Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category

IUCN Spotlight: Opening ceremony hula

By
August 31st, 2016



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Kumu Nalani Kanaka‘ole of Halau o Kekuhi, playing the pahu drum, left, and dancers from numerous renowned halau representing Hawaii island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai rehearsing Akahi Ka Mano, a migration chant in preparation for the IUCN World Conservation Congress opening ceremony Sept. 1. Courtesy National Host Committee for IUCN WCC Hawaii 2016.

Renowned kumu hula and hula practitioners of the Lalakea Foundation are presenting the opening protocol for the International Union of Conservation of Nature's World Conservation Congress on Thursday, Sept. 1, at the Blaisdell Center in Hawaii.

With Akahi Ka Mano, a migration chant, the mano, or shark, begins the ceremony in a retelling of the ocean migrations of the native people to the Hawaiian islands. The pahu drums, with their reverberating, earth pulsing sounds, accompany the chant to honor the evolution of the landscape.

Then the journey begins, telling the story of how each island emerges, one by one, from the depths of the Pacific Ocean as revealed through Pele, the goddess who resides in the fiery pit of Halema‘uma‘u at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Halau o Kekuhi performing at Hoike, Merrie Monarch Festival 2013, demonstrating their popular, bombastic hula style. Star-Advertiser Photo archives/Dennis Oda.

Halau o Kekuhi performing at Hoike, Merrie Monarch Festival 2013, demonstrating their popular, bombastic hula style. Star-Advertiser Photo archives/Dennis Oda.

The entire performance is in kahiko, or ancient-style hula, with a ceremonial building of a lele on which is placed particular native plants important to hula, according to Lalakea Foundation managing director Noe Noe Wong-Wilson.

"The things we will highlight on each island are sensitive and important issues like the preservation of our mountains, our water ways and access to water," she said. "Each plant represents a strata of the larger kuahu (altar) which is the healthy, native forest. Each plant also represents a characteristic which the dancer strives to achieve. Without the native forest, hula in this form could not exist."

Lava meeting the ocean, Hawaii island. Photo by Kim Wu/Endless Summer Photo Contest. Star-Advertiser archives 2016.

Lava meeting the ocean, Hawaii island. Photo by Kim Wu/Endless Summer Photo Contest. Star-Advertiser archives 2016.

On Hawaii island, world-renowned Halau o Kekuhi under the direction of kumu Nalani Kanaka‘ole, Huihui Kanahele-Mossman and Kaumakaiwa Kealiikanakaoleohaillani perform a series of chants, beginning with Hulihia Ka Mauna, portraying the tumultuous upheaval caused by volcanic activity. Hawaii island's landscape continues to change as the active volcano creates layer up layer of new lava, destroying any living thing in its way.

Kumu Kanaka‘ole composed a new chant, Hulihua Ke Au Nee Ilalo Ia Akua, describing the Hawaii island environment dominated by Pele.

She wrote: "Vulcanism in its wholeness calls for a volatile relationship of extreme factors like fire and ice. Lines from two Awa chants from the mo‘olelo (stories) of Kamiki clearly indicates an understanding of this relationship. As Kanaka (native Hawaiians) we should control the outcome of all sacred places from Mauna Kea to Na Pali."

Kumu hula Keali‘i Reichel at Piiholo near Makawao on Maui where his proposed resource center will be built in January 2016. Photo by George Lee.

Kumu hula Keali‘i Reichel at Piiholo near Makawao on Maui where his proposed resource center will be built in January 2016. Photo by George Lee.

Continue on to Maui, where the mele (songs) will address areas of the isle affected by the restriction of wai, or life giving water to feed the lo‘i, or taro patch and the biosystem of plant sand animals in the streams. Dancers from top-placing Merrie Monarch groups, including Halau Ke‘alaokamaile under the direction of kumu hula Keali‘i Reichel, as well as Halau Pa‘u o Hi‘iaka under the direction of kumu Hokulani Holt Padilla and Halau Hi‘iakanamakalehua under the direction of kumu Lono Padilla and Keano Ka‘upu will perform pieces which celebrate this life-giving water. The phrase "ka wai ola" means "water is life."

Kumu Niuli‘i Heine's halau Na Pualei O Likolehua practice for Merrie Monarch in Kaimuki in February 2016. Star-Advertiser archives/Krystle Marcellus.

Kumu Niuli‘i Heine's halau Na Pualei O Likolehua practice for Merrie Monarch in Kaimuki in February 2016. Star-Advertiser archives/Krystle Marcellus.

Dancers from Oahu will celebrate the verdant Koolau mountain range and the wetlands of He‘eia, Waiahole, Waianae and other storied places. Ka Pa Hula o Ka Lei Lehua under the direction of kumu Snowbird Bento and Halau Na Pualei o Likolehua under the direction of kumu Niuli‘i Heine perform both traditional and contemporary chants highlighting the ongoing struggle on Hawaii's most populated island.

Kauai's Halau Palaihiwa o Kaipuwai under the direction of kumu Kehaulani Kekua perform chants and hula highlighting the beautiful Na Pali Coast, a fragile ecosystem of remote valleys home to unique flora and fauna under threat.

The message is clear. Hawaii is a sensitive ecosystem, each island unique for its own unimaginable beauty of flora and fauna created by millennia of isolation. The hulihia, or tumultuous change in our environment, plants, animals, people and culture that has occurred in just a little over 200 years since recorded Western contact, is irreversible. So where do we go from here?

"We're hoping the message we relate is not only the delicate nature of our own indigenous plants and animal species, but our native Hawaiian people, our culture and our environment," said Wong-Wilson. "Without the native plants, hula doesn't exist...Without the sacred places we as a people would be hard-pressed to maintain our identity, culture and language."

See a gallery of opening ceremony:

The opening ceremonies for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress at the Neil Blaisdell Center. This is Halau Palaihiwa o Kaipuwai from Kauai. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA. SEPT. 1, 2016.

The opening ceremonies for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress at the Neil Blaisdell Center. This is Halau Palaihiwa o Kaipuwai from Kauai. Photo by Dennis Oda. Sept. 1, 2016.

Dancers of Halau O Kekuhi take the stage during the closing performances in the IUCN World Conservation Congress opening ceremony, Blaisdell Center arena, Sept. 1, 2016. Photo by Bruce Asato.

Dancers of Halau O Kekuhi take the stage during the closing performances in the IUCN World Conservation Congress opening ceremony, Blaisdell Center arena, Sept. 1, 2016. Photo by Bruce Asato.

Dancers of Nakinimakalehua Consortium (with Halau Ke'alaokamaile, Pa'u O Hi'iaka, Halau Kamaluokaleihulu and Halau Hi'iakainamakalehua) take the stage during the closing performances in the IUCN World Conservation Congress opening ceremony, Neal S. Blaisdell Center arena, Thursday, September 1, 2016. Photo by Bruce Asato.

Dancers of Nakinimakalehua Consortium (with Halau Ke'alaokamaile, Pa'u O Hi'iaka, Halau Kamaluokaleihulu and Halau Hi'iakainamakalehua) take the stage during the closing performances in the IUCN World Conservation Congress opening ceremony, Blaisdell Center, Sept. 1, 2016. Photo by Bruce Asato.

IUCN Spotlight: Hawaiian monk seals

By
August 25th, 2016



Hawaiian monk seal pup Niho‘ole resting on the beach at Papahanaumokuakea. Photo courtesy NOAA. Permit 16632.

Hawaiian monk seal Niho‘ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests on a beach in Laysan. Niho`ole is currently in guarded condition at The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS/NOAA permit 16632.

The NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program recently transported four malnourished Hawaiian monk seals, classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List, from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to a monk seal rehabilitation center in Kona, Hawaii.

Among them are prematurely weaned pups, including Niho‘ole, pictured above, as well as YK56, an extremely underweight five-year-old.

"Even though the five-year-old Hawaiian monk seal is older than our typical patients from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, she is much smaller and thinner than the others in her cohort," said Michelle Barbieri, wildlife veterinary medical officer. "She has generally declined in condition over the past two seasons, and appeared to decline even more dramatically this season."

The monk seals underwent physical exams and blood work aboard the NOAA Research Vessel Oscar Elton Sette, and have begun a treatment regime, including oral electrolytes, fish-mash tube feedings and antibiotics. They were shuttled by small boat to Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center's monk seal hospital in Kona as part of the final mission of a 24-day research cruise.

NOAA researchers transport Hawaiian monk seals in need of rehabilitation from the Oscar Elton Sette research vessel to a smaller boat that can bring them ashore to Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS / NOAA permit 16632.

NOAA researchers transport Hawaiian monk seals in need of rehabilitation from the Oscar Elton Sette research vessel to a smaller boat that can bring them ashore to Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS/NOAA permit 16632.

Teams of researchers, who studied seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, or Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which President Barack Obama recently quadrupled in size to nearly 583,000 square miles, were also picked up as part of the program's long-running Assessment and Recovery Camps. As remote as the atolls may be, their shores are full of marine debris, including broken-down pieces of plastic, fishing nets and ropes that the seals often get entangled in.

Since Ke Kai Ola opened two years ago, the hospital has provided another option in the islands for malnourished monk seals that would otherwise perish at Papahanaumokuakea. So far, the hospital has rehabilitated and returned 15 Hawaiian monk seals to the wild, including seven last year.

The Hawaiian monk seal, or neomonachus schauinslandi, is endemic to the Hawaiian islands, meaning found nowhere else, and typically hauls out on beaches to rest during the day. While most live in Papahanaumokuakea, a growing number of pups are being born in the main Hawaiian islands. Their population has been in decline for decades, with only an estimated 1,300 left in the wild.

Hawaiian monk seal Niho`ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests on a beach in Laysan. Niho`ole is currently in guarded condition at The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS / NOAA permit 16632.

Hawaiian monk seal Niho‘ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests on a beach in Laysan. Niho‘ole is currently in guarded condition at The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS/NOAA permit 16632.

Interested in learning more about Hawaii's wildlife? The IUCN Forum presents a Knowledge Cafe, entitled "Wet and Wild: Promoting Sustainable and Responsible Ecotourism Experiences with Marine Wildlife" from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3 in Room 311-4 at Hawai‘i Convention Center. Meet with representatives from NOAA Fisheries for a discussion on how to balance sustainability with tourism when it comes to whales, dolphins, manta rays and Hawaiian monk seals. Wildlife managers, marine ecotourism operators, cultural practitioners, travel industry representatives, scientists and others welcome. A followup discussion will be held off site from 1 to 5 p.m. at the OHANA Waikiki East Hotel, lobby conference room, 150 Kaiulani Ave. RSVP to Adam Kurtz, adam.kurtz@noaa.gov by Sept. 6.

Related videos:

Hawaiian monk seal pup Niho‘ole playing with plastic debris at Laysan.

 

This public service announcement plays on Hawaiian Airlines' in-flight video:

Posted in Conservation, Endangered species, Hawaiian monk seals, IUCN, IUCN World Conservation Congress, Papahanaumokuakea | Comments Off on IUCN Spotlight: Hawaiian monk seals

IUCN Spotlight: Samuel ‘Ohu Gon III

By
August 22nd, 2016



Dr. Sam ‘Ohu Gon III, courtesy The Nature Conservancy.

Dr. Sam ‘Ohu Gon III, courtesy The Nature Conservancy.

A Hawaiian chanter, senior scientist and cultural advisor for The Nature Conservancy, Samuel M. ‘Ohukani‘ohi‘a Gon III bridges the western and native Hawaiian worlds.

Gon, who has more than 40 years of experience in Hawaiian ecology, is hosting a workshop at the IUCN World Conservation Congress Forum on integrating indigenous cultural values and perspectives into conservation on Sept. 3. He will be at the opening of the #NatureForAll pavilion and moderate a presentation on bright spots in conservation across the isles.

Gon helped craft motion 83, with students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Environmental Law Program, which affirms the role of indigenous cultures in global conservation efforts.

"If you were going to think about any place where conservation issues are a high priority, and conservation challenges felt very strongly, it would be Hawaii," said Gon. "We have more endangered species than any other state in the U.S. We've got finite island ecosystems."

"The lessons of these islands to earth is the same as a canoe to an island. When you're on a voyaging canoe thousands of miles to an island, your entire world is on the canoe. You need to rely on the people in that canoe and the resources you have to survive. Decisions are never made lightly. You're always thinking about supplies, the direction  and your goals."

"We know we have limited land area, so you can't behave as if you have an infinite supply of resources...so that same lesson applies to larger islands such as continents, and of course, to the largest island we have, which is the planet."

The practitioner of Hawaiian chant and protocol graduated from revered kumu John Keolamaka‘ainana Lake as well as with a PhD in animal behavior from the University of California at Davis, and is as comfortable talking natural science as he is Hawaiian. He lectures about the Natural History of Hawaiian Islands at the University of Hawaii at Manoa In addition, he knows Hawaii's mountains and forests intimately.

Danny Donlin, left, and Dr. Samuel ‘Ohu Gon III from Na Hanona o Ka Halau Hula Pa Ola Kapu (under the direction of kumu hula John Keolamaka'ainana Lake) at the 27th Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival at Moanalua Gardens. File photo by Dennis Oda 2014.

Danny Donlin, left, and Dr. Samuel ‘Ohu Gon III from Na Hanona o Ka Halau Hula Pa Ola Kapu (under the direction of kumu hula John Keolamaka'ainana Lake) at the 27th Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival at Moanalua Gardens. File photo by Dennis Oda 2014.

Whether in the Pacific islands or forests of the Amazon, indigenous peoples who have a relationship with the places where they live offer valuable insights into the management of natural resources.

"The time is emerging when all people need to start looking at their places, lands and water, and sustain them with a bit more respect," said Gon. "It becomes clearer to us that human impacts are being seen from pole to pole and there's no place on Earth that hasn't seen the impact of humanity...It's no longer, let nature take its course because we have modified the course nature has run."

Still, people need to be part of the solution because people are part of the natural system.

"The great revelations of this century are going to be the awareness of the global implications of our actions. We need to take action as individual countries and as a global country to minimize those things we understand are not in the best interest of the world's ecosystems or ourselves."

In addition to serving on the IUCN's commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy, Gon also was a member of the Hawaii Rare Plant Specialist Group that worked to add more than 700 more native species to the IUCN Red List. There are so many Hawaiian plants and animals that are in need of attention, but one that Gon would love to see added to the red list is the Hawaiian Happy Face Spider.

In mid-August, Gon joined the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Snail Extinction Prevention Program in reintroducing captive-reared, nearly extinct Hawaiian tree snails (Achatinella Lila, or pūpū kuahiwi) back to the summit of the Ko‘olau mountains on Oahu. In 1997, the last six individuals for the snail population were brought to a lab for captive rearing.

Related video (TEDx Maui Talk: Lessons from a Thousand Years):

Posted in Conservation, Endangered species, IUCN, IUCN World Conservation Congress | Comments Off on IUCN Spotlight: Samuel ‘Ohu Gon III

IUCN Spotlight: Chris Farmer

By
August 15th, 2016



Chris Farmer, Hawaii Program Director, American Bird Conservancy at Nihoa island. Courtesy Chris Farmer.

Chris Farmer, Hawaii Program Director, American Bird Conservancy at Nihoa island. Courtesy Chris Farmer.

Gone is the Kauai O‘o bird, which was endemic to the island of Kauai. Its songs can no longer be heard in tree branches, with all that remains being a recording at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Its last song was heard in 1985.

Before that, we lost the Oahu ‘akepa (1893), the Laysan honeycreeper (1923) and Lanai creeper (1937). Today, many native Hawaiian birds continue to live on the brink of becoming extinct due to invasive species, loss of habitat and mosquito-borne diseases.

Chris Farmer, Hawaii Program Director of the American Bird Conservancy, said roughly a third of all endangered birds in the world are native Hawaiian. Being on isolated islands, conservation work here is more challenging due to the small, geographic location and lack of funding.

"Hawaii's native birds are one of the biggest conservation needs in the world," said Farmer. "I do feel we're at a crossroads. A lot of these birds are in serious shape. We know it needs to get done. If we take action now, we can save these precious and endangered species found nowhere else in the world."

Hawaii is the bird extinction capital of the world, according to the conservancy.

A Hawaiian honeycreeper, or ‘i‘iwi, is at risk of extinction. Photo by robbey Kohley/American Bird Conservancy.

A Hawaiian honeycreeper, or ‘i‘iwi, is at risk of extinction. Photo by Robbey Kohley/American Bird Conservancy.

Native birds such as the ‘akikiki, ‘i‘iwi and Maui parrotbill are at risk of declining quickly. The ‘i‘iwi, or Hawaiian honeycreeper, was once one of the most common native forest birds in the Hawaiian archipelago but is in decline due to avian malaria. Climate change is another threat.

Yet Farmer, who has been dedicated to saving Hawaiian birds since 2004, remains optimistic.

The translocation of endangered millerbirds to Hawaii's Laysan island is a success story. In 2013, the population of the millerbirds there had doubled to more than 100 after 50 were translocated from Nihoa in previous years. Last year, 10 endangered Hawaiian petrel chicks were flown by helicopter to Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, where they are protected by a predator-proof fence, on Kauai.

In April, biologists released more than a dozen puaiohi (small Kauai thrush) from captive breeding programs at a wilderness preserve on the Garden Isle. Hawaiian crows, or alala, are also being bred in captivity and doing well, with a dozen to be released in September.

"The problems are serious, but the hope is there," he said. "If we act now we can save these species."

Farmer and George Wallace (vice president of oceans and islands) from the American Bird Conservancy will be at the following World Conservation Congress events:

> ABC Pavilion Talks: Saving Hawaiian Birds. Concrete Actions to Prevent Further Extinctions.

> ABC Pavilion Talks: Overcoming Conflicts to Save Hawaii's Native Birds

> Revive & Restore Workshop, Genetic Rescue: Can new genomic tools solve conservation problems such as exotic wildlife diseases and destructive invasive species?

> Revive & Restore Pavilion, Stamping Out Alien Mosquitoes in Hawaii: Can new technology stop avian malaria from driving Hawaii's native birds to extinction?

> ABC Poster: Hawaii's Native Birds at the Crossroads

> ABC Poster: Palila: Conservation of an endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper - past, present and future challenges

The Palila, a critically endangered native Hawaiian bird on the IUCN Red List. Photo by Robby Kohley/ABC Birds.

The Palila, an endangered native Hawaiian bird. Photo by Robby Kohley/ABC Birds.

The IUCN Red List

By
August 9th, 2016



The Oahu Elepaio is on the list (status: endangered), as is the Hawaiian monk seal (status: endangered), the Kauai bog damselfly (status: near threatened), silversword (status: vulnerable) and Cyanea kuhihewa (status: critically endangered).

The IUCN Red List, sometimes referred to as a barometer of life, has since 1964 been cataloging the conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species around the globe with details such as current status, distribution, threats and habitats essential for survival. Considered a critical indicator of the health of the world's biodiversity, it's used by government agencies, wildlife departments and organizations worldwide to set conservation and funding priorities.

Hawaii, the "extinction capital of the world," has a significant number of flora and fauna on the list and is poised to have more.

In an unprecedented collaboration, botanists in Hawaii are targeting over half of Hawaii's native plants — 780 of 1,375 natives species — for the IUCN Red List.

The National Tropical Botanical Garden spearheaded these efforts last August, when it hosted a workshop for the Hawaiian Plant Specialists Group, which is part of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. The group assessed the plant species by island, focusing first on 'single island endemics,' or species that occur on just one island.

The Geranium arboreum, endemic to Maui, is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.

The Geranium arboreum, endemic to Maui, is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Photo courtesy NTBG.

Approximately 90 percent of native flowering plant species are endemic to the islands, meaning found nowhere else, naturally. Kauai has the highest number of endemic species due its geologic age, its many steep, isolated valleys and greater distance from other islands. Before the workshop, 91 Kauai species were listed. An additional 47 have been listed, with more pending.

By the time the congress takes place in September, Oahu is expected to increase its number of red-listed plant species to 147; Maui 117; Lanai 50, Molokai 66 and Hawaii island 79.

Currently, there are more than 79,800 species on the IUCN Red List. The IUCN's goal is to assess at least 160,000 species by 2020.

A quick look at the IUCN Red List:

> There are currently more than 79,800 species on the IUCN Red List. More than 23,000 are threatened with extinction, including 41 percent of amphibians, 34 percent of conifers, 33 percent of reef building corals, 25 percent of mammals and 13 percent of birds.

> Both threatened and non-threatened species are included on the list. However, a species that is not listed may still be threatened.

> Categories range from least concern to vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild and extinct.

The  World Conservation Congress, held only once every four years, is expected to bring between 6,000 to 8,000 world leaders from over 170 countries to the Hawai‘i Convention Center from Sept. 1 to 10. It is being held for the first time in the U.S.

Related video:

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Reinventing the wheel

By
July 12th, 2016



The Ala Wai Canal in Waikiki has for years been the collection point for plastic debris and litter, which in turn flows into the ocean, not to mention the site of the worst massive sewage discharge of 48-million gallons of untreated wastewater in 2006.

Now, three non-profit groups — Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, 808 Cleanups and the Surfrider Foundation — are hoping to bring the Trash Water Wheel to Honolulu's Ala Wai Canal. The solar-powered wheel, which a Baltimore, Md. non-profit brought to its Inner Harbor two years ago, has reportedly removed more than 350 tons of litter there.

Baltimore water wheel powered by solar panels and currents. Courtesy Sierraclub.org.

Baltimore water wheel powered by solar panels and currents. Courtesy Sierraclub.org.

It kind of looks like a covered wagon with a spinning wheel and array of solar panels on top. The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore says it is capable of picking up 50,000 pounds of trash per day using a combination of old and new technology. Two booms direct trash and debris toward the front of the water wheel, which moves it up a conveyer belt (powered by the water wheel and solar panels) and into a dumpster.

Hawaii's three non-profits recently launched an indiegogo campaign seeking to raise $6,500 to conduct a feasibility study (plus offer donors various perks). The goal has been surpassed in less than 10 days.

Kahi Pacarro, director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, says he has met with state and city officials, who agreed the project should be a priority for Oahu but requires a feasibility study first. All funds beyond the goal will go towards the actual water wheel. If the feasibility study ends up determining that the water wheel is not feasible for Honolulu, the funds will be split between the three non-profits for perpetuating their missions of cleaning Hawaii's coastlines.

The indiegogo campaign runs until Aug. 19.

Posted in Conservation, marine debris, Ocean, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Reinventing the wheel

Kupu out in force

By
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.

20160609_Environmental Fair_108

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.

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Saving ‘ohi‘a lehua

By
May 30th, 2016



ohialehuaDLNR

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."

IMG_6868

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:

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12 tons of trash

By
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

Racing Extinction

By
March 7th, 2016



Academy Award-winning film director Louie Psihoyos exposes the underground world of the endangered species trade in his new film, "Racing Extinction," which was screened for a Honolulu audience on Friday evening.

The director of "The Cove," which exposed the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, and his team from the Oceanic Preservation Society focus this time on the underground market of shark finning in China and covert offering of whale meat at The Hump, a now closed-down sushi restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif.

Footage includes the precious clip of the last (and now extinct) male ‘o‘o bird singing for a female on Kauai, which is stored in the archives of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Grasshopper Sparrow may be next to go extinct.

Vulcan Productions and the Hawaii Wildlife Coalition hosted the free screening on Friday evening at Blaisdell Concert Hall in celebration of World Wildlife Day.

"Each year about one in a million species should expire naturally," said Stuart Pimm, conservation ecologist from Duke University in the film. "In the next few decades, we'll be driving species to extinction a thousand times faster than they should be."

In 100 years or so, we could lose up to 50 percent of all species on earth, according to the film. No surprise, humans are the driving force of this mass extinction.

The film focuses heavily on the shark finning and exotic animal trade in China. It also looks at the killing of manta rays in Lamakera, a remote fishing village in Indonesia, for their gills, which are being touted as a Traditional Chinese Medicine cure.

While "Racing Extinction" covers a broad swathe, addressing a range of issues from ocean acidification to carbon emissions and their impact on the earth, it does not delve into the world of elephant and rhino poaching in Africa or other parts of the world.

It offers beautiful, underwater footage of blue whales, dolphins, whale sharks, hammerhead sharks and manta rays.

After the screening, actress Kristin Bauer van Straten moderated a panel including race car driver Leilani Munter (whose mother is from Kona and who is in the film), Jeffrey Flocken, North America regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Elly Pepper, policy advocate of the Land & Wildlife Program for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

ExtinctionPanelists

Actress Kristin Bauer van Straten moderates the panel discussion following the film's screening at Blaisdell Concert Hall with race car driver and environmental activist Leilani Munter, Jeffrey Flocken of IFAW and Elly Pepper of NRDC. An endangered Hawaiian monk seal is on the screen behind them. Seals are not featured in the film.

Hawaii is the third largest market for ivory in the U.S., behind New York and California, according to a brochure from the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i. The latter two states now have laws in place.

The council urged support for HB2502 and SB2647, which would prohibit the trafficking of any part of protected animal species in Hawaii, including any species of elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, great ape, Hawaiian monk seal, shark, ray, sea turtle, walrus, narwhal, whale, lion, pangolin, cheetah and more. For the full list, see the bill.

The bill mentions that Hawaii, as host of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's World Conservation Congress in September, should demonstrate leadership in endangered species protection.

A House vote on HB2502 is scheduled for Tuesday.

Despite the gruesome discoveries, the film concludes with a message of hope that we can save animals from going extinct.

"If we all lose hope there is no hope," said Jane Goodall, who is seen in the film, releasing a chimpanzee back into the wild. "Without hope, people fall into apathy. There's still a lot left worth fighting for."

"Racing Extinction" was broadcast on The Discovery Channel on Dec. 2, but is also available on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.

Posted in Conservation, Endangered species, Marine Life | Comments Off on Racing Extinction

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