The Green Leaf
June 23rd, 2016

These youth from Kupu Hawaii will be out in full force doing conservation work this summer as part of the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps program. Photos courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.

These youth from Kupu Hawaii will be out in full force doing conservation work this summer as part of the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps program. Photos courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.

This summer, several hundred students from Kupu Hawaii, a non-profit based in Kakaako, will be out in full force, doing conservation work throughout the Hawaiian isles.

They'll be participating in paid internships as part of the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps that give them hands-on experience restoring fishponds and wetlands, removing invasive species from natural area reserves and helping to protect seabirds on Maui. Read some of their stories right here.

John Leong, executive director of Kupu Hawaii, said: "It's inspiring their potential toward green jobs and conservation opportunities in life, but also empowering them as people. To get a sense of kuleana for our state, for our communities."

Kupu Hawaii's Environmental Fair. Courtesy Kupu Hawaii/ Samuel Apuna.

Kupu Hawaii's Environmental Fair. Courtesy Kupu Hawaii/ Samuel Apuna.

Kupu Hawaii recently invited emerging environmental leaders to its 7th Annual Environmental Fair in early June at their Kewalo Training Facility in Kakaako.

Among the 150 partner organizations on hand at the fair were the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Lyon Arboretum, Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance, Oahu Invasive Species Committee and Hui o Ko‘olaupoko to speak with the prospective interns.

Three Kupu alumni — Molly Mamaril, Jayleen Marar and Ronnie "Keoni" Kikila shared stories of how internships lead them to real-life conservation jobs. The sound system was operated by Pedal Power Hawaii.

Nicole Fisher and Molly Mamaril, speaker, at Kupu Hawaii's Environmental Fair. Photo courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.

Nicole Fisher and Molly Mamaril, speaker, at Kupu Hawaii's Environmental Fair. Photo courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.

>Molly Mamaril, a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fellow with Kupu's RISE program in 2014, went on to work for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. With a bachelor's degree in journalism and master's in natural resources and environmental management, she writes for Green magazine and coordinates Hawaii Investment Ready.

> Jayleen Marar, a recent Farrington High School graduate who joined Kupu as a program member to get on-the-job training. Marr received the "MOst Outstanding Intern" award and worked with Opterra Energy Services, conducting energy audits at schools for the state Department of Education'sKa Hei program.

>> Ronnie "Keoni" Kikala, once a troubled teen, completed his Kupu internship with the Lyon Arboretum's Pahole Rare Plant Facility. He continues to work part-time at Lyon while pursuing a degree from Windward Community College. He has since found his calling and passion in life for conserving rare and native plants.

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Environmental Fair speakers and Kupu alumni, Ronnie Kikala, left and Jayleen Marar, right. Photos courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.

Kupu Hawaii's mission is "to empower youth to serve their communities through character-building, service-learning and environmental stewardship opportunities that encourage integrity with God (Ke Akua), self and others."

Paid internships as a Kupu Environmental Leader in Conservation, Environmental Education and Community Development are available, with benefits that include a monthly allowance of $1,300 or more, plus a $5,765 education award. Visit Kupu Hawaii's Facebook page to learn more.

Kupu Hawaii interns learning about the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Photos courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.

Kupu Hawaii's summer interns learning about the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Photos courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.


June 14th, 2016

Hawaiian monk seal RK90 with a hook lodged in its mouth. NOAA's rescue team was able to remove the hook and save her in 2013. Photo courtesy NOAA Fisheries.

Hawaiian monk seal RK90 with a hook lodged in its mouth. NOAA's rescue team was able to remove the hook and save her in 2013. Photo courtesy NOAA Fisheries.

There's a simple way that fishermen and fisherwomen in Hawaii can help the Hawaiian monk seals and other marine mammals — by converting to a barbless circle hook.

At the 13th annual Tokunaga Ulua Challenge Fishing Tournament weigh-in on Sunday, every fish caught with a barbless circle hook was given a special sticker, according to a news release from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Kurt Kawamoto, aka Mr. Barbless Hook, is the driving force behind the NOAA and DLNR Barbless Circle Hook Project. The program encourages the fishing community to opt for barbless hooks to reduce potential injury to marine mammals like Hawaiian monk seals in the event of an accidental hooking or entanglement. It also allows for a quicker release, but is still capable of catching ulua and other tournament-worthy fish weighing in at 100 pounds or more.

"We caught over 300 shoreline fish, of many different kinds," said Kawamoto, a fisherman himself. "We looked at the catches, losses and misses and statistically we couldn't tell the difference. Essentially you could catch just as many fish with a barbless circle hook."

It's pretty simple. To make a barbless circle hook, use a crimper or parallel-jawed pliers to flatten the barb.

Barbed hook, left, becomes a barbless circle hook. right. Courtesy NOAA Fisheries.

Barbed hook, left, becomes a barbless circle hook. right. Courtesy NOAA Fisheries.

"Once you smash down the barbs on these hooks they become self-shedding, so that was the main idea behind it," said Kawamoto in the press release. "It's easy for a fish, or a seal or a turtle to get rid of the hook themselves."

Researchers have witnessed a monk seal actually shed a barbless circle hook and anglers have relayed stories about sea turtles doing the same.

The Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program team recently extricated a barbed, circle hook from the throat of a juvenile female seal from Kauai over Kamehameha Day weekend.

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If the Tokunaga fishing competition was any indication, barbless circle hooks are still capable of getting a pretty good catch. An estimated 50 percent of the 637 contestants this year catch their fish using barbless circle hooks. Last year, the winning ulua was caught with a barbless hook. This year, the winning omilu was caught by a woman using a barbless hook.

Related video:


June 8th, 2016

The Medi Bowl - Kalo falafel, fire-roasted baba ganoush, beet hummus, refreshing millet tabouleh over a bed of greens drizzled with a special herb tahini sauce - is served up in a wood bowl at the Ai Love Nalo Restaurant in Waimanalo. Photo by Bruce Asato.

The Medi Bowl - Kalo falafel, fire-roasted baba ganoush, beet hummus, refreshing millet tabouleh over a bed of greens drizzled with a special herb tahini sauce - is served up in a wood bowl at the ‘Ai Love Nalo Restaurant in Waimanalo. Photo by Bruce Asato.

Restaurants in Hawaii can still offer takeout in polystyrene foam clamshells and plastic bags, but some are opting not to.

On World Oceans Day today (June 8, 2016), certified Ocean Friendly Restaurants, part of a new initiative launched by various non-profit groups, will offer discounts and specials if you feature them with #oceanfriendlyhi.

The Surfrider Foundation, in partnership with the Maui Huliau Foundation and Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation and Rise Above Plastics Coalition, is celebrating the statewide launch of the Ocean Friendly Restaurants program today.

What is a certified Ocean Friendly Restaurant?

It’s a restaurant that has agreed to reduce the amount of disposable plastics it offers to customers and to make sincere efforts to adopt sustainable practices for the health of our oceans.

Smoothies and this poi parfait with fresh fruits, poi and coconut flakes are served up in mason jars at Ai Love Nalo. Photo by Nina Wu.

Smoothies and this poi parfait with fresh fruits, poi and coconut flakes are served up in mason jars at Ai Love Nalo. Photo by Nina Wu.

Restaurants must, for example, agree not to use polystyrene foam for food take-out containers and offer reusable tableware for in-house diners (many offer in-house diners disposables out of convenience) as well as follow proper recycling practices. There is no fee to participate.

They must also follow at least three of the following five practices:

> Offer plastic straws only upon request or replace them with compostable straws;

> Offer all recyclable or compostable take-out beverage containers;

> Provide non-plastic takeout bags only upon request;

> Provide only compostable utensils for take-out upon request;

> Agree not sell beverages in plastic bottles.

“All of us need to have responsibility, whether it’s the producer or the consumer or the government,” said Rafael Bergstrom, Oahu chapter coordinator of the Surfrider Foundation. “The only way we’re going to make change getting single-use products out of our waste stream is if it’s bought into at all levels.”

While consumers are still encouraged to say no to straws, bring their own reusable water bottles and bags, Surfrider wanted to recognize businesses that were “doing the right thing already," even if not legally required to do so.

The new program started with Surfrider’s San Diego chapter and began making its way across the isles in April.

Ocean Friendly Restaurants in Hawaii include about 50 well-known names, including Ai Love Nalo, Downbeat Diner, Chef Chai, The Counter at Kahala Mall, Wahoo’s Fish Taco and Cholo’s in Haleiwa.

On Maui, some popular spots include the Market Fresh Bistro in Makawao, Cafe Des Amis in Paia and Bamboo Fresh in Lahaina and in Hilo, Pineapple's Fresh Island Cuisine and Le Magic Pan.

If restaurants comply with all eight criteria, like the Kona Brewing Co., they’ll be certified as a platinum level Ocean FriendlyRestaurant.

The focus is currently on reducing plastic pollution from getting into the waste stream, and not so much on sourcing food from local farms or sustainable seafood, though many Ocean Friendly Restaurants also adopt those practices. Down the line, Bergstrom said the initiative might recognize these as well.

Participating restaurants get a “We Are an Ocean Friendly Restaurant” decal to display, promotion via the website and Facebook page and rack cards to help educate customers. Volunteers from the non-profit groups are certifying the restaurants. Nominations are accepted online at oceanfriendlyrestaurantshawaii.org.

Follow @oceanfriendlyrestaurants on Instagram for updates.

Posted in Marine Life,Ocean,Plastic,World Oceans Day | Comments Off on #oceanfriendlyhi restaurants

June 6th, 2016

Most of the marine debris in the Hawaiian isles is made up of plastic, very small pieces of plastic. Courtesy DLNR.

Most of the marine debris in the Hawaiian isles is made up of plastic, very small pieces of plastic. Courtesy DLNR.

It's confirmed. Most of the marine debris landing on Hawaii's shores is made up of — plastics. Very small plastics.

An aerial survey by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and North Pacific Marine Science Organization of all coastlines in the eight main Hawaiian islands shows that plastics constitute most of the marine debris landing on our shores.

The sparsely populated island of Niihau had the highest concentration of debris, at 38 percent, compared to Oahu, which had the lowest, at 5 percent.

A very limited amount of debris was associated with the Japan tsumani, according to DLNR chair Suzanne Case. The study was funded by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan as part of the Japan Tsunami Gift Fund.

Multiple photos were captured every 0.7 seconds from a Cessna 206 about 2,000 feet above ground.

"Most of what was mapped is common, everyday items that someone haphazardly tossed onto the ground or directly into the water," said Case. "These items get caught up in ocean currents and unfortunately much of it eventually lands, mostly on north and east facing shores. Hawaii is recognized around the world for our beautiful beaches. Unfortunately we cannot say they are pristine, because they've been so seriously impacted by our trash."

The following is a synopsis of the full report which used imagery analysis for the aerial survey conducted between August and November 2015.  (from highest to lowest):

Niihau — Identified a total of 7,871 pieces of marine debris. Most of it was plastic (46 percent), followed by buoys and floats (35 percent). The greatest density of debris were found on east-facing shores.

Molokai — Identified a total of 2,878 piece of marine debris, 37 percent plastic, 35 percent buoys and floats. Concentrated on the northwestern shores and a small area on the northeastern corner of the Friendly Isle.

Hawaii — Identified a total of 2,200 pieces of marine debris, 52 percent plastic. Concentrated on the southeastern tip of the island around Kamilo Point.

Kauai — Identified a total of 1,849 pieces of marine debris, 49 percent plastic, concentrated on the eastern shores.

Lanai — Identified a total of 1,829 piece of marine debris, 53 percent plastic, concentrated on the northeast coast.

Maui — Identified a total of 1,749 pieces of marine debris, 40 percent plastic, concentrated on the northern side around Kahului.

Kahoolawe — Identified a total of 1,298 pieces of marine debris, 47 percent plastic, concentrated on the northern tip of the island and the Keoneuli area on the eastern coast.

Oahu — Identified a total of 984 pieces of marine debris, 63 percent plastic, concentrated on the northern tip around Kahuku.

Boat that landed on Hawaii shores from the Japan tsunami. Courtesy DLNR.

Boat that landed on Hawaii shores from the Japan tsunami. Courtesy DLNR.

On March 11, 2011, the Tohoku Earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated Japan, creating millions of tons of debris that got swept into the ocean. The first confirmed tsunami-related debris that landed on Hawaii's shores was a blue plastic, fishing container on Sept. 18, 2012 off Makapuu. Since then, 21 vessels and an assortment of buoys, fishing containers, signs and other items have been recovered in Hawaii.

Plastic debris, Kahuku Beach on Oahu. Courtesy DLNR.

Plastic debris, Kahuku Beach on Oahu. Courtesy DLNR.

Wildlife become entangled in nets and lines, or mistakenly eat pieces of plastic and foam, confusing them for food. The report (p. 41) includes photos of endangered monk seals on Niihau resting on beaches littered with marine debris, including plastic and derelict fishing gear.

Marine debris. Courtesy DLNR.

Marine debris. Courtesy DLNR.

The debris was classified into seven categories, including buoys and floats, foam, derelict fishing gear, plastic, tires, other (includes processed wood, metal, cloth, abandoned boats) and inconclusive. Below, some plastic debris and a tire.

Marine debris, Kahuku, north shore of Oahu. Courtesy DLNR.

Marine debris, Kahuku, north shore of Oahu. Courtesy DLNR.

The most common type of debris found on all islands was plastic, making up 47 percent of the overall composition of debris identified, and at least 37 percent of the debris on any individual island.

On Oahu, Hawaii's most populous island, marine debris was concentrated on the northern tip of the island, on the east-facing shore between the northernmost point and Kahuku area. But a whopping 63 percent was identified as plastic. It's possible that the lower concentration of marine debris on Oahu reflects continuous beach clean-up efforts by local residents and conservation organizations, according to former DLNR Marine Debris Coordinator Kirsten Moy.

Kahuku

So what are the next steps? To use the data to organize and plan cleanup efforts, as well as to develop a community-accessible database to distribute the debris data and track removal efforts throughout the isles.

Related video featuring Kirsten Moy, DLNR's former Marine Debris Coordinator (courtesy DLNR):


May 30th, 2016

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New signs created by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources are aimed towards educating hunters, hikers, mountain bikers and others visiting state public lands about Rapid ‘Ohi‘a Death.

Anya Tagawa and Jeff Bagshaw of othe DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife's Natural Area Reserve program are hoping the signs help prevent the spread of the fungal disease, which has decimated tens of thousands of acres of native ‘ohi‘a on the Big Island.

The fungal disease, also known as Ceratocystis Wilt, affects the vascular system of the tree. Once stricken, healthy, mature ‘ohi‘a lehua trees can die within a matter of weeks. The disease has the potential to kill ‘ohi‘a trees, which are the backbone of the native rainforest, statewide.

"It is critical that every person who goes into the woods or forest anywhere in Hawaii, takes steps to prevent this disease from spreading," said DLNR chair Suzanne Case in a press release. "Anya and Jeff's work along with a team of other outreach experts, is vitally important in getting kamaaina and visitors alike to be certain they don't inadvertently track the fungus from place to place."

Bagshaw, his staff and volunteers recently conducted surveys with visitors to the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve and found very few people had any knowledge about Rapid ‘Ohi‘a Death.

"We hope hikers and all forest users will start to be conscious wherever they go, even if there's ‘ohi‘a there or not," said Bagshaw in a press release. "We're like them to realize that they could be taking something into the forest that affects our native ecosystems. ‘Oh‘a are the backbone of our native rainforest; they feed the honeycreepers, they protect the watershed. I can't imagine a Hawaiian rainforest without ‘ohi‘a."

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More than 50 signs are expected to be posted at every DOFAW trailhead on the Big Island as well as on Na Ala Hele trailheads on Maui.

The signs recommend that visitors to the trails:

> Clean gear before and after their visit by brushing off all dirt from shoes and gear and spraying with 70 percent rubbing alcohol, particularly if you have hiked on Hawaii island in the last two years.

> Clean vehicles by removing all soil and washing tires and undercarriages with detergent.

> Every hiker could be a potential carrier, so every hiker is responsible for taking the proper care not to spread the fungus.

ROD Trail Head Sign

Related Video:

Posted in Conservation,Forest,native plants | Comments Off on Saving ‘ohi‘a lehua

May 23rd, 2016

Overview of the marine debris pile collected from Midway Atoll. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Overview of the marine debris pile collected from Midway Atoll. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Located about 750 miles further northwest of Kauai, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. It is home to more than 7,000 marine species, one quarter of which are found only in the Hawaiian isles.

It's remote and the waters are pristine, except for the sheer amount of derelict fishing nets and plastic litter that land upon the monument's tiny isles, atolls and coral reefs.

From mid-April to May, a team of 10 NOAA scientists conducted shoreline marine debris surveys at Midway, Kure, Pearl and Hermes atolls, Lisianski Island and French Frigate Shoals. A total of 24,123 pounds — or about 12 tons — were removed from those shorelines.

Derelict fishing net and plastic debris at Midway Atoll, Eastern Island. Courtesy NOAA.

Derelict fishing net and plastic debris at Midway Atoll, Eastern Island. Courtesy NOAA.

Among the items were 1,843 derelict fishing nets or net fragments, 1,468 plastic beverage bottles, 4,457 bottle caps, 570 shoes and slippers (flip-flops), 535 cigarette lighters, 485 toothbrushes and other personal care products and 8,452 hard plastic fragments.

Plastic cigarette lighters picked up from Midway Atoll. Courtesy NOAA.

Plastic cigarette lighters picked up from Midway Atoll. Courtesy NOAA.

The team brought the marine debris back for a sorting event for schoolchildren at the NOAA Inouye Regional Center on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. Students in third to sixth grade helped sort plastic bottles, bottle caps, toothbrushes and other non-hazardous debris. The NOAA Marine Debris team and its partners hope to educate Hawaii's youth on the negative impacts of consuming single-use plastics and to become the leading example for future generations.

Plastics brought back from Papahanaumokuakea will be recycled for use in art displays and manufactured goods, while the fishing nets will be sent to Hawaii's Nets to Energy Program to be repurposed as fuel.

NOAA has been removing marine debris from the Northwestern Hawaiian islands since 1996. Over the past 20 years, agency staff and partners have removed a total of 848 metric tons (or 1.9 million pounds) of derelict fishing gear and plastics from Paphanaumokuakea.

Marine debris team at work, Midway Atoll, Sand Island. Courtesy NOAA.

Marine debris team at work, Midway Atoll, Sand Island. Courtesy NOAA.

Layson albatross and chick examine plastic debris. Midway Atoll. Courtesy NOAA.

Laysan albatross and chick examine plastic debris. Midway Atoll. Courtesy NOAA.

Elementary school students help sort plastic debris gathered at Papahanaumokuakea at Ford Island headquarters. Courtesy NOAA.

Elementary school students help sort plastic debris gathered at Papahanaumokuakea at Ford Island headquarters. Courtesy NOAA.

Posted in Conservation,marine debris,Papahanaumokuakea | Comments Off on 12 tons of trash

April 15th, 2016

Courtesy NASA, earthobservatory.nasa.gov. Captured by the MODIS on NASA's Terra satellite Jan. 2014.

Courtesy NASA, earthobservatory.nasa.gov. Captured by the MODIS on NASA's Terra satellite Jan. 2014.

Earth Day falls on April 22, 2016. Nowadays, people like to celebrate it during the entire month. But of course, Earth Day is every day.

The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, with approximately 20 million people taking place across the U.S. through demonstrations in the streets or parks for environmental causes. The celebration has since gone global. If you're interested in learning more about Earth Day history, CNN Library offers some fast facts.

Here are some ways to celebrate in the 808 (Hawaii).

10 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday, April 22: University of Hawaii at Manoa's Earth Day Festival offers an inspiring day of music, art, yoga and celebration of earth stewardship at the Campus Center and Legacy Path. Connect through Facebook.

9-11 a.m., Friday, April 22: Earth Day at Turtle Bay Resort. Celebrate Earth Day at Turtle Bay with a guided hike to Kahuku Point by the North Shore Community Land Trust followed by a beach cleanup, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Check in at 8:45 a.m. at the Guidepost experiential center, Turtle Bay Resort. Cleanup followed by a complimentary light lunch. From 7 to 8 p.m. in the evening, free diver Ocean Ramsey conducts a Talk Story on shark conservation at Surfer, The Bar. ($5 donation requested).

8:45-11 a.m., Saturday, April 23: 8th Annual Ka Iwi Clean-Up: Clean the Ka Iwi Shoreline with Rep. Gene Ward, former Peace Corps Volunteers, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Kaiser High School, Friends of Ka Iwi and 808 Cleanups. Meet at Alan Davis Wall. Picinic lunch to follow at Maunalua Bay. Bags, gloves and water provided.

9 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, April 23: Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo, Waikiki Aquarium. Interactive booths, including the Journey Home puppet show, a story about Apoha the o‘opu and friends, free native Hawaiian plants (first come, first serve) and complimentary water stations for guests who bring refillable bottles. More info at this link.

8 a.m.-11 a.m. Saturday, April 23: Sea Life Park beach cleanup takes place across from the park on the other side of Kalanianaole Highway. Public is invited to help clean the shoreline. First 50 participants will be invited to visit Sea Life Park free of charge following the event, while others will be offered a special rate of $9.50 for the day. Please bring gloves and a bucket instead of plastic bags to store trash. Free parking at Sea Life Park lot. Show bucket to the attendant.

9:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Sunday, April 24: Magic Island Beach Cleanup. The Honolulu Museum of Art and Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation invite the public to join a beach cleanup at Magic Island, Ala Moana Beach Park. Bring a reusable water bottle, hat and sunscreen. Check in at Picnic Site 30. Refreshments served at the end of cleanup.

9 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, April 30: Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and partners bring you the Earth Day Festival and Ultimate Sand Sifter Competition. Check in time is 9 a.m. at Waimanalo Beach Park. Groups will fan out and clean windward shorelines from Makapu‘u to Bellows. Finalists from the sand sifter competition will also be on hand to showcase their design ideas for getting micro-plastics off the beach. Visit sustainablecoastlineshawaii.org.

April 18-22: Earth Week at Hawai‘i Pacific University. 

5:30-7:30 p.m., Monday, April 18: David M. Berube delivers the presidential lecture series on global leadership and sustainability, entitled "Emerging Technologies, Energy and Public Engagement."

11 a.m.-1 p.m., Wednesday, April 20: Earth Week Fair at HPU's Center Atrium, with various local organizations. Visit hpu.edu/sustainability.

12-1 p.m., Friday, April 22: HPU Libraries "Seed Project." Share a love for seeds. "Take, leave, whatevas..." Win a plant and make a gecko bookmark. Atherton Library, Hawaii Loa Campus.

5:30-6:30 p.m., Friday, April 22: Food Waste Prevention Presentation followed by sustainability and healthy living education presented by Pono Home. Hawaii Loa Campus Dining Commons.

Posted in Earth Day,Green events | Comments Off on 808 Earth Day Roundup

March 21st, 2016

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Last year, Dr. Beach, or Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor at Florida International University, listed Waimanalo Beach Park on Oahu as No. 1 on his list of Top 10 Beaches in America.

He praised Waimanalo as a great beach for its soft, white sands, which extend for more than five miles. He mentioned the turquoise waters and shade of ironwood trees.

Of course, he made no mention of the stinging Portuguese man-o-war that land on the shoreline on windy days, nor the huge amount of marine debris that this part of the island seems to comb in from the reef in great quantities.

Nevertheless, Waimanalo Beach Park is slated for some "malama" as Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii organizes a beach cleanup and Earth Day Festival from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 30.

The new Education Station , a mobile classroom made from a recycled shipping container, will be on hand, along with live entertainment, games and more.

This sand sifter by Kailua Beach Adventures won last year's competition.

This sand sifter by Kailua Beach Adventures won last year's competition.

Sustainable Coastlines also brings back the Ultimate Sand Sifter Competition, which encourages community members to create an apparatus that removes microplastic marine debris from the sand. Finalists from each age division will be invited to build and demonstrate their sifter at the final challenge on April 30. Winners get a cash prize of $1,000.

"The goal of the sand sifter competition is to foster out-of-the-box thinking for removing the bite-size plastics that harm fish and seabirds," said SCH executive director Kahi Pacarro. "We expect to see some of the most innovative designs compete on Earth day, and look forward to the positive impact that this competition will have on the coastlines and community."

Visit sustainablecoastlineshawaii.org to learn more.

Waimanalo

Posted in beach cleanup | Comments Off on Earth Day Cleanup in Nalo

March 14th, 2016

Photo of humpback whale and mom. Courtesy J. Moore – HIHWNMS/ NOAA Permit # 15240

Photo of humpback whale and mom. Courtesy J. Moore – HIHWNMS/ NOAA Permit # 15240

We admire them from a distance and have studied them for more than 30 years, yet they remain a mystery.

Despite a late arrival, the humpback whales are back in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Sanctuary, here to mate and nurse their calves in the warmer and shallower waters of the islands. While scientists have gained a lot of knowledge about whale biology and behavior, they have never witnessed the humpback whales in the act of mating.

Drone footage recently captured a mother humpback whale "tail-sailing," or basically doing a headstand in the ocean with its tail out of the water, catching the wind like a sail. The "tail-sailing" is common among southern right whales, but has rarely been documented among humpback whales.

The footage was captured during a two-week study by the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries' Collaborative Center for Unmanned Technology, which also used drones to conduct health assessments of the whales from a closer distance.

Volunteers continue to count sightings of the humpback whales from the shores of Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island on the last day of the month in January, February and March. As featured in today's Green Leaf column, some of these volunteers, like June Kawamata, are dedicated citizen scientists. Kawamata, a retired oordinator from Kailua High School's cafeteria, served as an Ocean Count site leader at Lanai Lookout for 20 years. She still heads out when she can, out of a love for the whales.

One more count is scheduled for March 26. If interested, visit sanctuaryoceancount.org.

Boaters are also reminded to be vigilant during humpback whale season, which generally runs from November through May in Hawaii. Mariners are asked to report any collisions with whales, or injured or entangled whales to NOAA's 24-hour hotline at 1-888-256-9840.

Humpback whale breaching. 2011. Courtesy Ed Lyman – HIHWNMS/ NOAA Permit # 14682

Humpback whale breaching. 2011. Courtesy Ed Lyman – HIHWNMS/ NOAA Permit # 14682

Posted in Hawaiian humpback whales,Marine Life | Comments Off on Humpback whales in our midst

March 9th, 2016

View More: http://byadrianenicolephotography.pass.us/calabashandcooks

The Malama Learning Center's annual Calabash & Cooks fundraiser takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 12 at Kapolei High School.

Professional chefs from Roy's Ko Olina, Firehouse, La‘ela‘e and Pono Plates will be serving up some dishes, along with student chefs from six different public high schools — Campbell, Kapolei, Moanalua, Radford, Waianae and Waipahu.

It's the third annual event for the Malama Learning Center, a non-profit which works to educate the public about sustainable, healthy living. Proceeds benefit the center and its activities, which include site restoration projects at Piliokahe Beach Park, Kalaeloa and Nanakuli wetlands. The center also encourages school and community gardens, programs for youth and hands-on workshops on worm composting.

"This year Calabash & Cooks is really going back to its roots and focusing on the main ingredient of our organization – our children," said Pauline Sato, executive director of Malama Learning Center. "By putting the students front and center we are empowering them to create something special that brings together all the knowledge they've learned throughout the year in dishes that celebrate local, sustainable products."

Featured dishes this year will include Campbell High School's signature appetizer of kalua pork won tons with island style salsa and Kapolei High's award-winning pineapple-banana-lilikoi cobbler with ice cream.

Every dish will have at least four to six locally grown or sourced ingredients. A silent auction, live entertainment and country store will also take place.

Tickets start at $40 ($20 for keiki 10 and under; $25 for students and $75 for VIP). Purchase tickets online at malamalearningcenter.org.

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Posted in eat local,Food,Green events | Comments Off on Calabash & Cooks