Archive for October, 2015

NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest

By
October 22nd, 2015



 

HawaiiJacqueline_L2015

Artwork of a Hawaiian monk seal among marine debris by Jacqueline Le of Hawaii. One of the winners from the 2015 NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest (to be featured in the 2016 calendar).

It's time again for the NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest, which opened on Tuesday, Oct. 20. All students from Kindergarten through 8th grade from U.S. states and territories are eligible to participate.

The deadline for entries (form here) is Nov. 30. Winners will be featured in the 2017 Marine Debris Calendar.

The phrase "marine debris" sometimes draws a blank stare — it's a formal name for basically, trash, or things that don't belong in the ocean. Examples include plastic wrap, plastic forks and spoons, plastic toys, metals takeout lunch waste, pieces of rope, plastic bags, paper napkins, derelict fishing gear and other items, which are prevalent from the ocean floor to the surface.

The five most common items tallied by the International Coastal Cleanup: plastic cigarette butts, plastic food wrappers, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bottle caps and plastic straws.

NOAA defines it as "any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment or the Great Lakes. It is a global problem, and it is an everyday problem. There is no part of the world left untouched by debris and its impacts. Marine debris is a threat to our environment, navigation safety, the economy and human health."

Where does it come from? Basically, humans (visiting the beach, leaving litter by sewers and throwing trash off of fishing boats). But every person has the power and ability to prevent it. Preventing the trash from entering the ocean in the first place is a good step.

Watch this video for an introduction to marine debris, where it comes from and solutions:

Here's a look at winners from 2015, which were just announced for 2016 calendar. A finalist from Hawaii has been chosen since the contest started in 2010, originally in the isles, before it expanded nationwide.

CalifClaire_B2015

Artwork by Claire, California. 2015 NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest winner.

 

Artwork by Madison, Hawaii. 2015 NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest winner.

Artwork by Madison, Hawaii. 2015 NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest winner.

 

Artwork by Gautham K., California. 2015 NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest winner.

 

Artwork by Elizabeth, Florida. 2015 NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest winner.

Artwork by Elizabeth, Florida. 2015 NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest winner.

Artwork by Ryan, Michigan. 2015 Marine Debris Art Contest winner.

Artwork by Ryan, Michigan. 2015 NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest winner.

 

Posted in marine debris, Marine Life, Ocean | Comments Off on NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest

Seven monk seals

By
October 16th, 2015



Kilo, the Hawaiian monk seal that NOAA rescued from Niihau, resting on an ohia log at Ke Kai Ola. Photo courtesy The Marine Mammal Center. NOAA Permit No. 18786.

Kilo, the Hawaiian monk seal that NOAA rescued from Niihau, resting on an ohia log at Ke Kai Ola. Photo courtesy The Marine Mammal Center. NOAA Permit No. 18786.

Ke Kai Ola, the Hawaiian monk seal hospital run by The Marine Mammal Center at NELHA in Kona, is rehabilitating seven seals.

The hospital has successfully rehabilitated and released eight seal patients over the past year, mostly malnourished pups from the Northwestern Hawaiian islands, or Papahanaumokuakea, that would otherwise had little chance of survival. The monk seal population at Papahanaumokuakea is in decline primarily due to poor juvenile survival — fewer than one in five survive their first year due to marine debris entanglement, predators and starvation.

Most recently, NOAA returned Pearl and Hermes to the atolls where they were found. Pearl and Hermes were pre-weaned pups that were able to pretty much double their weight at Ke Kai Ola. They were healthy enough for release after just four months.

Fewer than 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals remain in Hawaii. While the majority reside in the more remote isles of Papahanaumokuakea, a growing number of pups are being born in the main Hawaiian isles, which is home to between 150 to 200 seals. However, NOAA's Hawaiian Monk Seal Research team recently surveyed monk seal breeding sites along the 1,200-mile archipelago and found that 148 pups were born in Papahanaumokuakea this year, up 22 percent from 2014.

While Pearl and Hermes were transported back home (see pics below) aboard the Oscar Elton Sette, the team rescued six new patients — five female pups and one juvenile female — and transported them back to Ke Kai Ola. The team also rescued Kilo, a female monk seal pup found earlier on the island of Niihau. For the first time, all four of the pool pens at Ke Kai Ola are full.

For further depth and details on the journey, read the wonderfully descriptive and humorous Kim Rogers' Malama Monk Seal blog series, which will take you on the trip and get you acquainted with the remote isles and each seal.

"All of our research cruises have seals on them now — either seals headed to Kona for rehabilitation or headed back home fat, healthy and ready for their return to the wild," said NOAA's monk seal research scientist Charles Littnan. "This hospital and our ship-turned-ambulance means new hope for monk seals."

Current monk seal patients at Ke Kai Kola include:

>> Kilo (pictured above). Female pup and the first from the main Hawaiian islands at Ke Kai Ola. Her name means "sassy." She is doing well, and while she's still being tube fed, she's starting to show an interest in whole fish, which is a positive sign.

>> Ama‘ama, a female pup named for the French Frigate Shoals where she was born.

>> Puka, a female pup named for the scar on her neck.

>> Neva, a female pup named for Neva Shoals on Lisianski Island, where she was found.

>> ‘Ena‘ena, a female pup named for a small, silver plant native to Kure Atoll, where she was found.

>> Mahina, a female pup named after the super moon, when she was found.

>> Mo‘o, a one-year-old female named for the mythical Hawaiian lizards and shapeshifting dragons. Most of us will think of geckos.

8. Ama`ama and Puka_The Marine Mamal Center_NOAA Permit 18786

Ama‘ama and Puka resting at Ke Kai Ola. NOAA permit 18786.

7. Six new patients arrive at Ke Kai Ola_The Marine Mammal Center_NOAA Permit 18786

Six new patients arrive at Ke Kai Ola. Two rest by the pool. NOAA Permit 18786.

7. Hermes & Pearl_Credit Julie Steelman_NMFS Permit 16632-00 and 932-1905-01MA-009526-1 (1)

Hermes and Pearl have returned to Papahanaumokuakea. Photo by Julie Steelman. NMFS Permit 16632-00 and 932-1905-01MA-009526-1.

Pearl and Hermes in shore pen. NOAA Permit 16632.

Pearl and Hermes in shore pen. NOAA Permit 16632.

 

Pearl and Hermes official release. NOAA Permit 16632

Back home. Pearl and Hermes official release. NOAA Permit 16632

If you see a Hawaiian monk seal resting on the shoreline, give it space and let it rest. The monk seal hotline is 220-7802 (for Oahu) or 1-888-256-9840.

Hawaii: The Next 50

By
October 15th, 2015



Visual arts winner from last year's Next 50 contest by Bryson Manuel of Waipahu INtermediate School in the grades 6-8 visual arts category. Courtesy image.

Bryson Manuel of Waipahu Intermediate School was last year's winner in the grades 6-8 visual arts category.
Courtesy Hawaii: Next 50.

What will Hawaii's energy future look like in 50 years? Will we have reached our goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2045? Are we on the right track?

Lawmakers are calling on students in grades 4 through 12 to share their ideas on how to make Hawaii a renewable energy leader in the second annual Hawaii: Next 50 Contest. Students are invited to create an essay, poster or video in response to the question: Over the next 50 years, what can I do to help Hawaii reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal?

The contest, inspired by former Gov. George Ariyoshi's book, "Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years," prompts the next generation to think about what social, cultural, and economic roads we can take to keep Hawaii moving forward into the next century. Students are asked to read Ariyoshi's book (free copies available upon request) and then respond to the question in either essay form or visual arts form.

The deadline for all entries is 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2016. Winners will be announced in March 2016.

Last year, students were asked: What needs to happen in the next 50 years for Hawaii to be the best place to work and live? They responded with artwork, like the one by Kaydee Rapozo below, depicting renewable energies. One student, Dallas Kuba from Manoa Elementary School, wrote an essay about homelessness.

Kaydee Rapozo was last year's winner for the Grades 9-11 category. Courtesy image.

Kaydee Rapozo was last year's winner for the Grades 9-11 category. Courtesy image.

There were more than 450 entries from keiki across the state, according to Rep. Mark Nakashima, who spearheaded the revival of the contest.

"We were amazed to see the innovative range of their ideas," he said. "This year we wanted to take that same enthusiasm and focus it on one of our state's most pressing issues: the necessity of renewable energy to end our dependency on oil."

Ariyoshi said: "It's imperative that young people know they don't have to wait to graduate or become an adult to join the conversation in shaping our state. The book was my vision of a progressive Hawaii and it's exciting to see what concepts the up-and-coming generation develops if we just ask."

Judging criteria include whether the entry clearly provides an answer to the question, creativity and articulation.

Winners will be honored during a floor presentation at the Hawaii State Capitol and be invited to attend a luncheon with legislators. They will also receive a monetary prize and be published online.

Teyshaun Rosales, last year's winner, grades 4-5 visual arts category. Courtesy image.

Teyshaun Rosales, last year's winner, grades 4-5 visual arts category. Courtesy image.

 

Posted in Contests, Hawaii Energy | Comments Off on Hawaii: The Next 50

Kupu Hawaii

By
October 13th, 2015



 

This quote is in the lobby of Kupu Hawaii's office in Kakaako.

This quote is in the lobby of Kupu Hawaii's office in Kakaako.

In the midst of all this redevelopment in Kakaako, it's good to see the rise of a non-profit focused on cultivating today's youth as tomorrow's leaders of sustainability, rather than another high-rise.

Empowering youth, Hawaii’s future, to serve their communities, is at the heart of Kupu Hawaii’s mission, The non-profit, founded in 2007, is named after the native kupukupu fern which means 'to sprout, grow, or germinate." it is the first plant to grow back after a lava flow.

Through Kupu’s many programs, young adolescents gain the skills they need to work in the emerging green jobs sector, whether it's in the field of conservation, natural resource management or renewable energy. To date, Kupu has worked with more than 2,600 youth and provided more than 230,000 volunteer service hours in partnership with 80 public and private organizations.

Kupu Hawaii's CEO, John Leong, said it's about empowering youth and giving them the tools they  need to make an impact on this world. Just as importantly, he said, it's about nurturing tomorrow's leaders with the right heart — a passion for sustainability as well as a desire to give back to the community.

“If we don’t prepare our next generation of kids to get involved, they’re going to be left behind,” said Leong. “We want to give our youth the capacity to move forward."

>> Kupu’s Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps gives students the opportunity to work outdoors with environmental agencies across Hawaii during the summer and year-round. In April of this year, nearly 30 interns spent a week helping to plant 20,000 koa seedlings at a natural reserve on the slopes of Haleakala for Arbor Day.

>> Kupu's RISE program offers college students paid internships with various private and public agencies focused on food waste reduction, renewable energy and sustainable schools. The internships can provide valuable experience and mentorship leading to jobs when they graduate.

>> With E2U, an environmental education program, participants work with public schools to launch a project focused on sustainability, take a field trip to a conservation site or start an after-school Eco Club.

>> CommunityU helps youth at risk, ages 16 to 24, with life skills and green jobs training that will allow them to get a high school diploma after completion of the program. These youth get involved in projects that restore fishponds, a lo‘i, plant native species or carve traditional Hawaiian poi boards.

Last November, the late navigator Mau Piailug's son, Eseluqupi Plasito, mentored students in a transformational project — the carving of a traditional, single-hulled canoe out of a large, invasive albizia tree at Kewalo Basin, with help from more than 700 volunteers.

Check out this Olelo video which celebrates the launch of the canoe earlier this year.

Kupu has raised about half the $5 million needed as part of its Ho‘ahu Capital Campaign for its Green Job Training Center.

The goal is to transform the "net shed," a rundown building originally used by aku fishermen to hang and repair nets near Point Panic at Kewalo, into a LEED-certified Green Job Training Center. Kupu envisions it as a gathering space with classrooms, conference rooms and hydroponic garden, along with a commercial kitchen and food truck that will feature locally sourced produce. Kupu hopes to settle lease terms with the state Hawaii Community Development Authority and begin construction on the center in March 2016.

As Kakaako undergoes a dramatic change in its skyline and population, it would  be great to see a place that nurtures the next generation of stewards for our islands.

Rendering of the Green Job Training Center that Kupu Hawaii envisions at Kewalo Basin. Courtesy Group 70 International.

Rendering of the Green Job Training Center that Kupu Hawaii envisions at Kewalo Basin. Courtesy Group 70 International.

Posted in Green jobs, Green non-profits | Comments Off on Kupu Hawaii

Protecting Hawaii's endangered species

By
October 8th, 2015



Band-rumped storm-petrels in flight.  Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Band-rumped storm-petrels in flight. Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Hawaii, known as the endangered species capital of the world, is home to 10 animals and 39 plants under review for U.S. Endangered Species protections. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the proposal in late September.

The 49 species occur in 11 different habitat types, with 48 of them occurring nowhere else on Earth except Hawaii. These plants and animals are at risk of extinction due to invasive, non-native species, recreational activities, small population size and threats from erosion landslides and fire.

Listing these species, if approved, will boost ongoing conservation efforts to address these threats, prevent extinction and improve the ecology health of the islands.

Among the animals listed are the ‘ake‘ake, or band-rumped storm-petrel, which is a medium sized bird (primarily blackish-brown with a narrow white ban across the rump — found on the isles of Lehua, Kauai, Maui and Hawai‘i island, as well as Japan, the Galapagos islands and subtropical areas of the Atlantic. It is the smallest and rarest seabird that breeds in Hawaii.

"It's a very enigmatic seabird," said Andre Raine, Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project Coordinator. "No one's actually found an active nest for the species in Hawaii but we do know that they nest here...We've recorded their calls."

The storm-petrels are vulnerable to predators, including Polynesian rats, barn owls and feral cats. They have shallow wing beats, but glide long over the surface of the ocean. They nest in burrows in a variety of high-elevation, inland habitats. Only a single egg is laid per season, between May and June; nestlings fledge in October.

Only the Hawaii population is being proposed for the list, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and not the band-rumped storm-petrels that occur in Japan, the Galapagos and subtropical areas of the Atlantic.

The list also includes seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees in response to petitions from the Xerces Society, the Orangeblack Hawaiian damselfly and Anchialine pool shrimp found on Hawaii island and Maui.

Hylaeus assimulans, one of seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees proposed for endangered species protection. Photo creditL John Kaia/Xerces Society.

Hylaeus assimulans, one of seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees proposed for endangered species protection.
Photo credit: John Kaia/Xerces Society.

A total of 39 native plants, including the Maui kolea (Myrsine fosbergii), nanu (Gardenia remyi), Maui reedgrass (Calamagrostis expansa). Baker's loulu palm (Pritchardia bakeri) and ihi (Portulaca villosa). The Baker's loulu, named after Lyon Arboretum founder Ray Baker, is found in wet, windswept and grassy areas, and sometimes on steep slopes from about 1,500 to 2,100 feet at the extreme northern and southern ends of the Koolaus on Oahu. It has yellow flowers.

Seana Walsh, a conservation biologist at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, said: "Hawaii is so special for many reasons, one of them being our rich, highly endemic flora and fauna. Looking at this list of 39 plant taxa proposed for Federal listing, nearly a quarter of them are unique to Kauai, showcasing how narrowly endemic some of these taxa are. Every species depends upon others for its continued existence. If a species goes extinct, there is a cascading effect on the whole ecosystem, effects of which we may not immediately be aware."

The Portulaca Villosa is one of the native Hawaiian plants proposed for a federal Endangered Species list. Courtesy NTBG.

The Portulaca Villosa is one of the native Hawaiian plants proposed for a federal Endangered Species list. Courtesy NTBG.

Of the 39 plants proposed, 18 currently have 50 or fewer individual plants remaining in the wild. Walsh added that although these plant taxa are only now being proposed for listing, many dedicated people from a handful of agencies across Hawaii have been working diligently together for years to protect them from extinction.

"The Endangered Species Act is one way these taxa gain recognition regarding their status and support for protection," she said.

Requests for a public hearing must be submitted in writing to Field Supervisor, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96850 by Nov. 16.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service accepts comments and information through Dec. 1 at www.regulations.gov (in the search box, enter the docket number, FWS-R1-ES-2015-0125). Written comments and information can also be submitted by U.S. snail mail or hand-delivery to:  Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R1-ES-2015-0125; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.

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