Thursday, March 4, 2010

Middle School students visit Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve on Oahu

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

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


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

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

See video below to see a dancing Laysan Albatross!

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

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

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

While visiting the NAR, students were able to observe:

Naupaka kahakai - "Naupaka by the sea":

Monk seals:

 Can you see the seals in the above photo?

A closer photo of the two monk seals at the point

Ohai - Sesbania tomentosa:

A newly hatched Laysan albatross chick:

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

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