complex, browse interactive exhibits in the covered parking structure, listen to music by Hawaii Loa, or take a stroll through the marsh and experience the natural beauty of the wetlands right near Kailua town!

Several federally-listed endangered bird species live in Kawainui and Hamakua marshes.
While visiting, keep an eye out for the Hawaiian stilt; ae'o (pictured above), Hawaiian moorhen; 'alae 'ula
(a black bird with a red shield above its beak), and Hawaiian coot; 'alae ke'oke'o (a black bird with a white shield and beak). Click the above links for more info and photos.

Did you know that Kawainui Marsh was designated a "Ramsar Wetland of International Importance" in 2005? To read more about what this means, visit the Ramsar webpage here.

Hope to see you in Kailua on Saturday, February 6th!

Monday, January 25, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 4th week in January - Potter's Angelfish

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 4th week in January:
Potter's angelfish (Centropyge potteri), a native reef dweller, spawns this week - the week before the full moon. Its reproductive behavior is tied not only to the moon phase but also to the season and time of day, in a complex pattern that appears to increase the odds that its larvae will survive. Spawning occurs over high reef areas at dusk, when the lunar pull creates tides likely to carry larvae offshore, away from potential predators resting in the lower reef. At this time of year, larvae subsequently will be picked up by northwesterly ocean currents and swept along the archipelago, improving the chances that juveniles eventually will be redeposited on a Hawaiian reef.

Potter's angelfish is among the most common inhabitants of island reefs. It grows to a maximum length of five inches, and like other fish that have little or no value as food, it lacks a Hawaiian name. Today, however, this shy algae-eater has gained popularity as an aquarium fish, ranking third in commercial trade in Hawaii.

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

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Walk on the Wild Side," A free lecture by Betsy Gagne, January 27th 2010, Waikiki

"Natural Treasures of Hawaii" Free Lecture Series presents "Walk on the Wild Side" January 27th, 2010 at ING Direct Cafe in Waikiki.

Join us on Wednesday January 27th, 2010 at 6:00 PM for an engaging presentation by Betsy Gagne, Executive Secretary of the Natural Area Reserves System Commission.

"Ever wonder about the natural world that exists just outside of our homes and offices? It is a past, present and future to invest and believe in. Just as saving money is part of your investment in life, so are the many unique places and critters that call Hawaii (and nowhere else on the planet!) home. Come share a visual walk on the wild side of life on lands managed by the State of Hawaii. Learn about the important role these areas play in the natural and cultural history of Hawaii and how the Natural Area Reserves System program is working with other private and public organizations to accomplish a great deal on not very much funding."

Betsy was born and raised on Oahu (Roosevelt HS and UH graduate) and has had a lifelong interest in and involvement with native ecosystems, both here and other islands in the Pacific. Her background includes building fences and vegetation management at Haleakala National Park for 8 years and 17 years at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Hope to see you there!

This event is part of a series of monthly lectures (the last Wednesday of the month) and is brought to you by the Hawaii Conservation Alliance in partnership with ING Direct.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Grants, Awards and Scholarships Page - updated

See below for grants for teachers, filmmakers, and photographers, as well as competitions and awards for students. Do you know of any grant opportunities we should know about? Feel free to leave a comment!

"Living on the Ocean Planet" Video Contest - Submission deadline January 25, 2010. The National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) "Living on the Ocean Planet" Video Contest seeks to highlight the important role technology plays in ocean research. Any student enrolled in a high school in the United States is eligible to submit a video. Students are encouraged to work in teams. The top prize is an invitation to the 2010 NOSB Finals Competition at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, Fla. on April 23-25. Learn more.
The following has been compiled by the National Science Teacher's Association (NSTA):

DuPont Challenge© Science Essay Competition

DuPont Challenge© Science Essay Competition gets students writing about science! Students in seventh through12th grade research and write a 700 to 1,000-word essay about a scientific discovery, theory, event or technological application that has captured their interest. Created to honor the Challenger astronauts, students can win savings bonds up to $5,000, and a trip to Walt Disney World and to the Kennedy Space Center. Teachers win too! Along with the trips with their students, teachers can also win $500 grants. Students have the opportunity to be inspired, to be creative, and to tell a story in this essay about any scientific topic. Teachers can use this competition to motivate students to reach beyond themselves and push the limits! To learn more about the competition, check out the website at Entries will be accepted from December 1, 2009 until January 31, 2010.

Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards Program
ExploraVision is a competition that makes science fun and exciting for students and gives educators an innovative way to present science topics in the classroom. This competition encourages K-12 students of any interest and ability levels to imagine a future technology using present day predicaments. Students can win up to $10,000 in savings bonds for college and cool gifts from Toshiba. Applications are now being accepted; the deadline is February 2, 2010. For more information about the program or to learn how to apply, visit

Action for Nature Eco-Hero awards: To recognize the outstanding accomplishments of environmentally minded young people, Action for Nature will present cash prizes of up to $500 to young Eco-Heroes for their environmental successes. Applicants ages 16 or under are eligible to apply. Winners will receive both a cash prize up to $500, and public recognition through Action for Nature’s public relations department. Application deadline is February 28, 2010.

We Can Change the World Challenge
K-8 students have the opportunity to become “Agents of Change” as they team up with their classmates to create replicable solutions to environmental issues in their classroom, school and community. Student and teacher/mentor prizes, which vary according to grade level, include savings bonds, school grants, exciting trips, TV appearances and much more. Applications are now being accepted. The deadline for elementary level entries is January 31, 2010 (finalists and winners to be announced March 10, 2010); and the deadline for middle school entries is March 15, 2010 (state winners to be announced April 26, 2010, and national winners to be announced May 10, 2010). For more information about the Challenge or to register for the competition, visit


Disney Planet Challenge will fund hands-on classroom projects that benefit the environment. To be eligible, teachers must first register to participate in the Disney Planet Challenge, then submit a hands-on project request focusing on the environment at Full-time fourth, fifth and sixth grade teachers at public schools are eligible.

Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grants
Searching for funding for your outdoor classroom, schoolyard garden, or school greening project? Lowe's will donate $5 million to public schools and public school parent teacher groups at more than 1,000 different public schools per school year. 

Nickelodeon's Big Green Grants Program provides resources to schools and community-based organizations to support environmentally friendly projects that educate and inspire kids to take care of the environment, be active, live healthily, and engage in community service. Each Green Grant will provide up to $5,000. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year.

NOAA's Office of Education requests applications for environmental literacy projects in K-12 education.  Funded projects will be 1-5 years in duration and will promote changes in K-12 education to expand the amount of Earth System Science taught in the classroom.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.  Winners receive a paid trip to Washington, D.C., and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. 

Explore Funding Opportunities
Teaching about the environment does not always require funding, but if you have a creative idea that needs funding, or want to allow an opportunity to enrich your skills, browse funding resources by using the link above.

Do Something Grants: Did you recently create a sustainable community action project, program or organization? Would $500 help further the growth and success of your program? If you answered, "YES!" you are eligible to apply for a Plum Youth Grant. Plum grants are awarded weekly on a rolling basis. Applications can be submitted every two months.

Apprentice Ecologist Initiative Grant:
The Apprentice Ecologist Initiative has engaged many young people to participate in environmental conservation and cleanup projects over the past decade. It is a two-part award.  First, teens lead a project, such as a clean-up of a natural area or a tree-planting project.  Then photos of the experience are uploaded to the Nicodemus Wilderness Project Web site.  The final component of the competition is to submit an essay about the project experience. A $500 educational scholarship, as well as several runner-up prizes, are awarded annually to the author of the top Apprentice Ecologist essay.

President’s Environmental Youth Awards: Since 1971, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has annually sponsored the President’s Environmental Youth Awards. The awards program recognizes forward-thinking youth with outstanding ideas about the environment and how to sustain it. All applicants receive a signed certificate by the President honoring them for their efforts. Regional winners receive a presidential plaque as well as an invitation to an EPA-sponsored ceremony in Washington, D.C. The competition is open to K-12 youth in all 50 states and the U.S. territories with an adult sponsor.

Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards: Do you think you have an idea that could impact the field of renewable energy? The Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards challenges teams of high school students to create innovative products for use in various fields of science and technology, including lunar exploration, personal spaceflight and renewable energy. Teams vie for more than $100,000 in cash prizes and the opportunity to commercialize their products for general market use.

Canon Envirothon Competition: The Canon Envirothon – North America’s largest high school environmental competition – is an annual youth environmental competition taking place over five days during the summer (August 1-7, 2010). Teams must demonstrate their knowledge of environmental science and natural resource management at five training/testing stations.

Volvo Adventure and United Nations Environment Program Competition:
Volvo Adventure, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program, recognizes and rewards students’ environmental activities. Finalists receive a trip to Sweden for the final judging and awards ceremony. Three prizes are awarded, including a grand prize of $10,000. To enter the competition students, must form a team of two to five members between 13 and 16 years of age plus one adult team leader. Teams plan and perform an environmental project and submit the finished project for judging. Submission deadline is January 31, 2011.

The above competition information comes from High School students interested in keeping up with conservation news, including contests, awards, and scholarship info can check it out here


Are you a film maker interested in conservation issues? This grant may be for you: The Hawaii Community Foundation presents: The Pikake Fund; a grant given for film and video projects about environmental protection.

The Pikake Fund provides support for film or video projects about environmental protection efforts. It is a small fund that only makes grants in even years, (i.e., 2008, 2010 etc.) Usually, no more than $18,000 is available for grant-making in any of these years. There are no set deadlines, and inquiries may be made or proposals submitted after January 31st of any grant-making year (i.e., 2006, 2008, 2010). This year's grant cycle begins January 31, 2010.
 The Fund is interested in supporting film or video projects that describe:
•  conservation work that positively impacts the health of terrestrial or nearshore marine ecosystems,
•  community-led projects or programs that demonstrate broad community involvement in the stewardship of natural resources, AND
•  projects that integrate natural resource protection with Hawaiian cultural practices and traditions.
If you are interested in finding out more, or applying for this grant for the 2010 grant cycle, visit the Hawaii Community Foundation grant info page.

Monday, January 18, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 3rd week in January - aku

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 3rd Week in January:
In Hawaiian tradition, a major fishing kapu was reversed at about this time, as the Makahiki season came to a close. Catching aku (Katsuwonus pelamis) was now permitted, and taking of another important fish, the 'opelu (mackerel  scad), was prohibited. This kapu served to protect the two fish, helping ensure ample supplies in years to come. Present regulations place no seasonal restrictions on aku and 'opelu fishing, but the largest catches are still made during the months allowed by the old kapu

Also called skipjack tuna or ocean bonito, aku move in big schools and will bite on almost anything during their daily feeding frenzies. Hawaiian fishing fleets of outrigger or double-hulled canoes exploited this trait the same way local sampans do today. Locating feeding schools by the seabirds that follow them, Hawaiian fishermen attracted aku with live nehu, the silvery native anchovy, then used mother-of-pearl lures to land fish in rapid succession. A Hawaiian warning against greedy behavior says "The aku rush to eat."   

Click here to learn more about aku from the website.

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

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 2nd week in January - 'apapane

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

Photo: DOFAW

(Himatione sanguinea) are beginning to mate and nest in high, native forests throughout the islands. The ‘apapane is a small, crimson, primarily nectarivorous (nectar-eating) Hawaiian honeycreeper (Family: Fringillidae) and is an important ‘ōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha) pollinator. ‘Apapane are the most abundant and widely distributed Hawaiian honeycreeper, and are often seen flying above the canopy in search of patches of flowering ‘ōhi‘a. 'Apapane often choose upper branches of these trees as nesting sites. Their crimson plumage was sometimes used in Hawaiian featherwork.


'Apapane have an exceptionally wide repertoire of calls and sing almost all day during the breeding season, which for some pairs lasts as late as June. Courtship entails a lot of chasing on the part of the male 'apapane, both of his mate and of potential rivals, but everything settles down once nesting begins. The male keeps watch and sings from favored perches in nearby trees, while the female lays and warms the egg.

To learn more, visit the 'apapane page on the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) website.

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

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Hawaii Story Project Writing Contest Now Open for Submissions

The following information comes from the Hawaii Conservation Alliance webpage:

For the past three years the My Hawai'i Story Project, a middle school environmental writing contest, has touched the lives of nearly 2,000 students throughout the state. The 25 poems, essays, and stories published in each year's anthology engage the reader with inspiring, thoughtful, and diverse narratives.   

Now entering its fourth year, this unique statewide outreach program has provided students the opportunity to develop their writing skills while also fostering environmental literacy in those who will be responsible for the future stewardship of these islands.

"My Hawai'i is a perfect venue for students to express their knowledge and pride in their homeland, the aina..."
"...Students write with an awareness and truth that paints vivid pictures in the minds of readers..."
"...As a teacher, I am thrilled to be able to provide a real life writing situation that interests my students."  -Marcia Huber, English Teacher Grades 7 & 8, Le Jardin Academy

Deadline for entries: March 11, 5 PM
Winners will be announced May 3

For more information about the 2010 My Hawai'i Story Project, including the online entry form and guidelines, please check out the My Hawai'i page on the Hawaii Conservation Alliance website.

This writing contest is sponsored by the Hawai'i Conservation Alliance and the Pacific Writers' Connection."

Monday, January 4, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 1st week in January - Koli'i

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 1st week in January

Koli'i (Trematolobelia macrostachys) is coming into bloom on all the islands. For most of its life, this native lobelia carries a single tuft of leaves at the top of its long, slender stem. When it reaches maturity, which may take as long as a decade, a plant puts forth an extraordinary burst of flowers, then drops all its leaves as fruit forms.

Each koli'i blossoms only once before dying, but protects an distributes its seed in a remarkable way to ensure reproduction. After a koli'i fruit has ripened, the moisture of the rainforest will rot away its fleshy skin, leaving a woody pod with many holes. Inside, waterproof sacs prevent the seeds from rotting as well. When dry weather comes in, these sacs split open and the pod works like a salt shaker, strewing seeds with every gust of wind.

To learn more, visit the Hawaii Ecosystems At Risk ( koli'i info page.

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