Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category

Treasures of Oahu

July 16th, 2014
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Mokolii Cove Pano

This beautiful panorama of Mokoli‘i Cove (Chinaman's Hat) is on display at Canon Gallery as part of nature photographer Nathan Yuen's exhibit "Treasures of Oahu" until end of July. Photo by Nathan Yuen.

Nature photographer Nathan Yuen hikes for hours to get to the most remote parts of Oahu, all in the quest to capture some of the rarest species in the Hawaiian islands. We're talking about singing kahuli (an endangered Oahu tree snail), happy-face spiders and ‘ohi‘a lehua found nowhere else in the world but in Hawaii. And, more specifically, on Oahu.

Yuen's photo exhibit, "Natural Treasures of Oʻahu — From Mauka to Kahakai," is up at Canon Gallery until the end of July.

Yuen, also commissioner of the Natural Area Reserves System Hawaii, spends weekends hiking along the spine of the Koolau and Waianae mountains looking for native snails and flowers endemic to the island of Oahu. He's interested in beautiful vistas as well as the easily overlooked diminutive details one might find along a path. On a regular basis, he enjoys visiting Makapu‘u at sunrise to see the colorful transformation of the ocean and sky at dawn, or heading to Mokoli‘i (Chinaman's Hat) and its cove.

"Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see the raw beauty of Oahu's coastlines and the native plants and seabirds that live there," he said. "It is my goal to showcase the unique plants and animals that live at these special places to give you a reason to protect them for future generations."

Find spectacular vistas of Oahu, as well as closeups of some of the unique plants and animals found only on the island of Oahu, sometimes overlooked while on the trail. Yuen takes multiple, overlapping photos to compose a large, panoramic image, such as the one above. Canon Gallery is at the Canon USA office at Ward Plaza (210 Ward Ave. #200). Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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A tree for every dancer

May 28th, 2014
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Merrie Monarch Festival director Auntie Luana Kawelu planting a koa tree at Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods, Hamakua Coast, Big Island. Photo courtesy Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods.

Merrie Monarch Festival director Auntie Luana Kawelu planting a koa tree at Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods, Hamakua Coast, Big Island. Photo courtesy Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods.

It's a beautiful concept. Plant a tree, honor someone.

Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods, a certified B Corp Best for the Environment, announced in early May a new milestone — the planting of its 250,000th native koa tree on the slopes of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Its goal is to plant 1.3 million trees as part of a reforestation initiative.

What would be more appropriate than to plant a koa tree for every dancer participating in the Merrie Monarch Festival? Hula, after all, is about a connection to nature, with mele celebrating the beauty of every isle, valley, mountain, forest, inlet, rain, breeze, fern and flower. KFVE initiated this legacy last April in a tribute to the Merrie Monarch's 50th year, sponsoring the planting of 555 koa trees in honor of every dancer at the festival last year.

This April, 580 legacy trees were planted, one for every dancer that competed.

KFVE General Manager John Fink says the plan is to sponsor every hula dancer participating in the festival in future years.

Pulelehua on Lehua[1]NathanYuen

In just four years, more than 650 acres of former pastureland have been reclaimed as native forest.

Besides koa, HLH is now offering the planting of other indigenous species of trees and understory including the ‘ohi‘a (see the beautiful lehua blossom, left, by nature photographer Nathan Yuen, hawaiianforest.com), mamane, naio, ko‘oko‘olau, kukaenene and both varieties of ‘iliahi (Hawaiian sandalwood).

"We are seeing the return of the koa forest and along with it, the endangered birds which historically occupied these lands — it's remarkable how fast it is happening," said CEO Jeff Dunster. What's more, this Legacy Forest is creating dozens of permanent green jobs, reducing the effects of global warming and most importantly, doing it in a way that honors the legacy of Hawaiian culture."

The forest's historic site was once the personal koa forest of King Kamehameha the Great, the first king of Hawaii, but was cleared nearly a century ago to make room for farming and ranching. But some of the old growth koa trees can still be found on site.

"The simple act of sponsoring a Legacy Tree, by countless individuals, has transformed this mountain," said Dunster. "Each tree has a story to tell. Each one was planted and sponsored as a living legacy to honor an individual, memorialize a loved one or to commemorate an event. This forest really belongs to them."

Sponsorship of a koa tree is $60, with $20 of it going to a non-profit group of your choice (Legacy has partnered with more than 100, from AccessSurf to Waimanalo Health Center). Also, $1 from every tree purchased goes to the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. Sponsorship of a sandalwood tree is $100. You receive a certificate of ownership which gives you the GPS coordinates of your tree, according to its RFID tag, which you can find via Google Earth. The sponsored trees are never harvested.

To sponsor a tree, visit www.legacytrees.org or call 1-877-707-TREE.

Below, certificate I received for sponsoring a tree in honor of "Uncle George and Auntie Dottie" last year (out of my own pocket). Think I will sponsor one for my 3-year-old son, too (we planted a koa in our yard when he was born):

HLHcertificate

Congrats, monk seal artists

May 19th, 2014
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Grade 12 winner. Art by Allysa Pirtle of Laie. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Grade 12 winner. Art by Allysa Pirtle of Laie. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Congratulations to the following winners of the Monk Seal Foundation's first annual 'Conservation through Art' contest. The foundation received nearly 200 entries from students in grades K through 12 across the state of Hawaii and as far as Conyers, Georgia.

The goal of the contest, held from March 27 to April 11, was to engage the younger generation in learning more about the Hawaiian monk seal and the importance of what conservation of the seal means to them and their environment.

Students were asked to portray the theme: 'The Hawaiian monk seal, a living treasure' and were welcome to submit works of art through painting, drawing, sculptures and collages. The judges, including Wyland, selected one winner from each grade and an overall 'Best in Show' winner.

Here's a sampling of some winners. To see all of them, visit www.monksealfoundation.org/winners.

Grade 7. By Leya Leliaert of Kapolei. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Grade 7 winner: Leya Leliaert of Kapolei. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

 

Second-grader Chloe Zentkovich's drawing was voted Best in Show. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Second-grader Chloe Zentkovich's drawing was voted Best in Show. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Grade 6 winner by Aidyn Huh of Kapolei. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Grade 6 winner: Aidyn Huh of Kapolei. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

 

Grade 5 finalist by Jaca Buddenbaum of Conyers, Georgia. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Grade 5 winner: Jaca Buddenbaum of Conyers, Georgia. Image courtesy Monk Seal Foundation.

Conservation Connections

May 12th, 2014
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conservationconnecti#419936

Aloha, conservation workers...

Conservation is now at your fingertips, with a one-stop-shop for anyone or any organizations interested in conservation.

With ConservationConnections.org, the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance  offers a free, online community for people who want to get involved with preserving, protecting and restoring the precious ocean, land and cultural resources of Hawaii.

"This is the first web site of its kind, uniting a wealth of information for people to get plugged into conservation efforts," said Lihla Noori, executive director of HCA. "There's no better time than now for this web resource."

"Many people are aware of the need to protect and preserve Hawaii's natural beauty and resources, and they want to invest time, money and talent. However, they often don't  know where the places are located, let alone have information about these areas and how they can help. ConservationConnections.org will help bridge that gap."

Initially, ConservationConnectons.org will allow users to:

>> Search for conservation areas — or stewardship sites —  in Hawaii using name and location as search criteria, including Haleakala National Parks, Mokulua Wildlife Sanctuary and Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. You can search Mauka (mountainside), Makai (oceanside) or Maoli (cultural).

>> Search for a type of conservation activity, including invasive species removal, planting natives, nature walks and education/community outreach. For instance, a search for "native plants" came up with an opportunity to be a weed warrior at Haleakala National Park.

>> Learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities.

>> Seek research opportunities and internships at various conservation organizations.

More than 60 organizations in Hawaii are featured on the website, with more on the way. Down the line, ConservationConnections.org will also allow users to make online donations to no-profits through a partnership with PayPal.

  conservationconnecti#419938

Kamehameha butterflies

February 27th, 2014
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The Kamehameha butterfly (Vanessa tameamea) is endemic to Hawaii, meaning it is found nowhere else in the world. It is also Hawaii's official state insect. Photo courtesy UH.

The Kamehameha butterfly (Vanessa tameamea) is endemic to Hawaii, meaning it is found nowhere else in the world. It is also Hawaii's official state insect. The University of Hawaii is asking for the public's help in mapping these butterflies in Hawaii. Photo courtesy UH.

The Pulelehua Project is now underway, with at least 10 new confirmed sightings of Kamehameha butterflies by citizen scientists from the islands of Molokai, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture reached out to the public last week, asking for photo submissions to help map out the distribution of the butterflies to help determine how and why its population has declined.

The Kamehameha butterfly (Vanessa tameamea) is endemic to Hawaii, meaning it is found nowhere else in the world. They used to be commonly found up at Tantalus on Oahu, but no longer are. They are orange and black, but don't get them confused with common lookalikes.

Check out the number of white or light orange patches on the black area on the upper surface of the forewings — the Kamehameha has only three main white patches in this area (other species have additional white spots). When at rest, with wings folded, the Kamehameha also has a longer, pale patch or multiple pale patches on the underside of the hindwing. It has no blue-centered eyespots.

Many submissions have been of the Gulf Fritillary, according to the Pulelehua Project, which is pretty common around Honolulu. The caterpillars are red with black spines, and they feed on lilikoi and related vines.

The non-native painted lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui and Vanessa virginiensis) are in the same genus as the Kamehameha butterfly and look very similar — check for "extra" white dots in the black area on the front wings.

To submit a sighting, the university requests that you include a photo, which can be uploaded on its website. If you think you've seen one but can't submit a photo, email pulelehua@ctahr.hawaii.edu with a description of the sighting, location ad date.

You can also spot the eggs, which are tiny and about the size of a pin head on the upper or lower surface of the leaves of caterpillar host plants, particularly the mamaki.

The eggs are just the size of a pin head. Photo by Will Haines. Courtesy UH.

The eggs are just the size of a pin head. Photo by Will Haines. Courtesy UH.

It's definitely an interesting approach — inviting "Hawaii citizen scientists" to get involved.

For updates, go to the Pulelehua Project's FB page (to see photos submitted by citizen scientists). The first confirmed sighting of a Kamehameha butterfly on Molokai came from Waialua Valley yesterday. Another was sighted in a backyard in Volcano on the Big Island, located at 4,000 feet elevation, where the butterflies appear to be doing well.

Kamehameha butterfly egg, closeup. The egg measures only 1 millimeter in diameter. Photo by Will Haines.

Kamehameha butterfly egg, closeup. The egg measures only 1 millimeter in diameter. Photo by Will Haines.

Saving Waikiki

February 12th, 2014
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Volunteers are welcome to help remove three types of invasive algae from the reef behind Waikiki aquarium during public beach cleanups scheduled from February through October.

The Waikiki Aquarium recently received a $43,951 Community Restoration Partnership grant to continue its Waikiki Coastal Restoration efforts and research. The alien algae — Acanthophora spicifera, Gracilaria salicornia and Avrainvillea amadelpha — choke the reefs and crowd out native limu. They're considered a marine menace and threat to the beauty of Waikiki.

Beach cleanups will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, as well as on Saturdays, March 29, May 3, June 28 and Oct. 25.

"This grant allows us to further engage the public in our conservation efforts, which is a very important goal for us in 2014," said Aquarium director Andrew Rossiter. "We encourage everyone who has an interest in the ocean to join us for a rewarding Saturday morning out on the reef."

Volunteers will first  be trained on how to differentiate between invasive and native algae plants followed by hands-on removal experience on the reef using snorkels, paddleboards and buckets. Dr. Celia Smith and her team from the University of Hawaii Botany Department will provide the training. Starbucks and Diamond Bakery are providing coffee and snacks for volunteers.

Waikiki Aquarium's volunteers have removed thousands of pounds of invasive algae from the reef behind the aquarium over the decade in an effort to protect the native marine plants.

Other organizations, including Malama Maunalua, have also worked hard to remove invasive algae from Maunalua Bay (which stretches from Diamond Head to Koko Head) in East Oahu, with hopeful signs that the bay is being restored. Malama Maunalua also offers volunteer opportunities. On the windward side, a Super Sucker, a mobile underwater pump-vacuum, is used to remove invasive algae from Kaneohe Bay.

To voluteer for the Waikiki Coastal Restoration program, call the aquarium's volunteer office at 440-9020 or visit www.waikikiaquarium.org.

World Wetlands Day

February 7th, 2014
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Ramsar World Wetlands Day takes place Saturday, Feb. 8 at Kailua Methodist Church. Learn about the cultural, historical and environmental significance of the Kawainui-Hamakua March. Photo courtesy Nathan Yuen.

Ramsar World Wetlands Day takes place Saturday, Feb. 8 at Kailua Methodist Church. Learn about the cultural, historical and environmental significance of the Kawainui-Hamakua March. Photo courtesy Nathan Yuen.

Ramsar World Wetlands Day is Saturday.

Learn all about the Kawainui-Hamakua Marsh Complex and how the wetlands are being restored for the endangered waterbirds of Hawaii at World Wetlands Day from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Kailua Methodist Church, 1110 Kailua Rd.

The family-friendly event offers:

>> Bus tours of Kawainui-Hamakua Marsh (advance reservations recommended at email@ahahui.net or 263-8008).

>> Walking tours of the lo‘i kalo at Ulupo Heiau

>> View images of Kawainui by nature photographer Nathan Yuen

>> Listen to Hawaiian perspectives on Wetlands, a lecture by Samual ‘Ohu Gon III, the Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i and Waimea Williams

>> Listen to guest speakers talk about managing water for wetlands, agricultural opportunities at wetlands, sea level change and wetlands and restoring wetlands for endangered waterbirds.

>> Listen to music by Hawai‘i Loa & Pila Nahenahe and performances by Halau Ha‘a Hula ‘o Kekau‘ilani Na Pua Hala ‘O Kailua under the direction of kumu hula Charlani Kalama.

>> Kama‘aina Kids will provide keiki activities and a climbing wall

>> Buy native Hawaiian plants, local food, artwork and T-shirts

Learn about the stewardship of our valuable wetlands. For more information, visit wwwd2014.blogspot.com or the Facebook page.

WorldWetlandsbyNateYuen

See photos of Kawainui-Hamakua Marsh by Nathan Yuen at World Wetlands Day 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Kailua Methodist Church. Photo courtesy Nathan Yuen.

 WorldWetlandsFlyer

 

Papahanaumokuakea: Marine debris now viewable

January 31st, 2014
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A Hawaiian monk seal basking in the sun, as well as marine debris, can now be viewed on Google Maps. Photo by NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries.

A Hawaiian monk seal basking in the sun can be viewed as part of Google Maps. Photo by NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries.

Alas, now we can see marine debris at Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, up close, without setting foot on shore (which you need permission from the government to do).

Google Maps has now captured the first 360-degree panoramic images from five new locations within the marine monument, which are sometimes referred to as the Northwestern Hawaiian islands. The announcement was actually made earlier this month, at the start of the new year.

View Larger Map

You can virtually visit Tern Island and East Island at the French Frigate Shoals, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island and Pearl and Hermes Atoll.

It's the link to Laysan Island that gives you a peek of a Hawaiian monk seal (hello) plus the marine debris, pieces of broken down plastic that you can see scattered along the sand and vegetation. One image captures what looks like a plastic, laundry basket – now how did that get washed ashore of one of the isolated islands on Earth?

You also get a glimpse of birds, mostly on the Tern Island link, and a Hawaiian sea turtle at the Pearl and Hermes Atoll link.

Voice of the Sea

January 4th, 2014
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Learn all about the exciting scientific and cultural work going on in Hawaii and the Pacific on a new, reality-based show, "Voice of the Sea," which debuts Jan. 5 on KFVE.

World paddleboard champion and shark researcher Kanesa Duncan Seraphin hosts the show, which profiles local science and cultural celebrities while inspiring students to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The half-hour show was developed in collaboration with the University of Hawaii's Curriculum Research & Development Group, Hawaii Sea Grant Center for Marine Science Education, with funding from the NOAA Pacific Services Center.

The first episode will feature Kimokeo Kapahulehua, president of the Maui Fishpond Association, who will talk about restoration efforts there. Seraphin also interviews experts from the Tara expedition, and experts on aquaponics, oysters, algae and volcanoes.

"Voice of the Sea" will air 6 p.m. Sundays on KFVE (Channels 5 and 1005).

Saving the Palila

December 13th, 2013
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The population of the Palila, a Hawaiian honeycreeper, has declined 66 percent in the past decade. Fewer than 2,200 birds are currently left. Photo courtesy of DLNR/by Jackson Bauer.

The population of the Palila, a Hawaiian honeycreeper, is critically endangered. Its population has declined 66 percent in the past decade. Fewer than 2,200 birds are currently left. Photo courtesy of DLNR/By Jackson Bauer.

Hawaii actor Jason Scott Lee, is lending his voice to a new public service announcement aimed at helping to save the critically endangered Palila, which begins airing statewide this week. The Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resource's Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and American Bird Conservancy have initiated the new outreach campaign.

You can find the PSA at RestoreMaunaKea.org

The Palila (Loxioides bailleui) is found in a small patch of mamane forest on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea on Hawaii island.

It has a vibrant, yellow head, strong bill and delightful call — and is endemic to Hawaii, meaning it occurs only in Hawaii and nowhere else. The Palila, which belongs to the Hawaiian Honeycreeper family, is also critically endangered. More than 15 in this family are now extinct.

The population of Palila, which once lived across most of Hawaii island, has declined 66 percent in the last decade. Fewer than 2,200 birds are currently left due to the shrinking of their habitat and food source — healthy mamane forests — which are being damaged by non-native sheep, goats and cattle. Other threats include long-term drought, feral cats and mongoose that prey on the adult birds and nestlings.

"Not many people are familiar with what a Palila is and why they are worth saving," said Robert Stephens, coordinator for DOFAW's Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project, in a press release. "What makes the Palila special is that they are a classic example of the spectacular evolutionary process that occurred in the remoteness of the Hawaiian islands. They survived in the dry forests for thousands of years by adapting to a food source, mamane pods, that is toxic to other wildlife. Palila belong here and are one of the things that makes Hawaii one of the most amazing places on the planet."

The American Bird Conservancy has made the Palila one of its high-priority species for bird conservation work in Hawaii.

Native Hawaiians have loved the Palila, along with other native species, since ancient times. Queen Emma visited Mauna Kea in the early 1880s and composed a series of mele to commemorate the event, including one which describes the memorable song of the Palila.

Besides removing non-native grazing animals, the state is maintaining a fence around the Palila's critical habitat on Mauna Kea. Volunteers are also restoring Mauna Kea's mamane forest.

In January, a nine-by-12-foot mural featuring the Palila will be on display on a prominent building in downtown Hilo.