Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 4th Week in February - Laysan Albatross

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

Newly hatched Laysan albatross chick at Kaena Point NAR, O'ahu

Chicks of the Laysan albatross (Diomedea immutabilis), known to the Hawaiians as mōlī or ka'upu, are starting to hatch.

Above: A juvenile Laysan albatross at Kaena Point NAR, O'ahu

A mōlī begins to call even before its shell is cracked, and its parents respond, establishing a dialogue that lasts until the chick emerges, as much as six days later. Most nesting occurs on the remote northwest islands, but there is a large nesting colony at Ka'ena Point on Oahu. 

Full-grown members of this handsome and powerful species have a wingspan of more than six feet and sometimes can be seen in flight off O'ahu and other main islands. But the search for squid, their primary food, commonly carries them hundreds of miles out to sea.

Noting its keen attention to life under the sea, Hawaiians took the albatross as a metaphor, calling an especially observant person ka manu ka'upu hālō ale o ka moana - "the ka'upu, the bird that observes the ocean."

Visit the Comprehansive Wildlife Conservation Strategy fact sheet here to learn more about the Laysan albatross.

The above information comes from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"
Published by Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

All photos by C. Tucker

Monday, February 22, 2010

DLNR Takes Steps to Protect Natural, Cultural Resources

The following comes from the Governor's weekly E-Newsletter:

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is implementing new measures to improve its management of the Kealakekua Bay State Historic Park on Hawaii Island and better protect its sensitive natural, historic and cultural resources through education.

Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park on the Big Island of Hawai`i is the site of the first extensive contact between Hawaiians and Westerners with the arrival of Captain Cook in 1779.

To prevent damage to the shoreline and coral reef and accidental destruction of significant historic and cultural sites by large numbers of visitors, DLNR is now requiring that visitors to the park receive information regarding the sensitive sites and guidance on how they can help preserve the natural beauty of the area during their visit.

Effective February 23, 2010, information will be provided through a simple permit system for people seeking to land vessels along the Ka‘awaloa shoreline or moor at the wharf adjacent to the Captain Cook Monument in the bay.

"Residents can easily access free education and cultural practices permits that will provide guidance to ensure there is no accidental damage to the cultural sites," said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson.

"Visitors have guided tours to ensure they appreciate the historical and cultural significance of the areas and eliminate inadvertent damage," she added. "In the meantime, the entire bay remains open to all people to enjoy the pristine waters and marine life."

Signs will be posted at entry locations along the bay to notify people of this new system and provide information on how to obtain a permit.

Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park and Ka`awaloa peninsula within the bay are two of Hawai`i's most significant historical and cultural locations, with an abundance of fragile and significant archaeological sites. Ka`awaloa is the shoreline commonly used to access the famous Captain Cook Monument from the bay. Boaters also use this shoreline to beach their vessel before snorkeling at Ka`awaloa Cove.

DLNR has conducted recent law enforcement actions at the pier in cooperation with Hawai`i County Police to address illegal commercial rental of kayaks. Several illegal kayaks have been confiscated. The department is informing kayak rental vendors of the new permit requirement, and requesting that the vendors advise their customers of the landing without a permit restriction.

DLNR Enforcement officers have posted and distributed the same notice at Napo`opo`o Pier. DLNR will also implement an outreach plan to kayak and ocean recreation companies, visitor and resident recreational interests.

Visit the DLNR website to learn more.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Recovery Youth Conservation Corps Day of Service on Maui

On Monday, February 15th from 9:30 to 3:30, forty-five Recovery Youth Conservation Corps (RYCC) AmeriCorps members worked together during a day of service restoring Kanaha Pond on Maui.  Throughout the day, RYCC members removed invasive plants, planted native plants, and removed debris from the surrounding area. 

Click here to see the front page story in the Maui News!

 Kanaha Pond is a 234-acre wetland adjacent to industrial buildings, commercial centers, and the airport in Kahului.  Despite these challenges, Kanaha pond is extremely productive and home to three endangered Hawaiian birds: Hawaiian coot ('alae ke'oke'o), Hawaiian stilt (ae'o), and Hawaiian duck (koloa maoli). 

Over 80 species of migratory shorebirds, waterbirds, and ducks frequent the pond. Native plants including makaloa and kaluha, species favored by Hawaiians for matmaking, are also found at Kanaha.

To find out more about the Youth Conservation Corps program and other ways to get involved, visit the DOFAW website here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A friendly reminder about pets and wildlife

A friendly reminder:
Hawaii's native wildlife is sensitive and can be easy impacted by domestic animals. Please remember to keep pets indoors and all pets on a leash while outside and pick up any waste while enjoying Hawaii's resources. Make sure to read signs and guidelines for visiting public areas. Many public lands are also hunting areas - another reason to keep your pet on a leash.

We care about the safety of Hawaii's wildlife and your pets!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 3rd week in February

What's Happening in Hawaii
During the 3rd week in February:


On the atolls and islands at the northwest end of the archipelago, the Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) is beginning to bear its young. Already 30 pounds at birth, a seal pup grows rapidly during the next five or six weeks, increasing in weight to as much as 200 pounds. Throughout this period, its mother devotes all her time to nursing the pup and teaching it to swim, not even pausing to feed herself.

The monk seal once lived throughout the archipelago and, except for the Hawaiian bat, is the only native mammal remaining on the islands.

Biologically unchanged in 15 million years, it does not flee from intruders, and after centuries of human predation and intrusion into breeding areas, the monk seal today is a federally listed endangered species.

Its Hawaiian name, ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua, means "dog running in the toughness" and probably refers to its awkward gait as well as to its doglike face.
Click here to visit a previous DOFAW blog post about the Hawaiian monk seal, including information about hiking at Kaena Point, Oahu.

Also, visit the Monk Seal Mania blog, where photos, frequent updates and even video will keep you up-to-date with Monk seal activity on Oahu.
Some text from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

All photos by C. Tucker

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Grant Opportunity for Teachers using Environmental Education in classrooms

Environmental Education benefits students in so many ways:
  • It increases their understanding of how earth's resources and natural systems work,
  • Offers opportunities for hands-on activities and inquiry-based learning,
  • Provides practical information about how to succeed in the green economy.

Classroom Earth wants to help support teachers around the country who want to make environmental education part of their curriculum.

Classroom Earth's 2010 National High School Challenge provides grants up to $4,000 to help support innovative projects to incorporate environmental education into all subject areas.
Classroom Earth is committed to helping teachers integrate environmental education into their curricula to inspire their students to help solve environmental problems. Teachers from all subject areas are encouraged apply.

Deadline: Monday Feb. 22, 2010

For more information and to apply online, visit 

The above info comes from the National Environmental Education Foundation.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 2nd week in February - 'Akohekohe

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 2nd week in February:
  'Ākohekohe, the crested honey-creeper, displays its brightest plumage this month, probably as part of its breeding cycle. The ‘ākohekohe (Palmeria dolei), is the largest extant (still existing) honeycreeper on Maui Nui (Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i, Maui, and Kaho‘olawe). Although primarily black, the plumage of the ‘ākohekohe is striking. Depending on their location, feathers are tipped with orange-yellow, gray, silver, or white. Orange feathers surround the eyes and extend over the nape, orange or yellow-white feathers cover the thighs, and the epaulettes are white with orange tips. Finally, the ‘ākohekohe has a distinctive plume of white feathers that curl forward over the bill.

Like 'apapane and other Hawaiian honeycreepers, 'ākohekohe live in the high, native forest and feed on 'ōhia lehua nectar. ‘Ākohekohe may spend up to 70 percent of the day foraging. But while 'apapane still thrive in this habitat, 'ākohekohe have become an endangered species, and are restricted to a 58 square kilometer (22 square mile) area on the northeastern slope of Haleakalā, which makes up less than 5% of their historic range.

This species of bird does not sing, but produces a random series of buzzes, croaks, and whistles.

To learn more about this endemic endangered bird, visit the
'ākohekohe fact sheet on the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) webpage.

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

Some information taken from the CWCS.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Call for Presentation and Poster Abstracts: 2010 Hawaii Conservation Conference

Please see below for opportunities to submit abstracts for presentations and proposals for the 2010 Hawaii Conservation Conference...

DEADLINE: March 19, 2010, 5 PM

The annual Hawai‘i Conservation Conference (HCC), presented by the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance (HCA), is the largest gathering of people actively involved in the protection and management of the natural environment in Hawai‘i. The conference facilitates interaction among resource managers, the scientific community, students and other stakeholders. This is an annual opportunity to share experiences and ideas on a wide range of conservation issues affecting Hawai‘i and the Pacific Region.

The conference committee is soliciting abstracts for presentations and posters that explore the 2010 theme—Pacific Ecosystem Management and Restoration: Applying Traditional and Western Knowledge Systems. However, contributions on conservation topics divergent from this general theme are also encouraged and will be evaluated based on their level of significance as research and contributions to conservation.

Ecosystem management and restoration in Hawai‘i and across the Pacific continues to evolve. Over the past decade landowners, communities, agencies, and governments have begun to work together more collaboratively, utilizing diverse knowledge systems and decision-making approaches. The 2010 HCC will highlight success stories from Hawai‘i, New Zealand, Micronesia, and other Pacific Islands. Join us in an exploration of this emerging trend in ecosystem management and restoration through formal presentations, informal discussions, and other opportunities to talk story with scientists and citizens, cultural practitioners and researchers.

Oral presentations will be 20 minutes (18 minutes plus 2 minutes for questions). Contributions will be grouped into sessions with similar themes to the extent possible. Sessions will run concurrently with symposia and fora.

Poster presentations will be displayed August 4-6 in the exhibit hall. Authors are required to attend the evening poster session on August 4 from 6-8 PM. Posters may be installed on the afternoon of August 3 and must be removed by 3 pm on August 6.

Conservation Through Art Exhibit—"What Inspires You To Be A Conservationist?"
The HCA invites all employees and retirees of our 15 partner organizations to take part in the Conservation Through Art exhibit at the 2010 HCC. The exhibit aims to provide a venue for conservationists affiliated with HCA Partner organizations to express through an artistic medium why they do the work they do.  Each display will be accompanied by an artist’s statement describing the personal meaning of the image or object and how it relates to each individuals commitment to the conservation of the ecosystems, native species, and culture that comprise Hawai‘i. 

What Can Be Displayed: Original artwork, a poem, an object (such as a carving or textile), or another artist’s work that illuminates the connection between the image, you as an individual, and the role your organization plays in the Hawai‘i conservation community. Abstracts for the art exhibit are due by April 30, 2010, 5 PM. See the Conservation Through Art page for guidelines and a list of HCA Partner organizations.
All abstracts for symposia, individual oral presentations, and posters are due by March 19, 2010, 5 PM.

ABSTRACT SUBMISSION: Abstracts must be submitted through the online form on the 2010 HCC page and must follow the guidelines (250-word maximum). The committee reserves the right to reject any abstract received that does not follow the HCC guidelines.

QUESTIONS? Contact Mariza Silva (808) 587-0061 or email

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Professional Water Flow Workshop - Hydrus Hands-on Training/Workshop - February 15-17 2010

"Hydrus Hands-on Training/Workshop" at University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The shortcourse instructor: Dr. Jirka Šimunek , Dept. of Environmental Sciences, University of California, Riverside (CA)

Course scope: The course begins with a detailed conceptual and mathematical description of water flow and solute transport processes in the vadose zone, followed by an brief overview of the use of finite element techniques for solving the governing flow and transport equations. Special attention is given to the highly nonlinear nature of the governing flow equation. Alternative methods for describing and modeling the hydraulic functions of unsaturated porous media are also described. "Hands-on" computer sessions will provide participants an opportunity to become familiar with the Windows-based HYDRUS-1D and HYDRUS (2D/3D) software packages. Emphasis will be on the preparation of input data for a variety of applications, including flow and transport in a vadose zone, subsurface drip irrigation, flow and transport to a tile drain, and two-dimensional leachate migration from a landfill through the unsaturated zone into groundwater. Calibration will be discussed and demonstrated by means of a one-dimensional inverse problem.

When: February 15-17 2010
Where: University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

For additional information about registration fees and other details:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Eco-Comedy Video Competition - $1,000 Prize!

Announcing an "Eco-Comedy Video Competition" with a $1,000 Prize!

This contest is open to anyone who prepares a short, funny video for YouTube which communicates a clear message that strongly motivates a specific behavior change (for example: driving a fuel efficient car, turning down thermostats, or donating to a conservation cause). Submissions due March 1, 2010.

Submissions must:

  • Be humorous!
  • Address a critical environmental issue
  • Be an original production
  • Reach a broad audience beyond just environmentalists
  • Be less than 4 minutes
There will be six judges representing the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, Friends of the Earth, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Mill Reef Productions, and EcoSense. The decision of the judges is final. Awards are based on overall merit of the entries. Judges reserve the right not to grant an award. The organizations listed above reserve the right to post submissions on their websites.

Submissions that are not received by March 1, 2010 will not be judged. The winner will be announced at American University on Tuesday, March 23 at the DC Environmental Film Festival.

For more information regarding submission guidelines and contest rules, visit: Questions may be addressed to Chris Palmer at

This contest is sponsored by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, Friends of the Earth, Mill Reef Productions, and EcoSense.

Monday, February 1, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 1st week in February - limu pahe'e

 What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 1st Week in February:

 A highly prized seasonal seaweed, limu pahe'e (Porphyra sp.), can usually be found this time of year, growing high on rocks in areas of heavy surf where fresh water mixes with ocean water. At other times of year, this limu seems to vanish, but actually it takes on a microscopic form, producing spores which will mature only in winter or early spring, when days are short and nights long. Pahe'e means "slippery" and very accurately describes the texture of the mature limu.

Hawaiians identified more than sixty kinds of edible limu, an indication of its importance in their diet. An old saying refers to seaweed as ka i'a lauoho loloa o ke kai, "the long-haired fish of the sea," and sometimes, especially for women, it replaced fish or other foods that were kapu. Limu pahe'e was so rare that it was reserved for ali'i and forbidden to commoners, but today related species are widely cultivated in northern Asia and can be found dried and packaged on the grocery shelf under the familiar Japanese name of nori.

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