Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Save Our Seabirds! Simple steps to reducing light distraction.

Each fall, the keiki of Hawaii's native seabirds begin to fledge and fly to the ocean for the first time using the moonlight on the sea to navigate their way. These young birds are leaving the land for the first time and traveling to the ocean to find food and begin their adult lives. The light of the moon is their primary navigational tool.

Wedge-tailed Shearwater (Puffinus pacificus)

Unfortunately on their way to the sea, they cross lands covered with glaring lights. 

 Full moon behind Poipu Resort

These threatened and endangered birds are attracted to lights and often end up circling them until they are exhausted, and they can be injured by their fall to the ground.

Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis)

This sad story can have a happy ending, though, and you can do your part, simply by making sure that your outdoor lights point DOWN instead of up!  

Uplighting creates a large amount of unnecessary light pollution. By simply changing light fixtures so they point down or are shielded, you can make a big difference for these special endangered birds. 

Visit the Seabird Protection and Impact Reduction webpage for more information about lighting strategies, examples of light fixtures that reduce light distraction, and info about fallen seabirds.

Click here to read "Turn Off the Lights for the Birds" on the Maui News website from December 2009. Check out the section with tips for "what to do/what not to do" if you encounter a fallen bird.

Monday, December 28, 2009

This Week in Nature: The last week in December - Fin whale

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the last week in December:

Fin whales pass the islands about now, en route to the warm waters of the equatorial region.  Second only in size to blue whales, fin whales average 65 feet in length and may attain swimming speeds as high as 20 miles an hour. Usually they keep to the deep sea, but occasional sightings and strandings have been reported in Hawaii. A fin whale spotted off Hale'iwa was apparently enjoying a meal of 'ōpelu.

Their passage through Hawaiian waters coincides with fin whales' peak calving and mating period, so newborns - 19 feet long at birth - are likely to be among our visitors. Mating may occur here as well. Recordings made off Ka'ena Point indicate that females swim south first, followed by males singing courting songs.

To learn more about fin whales, visit the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources' Marine Mammals page

Taken from "Hawaii: A calendar of Natural Events" 
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

Monday, December 21, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 4th week in December - Koloa maoli

What's Happening in Hawaii 
during the 4th week in December:

Koloa maoli
Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS

Koloa maoli, the Hawaiian duck, (Anas wyvilliana) can now be seen making vertical flights that indicate the onset of mating. Courting pairs fly virtually straight up from ground level to an altitude of one hundred feet and chase one another in tight circles. Sometimes a second male joins the chase, trying to approach the female, but is ritually driven off. Courtship resumes on the ground, where eventually as many as ten eggs will be laid and hatched in a large, well-concealed nest. Koloa appear to mate throughout the year, but their main breeding period begins in December.

Once plentiful on most of the main islands, koloa is now an endangered species, and is fighting for survival against threats like predation by foreign animals, draining and filling of marshes, and breeding with feral and domesticated mallards.

Koloa maoli means "indigenous duck," distinguishing this native from six North American species that visit the islands in the winter. The only other native duck is a resident of Laysan, toward the northwest end of the archipelago.

To learn more about koloa maoli, visit the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy koloa fact sheet

For lessons and activities about the native Hawaiian duck, visit Malama Hawaii's koloa webpage.

Taken from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ten Things You Can Do To Reduce Marine Debris

DOFAW asks you to remember: what happens mauka can effect the health of ecosystems makai. There are so many things we can all do to help protect the unique and beautiful natural resources in Hawaii. Here are 10 ways to help reduce marine debris. This list was compiled by the Hawaii Wildlife Fund.

1. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Choose reusable items and fewer disposable ones. Please visit website to discover more recycling options (e.g., batteries, cans, cell pones, computers, fishing line).

2. Place all rubbish in trash cans with lids so it doesn't blow away. Keep streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and storm drains free of trash as they empty into our oceans. Throw all cigarette butts and bottle caps into refuse containers!

3. Encourage your tackle shops, docks, marinas, and fishing piers to provide adequate trash cans and recycling bins for used line and other trash. Bring your oil cans, food wrappers, and ciggerette butts back to shore to throw in the rubbish can. Visit the Berkley Fishing page and the Florida Conservation website for more info about monofilament recycling programs.

4. "Paper or plastic?" Neither! Remember to use your re-usable shopping bags when you go to the store. Also remember that "Less is more." Be mindful to select products with minimal packaging.

5. Instead of continually purchasing plastic-bottled water, use water filters, water coolers, and refillable stainless steel bottles instead. Visit for more info.

Buy soft drinks and juice  in aluminum cans or glass bottles which can be redeemed and recycled, as opposed to plastic bottles, which are often "down-cycled" rather than "recycled."

7. Encourage restaurants to use biodegradable (or at least #1 and #2 recyclable plastic) take-out food containers and utensils. Better yet, bring your own!

8. Avoid over packaged merchandise and disposable products like plastic lighters, razors, cameras and other throw-away items. Visit for more info.

9. Avoid body care products that contain tiny plastic "micro-scrubbers" that wash down the drain and into our ocean.

10. Serve as an example to others. Practice 1-9 above and participate in local beach clean-ups. To learn more about marine debris in Hawaii, visit

In addition, be sure to write and speak to your elected officials and encourage them to support policies that protect our ocean, and all of our natural areas. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Laysan Albatross Return to Kaena Point

The birds are back!
Laysan Albatross have begun to arrive at Kaena Point after being out at sea for several months.

Albatross at Kaena Point, Oahu.
Photo: C. Tucker

Birds of breeding age come back to areas, including Kaena Point, at this time of year to lay eggs and raise their young.

Female albatross with egg.
Photo: C. Tucker 

For more information about the Laysan Albatross and their habits, check out... the National Audubon Society albatross page.

To learn about some of the challenges the albatross are facing, click to read the article "Bringing Home the Trash."

Friday, December 4, 2009

Like the beach? Help clean it up on Saturday December 12!

The Friends of Kaena invite you to 
Malama Kaena...

By helping with a beach clean-up

Saturday December 12 2009

Want to help? Meet at YMCA Camp Erdman  69-385 Farrington Hwy.

Come dressed to work outside in hot weather. Don't forget sunscreen and a hat!

Afterwards, join the Friends of Kaena board members for lunch, where they'll discuss plans to further malama Kaena.

The Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi)
can often be seen at the very end of Kaena Point. 

pōhinahina (vitex rotundifolia)
is one of the first plants to colonize coastal dunes, keeping the sand from blowing away. This hardy shrub bears handsome deep blue to purple blossoms that are a favorite of lei makers and growers of Hawaiian plants.
Pōhinahina is a native plant that grows at Kaena Point.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Calling all Graphic Artists, Designers, and Students!

The 2010 Hawai’i Conservation Conference is not until August, but the logo design contest deadline is December 9th!

The Hawaii Conservation Alliance is looking for a logo to represent the conference, which takes place August 4-6, 2010 at the Hawai’i Convention Center in Honolulu, HI.

It is the largest gathering of conservation professionals in Hawai'i, expected to bring in over 1,000 participants. The winning design will be showcased on conference materials, including the conference website, signs, program booklet, and souvenirs. You will also receive a cash prize of $100 and free registration to the conference and other Conservation Week events (a value of over $300).

The 2010 conference theme is "Pacific Ecosystem Management and Restoration: Applying Traditional and Western Knowledge Systems". This theme reflects the growing trend in Hawai‘i and the Pacific region of landowners, communities, natural resource agencies, and governments working together more collaboratively and utilizing different knowledge systems to better manage and restore island ecosystems.

Logo designs must be received by Wednesday, December 9, by 5:00 p.m. The winning design will be announced December 18. For logo guidelines and instructions for submitting an entry, visit the Hawaii Conservation Alliance logo contest page.

Above: Orville Baldos' design was chosen for the 2009 Conservation Conference

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Time For An Environmental Pop Quiz!

Lessons from the Environment:
Test Your Environmental Knowledge!

An environmental awareness quiz, brought to you by the National Environmental Education Foundation. This quiz covers issues that have been discussed in the media. The questions are designed to illustrate how much accurate information people are getting from television, newspapers, magazines, and other sources. Write down your answers and compare them to the correct answers below.

1. There are many different kinds of animals and plants, and they live in many different types of environments. What is the word used to describe this idea? Is it:
. Multiplicity

b. Biodiversity
c. Socio-economics
d. Evolution
e. Don't know

2. Carbon monoxide is a major contributor to air pollution in the U.S. Which of the following is the biggest source of carbon monoxide? Is it…
a. Factories and businesses

b. People breathing
c. Motor vehicles
d. Trees
e. Don't know

3. How is most of the electricity in the U.S. generated? Is it…
a. By burning oil, coal, and wood

b. With nuclear power
c. Through solar energy
d. At hydro-electric power plants
e. Don't know

4. What is the most common cause of pollution of streams, rivers, and oceans? Is it…
a. Dumping of garbage by cities

b. Surface water running off yards, city streets, paved lots, and farm fields
c. Trash washed into the ocean from beaches
d. Waste dumped by factories
e. Don't know

5. Which of the following is a renewable resource? Is it…
a. Oil

b. Iron ore
c. Trees
d. Coal
e. Don't know

6. Ozone forms a protective layer in the earth's upper atmosphere. What does ozone protect us from? Is it …
a. Acid rain

b. Global warming
c. Sudden changes in temperature
d. Harmful, cancer-causing sunlight
e. Don't know

7. Where does most of the garbage in the U.S. end up? Is it in…
a. Oceans

b. Incinerators
c. Recycling centers
d. Landfills
e. Don't know

8. What is the name of the primary federal agency that works to protect the environment? Is it the…
a. Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA)

b. Department of Health, Environment, and Safety (the DHES)
c. National Environmental Agency (the NEA)
d. Federal Pollution Control Agency (the FPCA)
e. Don't know

9. Which of the following household wastes is considered hazardous waste? Is it…
a. Plastic packaging

b. Glass
c. Batteries
d. Spoiled food
e. Don't know

10. What is the most common reason that an animal species becomes extinct? Is it because…
a. Pesticides are killing them

b. Their habitats are being destroyed by humans
c. There is too much hunting
d. There are climate changes that affect them
e. Don't know

11. Scientists have not determined the best solution for disposing of nuclear waste. In the U.S., what do we do with it now? Do we…
a. Use it as nuclear fuel

b. Sell it to other countries
c. Dump it in landfills
d. Store and monitor the waste
e. Don't know

12. What is the primary benefit of wetlands? Do they…
a. Promote flooding

b. Help clean the water before it enters lakes, streams, rivers, or oceans
c. Help keep the number of undesirable plants and animals low,
d. Provide good sites for landfills
e. Don't know

Click here to compare your responses to the responses of a random survey of Americans. Click here for a report card on Americans' environmental knowledge.

(Answers: 1. b, 2. c, 3. a, 4. b, 5. c 6. d, 7. d, 8. a, 9. c, 10. b, 11. d, 12.b)

Quiz, answers, and links from the National Environmental Education Foundation website.

Friday, November 13, 2009

How can you help Hawaii's unique and beautiful natural resources?

Here are a few ideas:

Get outdoors! Try out a new Na Ala Hele trail, visit a forest or spend some time in your neighborhood park. Appreciate what's out there, and spread your enthusiasm to others.

Before and after your hike, make sure to clean your shoes and pant legs. Seeds from invasive plants can stick to the bottoms of your shoes and pants, which can spread to native areas. Help the native forest by keeping it free of weeds!

Plant a tree! For advice about planting the right tree in the right place, visit the Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program webpage.

Plant some native vegetation. For a list of native plants, and tips for how and where to plant them, visit pages 6, 7 and 9 of the Backyard Conservation publication distributed this year on Oahu. Did you get your copy in your newspaper? If not, you can utilize this informative online resource right on your computer! While you're browsing through the booklet, learn about xeriscaping, compost, and water conservation.

Keep the environment free of litter. Make sure your trash goes into the trash can, and join beach and park clean-ups. Visit the Keep America Beautiful webpage for a list of community organizations working to keep Hawaii beautiful. If there are no clean-ups in your neighborhood or at your favorite beach, get friends and family together to start one!

Like spending time at the beach? Volunteer with the NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Ocean Count program. Each winter when the humpback whales stop off in the islands during their annual migration, volunteers post up at beaches on Oahu, Hawaii and Kauai to watch for whales, and monitor their behavior. This information is then reported back to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by location team leaders. For more details about dates, locations and registering to help, visit the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale webpage.

What else can you do to help Hawaii's environment? Leave your ideas in a comment below!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Free Resources for Teachers

Are you looking for a fun activity to teach your students about Hawaii's special plants and animals? Check out the coloring books and other resources available for educators online from Division of Forestry and Wildlife!

Click here to see the other pages to the fun and educational Endangered Animals of Hawaii coloring book available free to educators of all kinds. Simply print out the pages and have fun!

Check out the Forest Jewels of Hawaii coloring book online too. Learn about pueo (sample page above), 'i'iwi, 'amakihi and more of the unique and beautiful birds that call Hawai'i home.

Also see the Teacher Resources page to see curriculum, lesson plans, posters and other great resources for educators.

While you're on the Forestry and Wildlife kids page, explore some of the resources available from other agencies like NOAA.

Have fun and happy teaching!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

See a Snake? Don't Wait - Report a Pest!

Hawaii residents are urged to use the new pest hotline to promptly report sightings of invasive pests such as snakes, unusually aggressive stinging ants, and illegal or unknown animals.

643-PEST (7378)

Fire AntsCoqui Frog
The new Pest Hotline number, 643-PEST (7378), can be dialed from any island in the state, without dialing a “1” or an area code. This Pest Hotline is also the Amnesty Line, where people can turn in illegal animals without fear of prosecution.

The new Pest Hotline relies on a computer program to route calls to the nearest Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) office during normal business hours. On weekends or afterhours, calls are routed automatically to the HDOA office at the Honolulu International Airport, which is staffed 20 hours a day, seven days a week.

The implementation of the new number means that neighbor island callers will NOT incur toll charges as they have in the past when calling the original pest hotline, 586-PEST. The original pest hotline will continue to be operational. An existing HDOA database used to log interceptions of pests at airports and harbors has been modified to also log pest hotline reports.

For more about invasive species and pests in Hawaii, including a guide to high profile invasive species with photos, visit

Click here to watch short videos about pest species and how you can help "Stop the Silent Invasion."

Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Brown Tree snake, Miconia, Coqui frog, and Little Red Fire ant.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Native Species of the Week: Pueo

Hawaiian Short-eared Owl
Asio flammeus sandwichensis

Pueo, Kanaha Beach, Maui. 
The pueo, or Hawaiian short-eared owl, is an endemic subspecies of the nearly pandemic short-eared owl (Asio flammeus; Family: Strigidae). The species is thought to have colonized the Hawaiian Islands sometime after the arrival of Polynesians. The pueo is State listed as endangered on O‘ahu.

Unlike most owls, pueo are active during the day (i.e., diurnal), and are commonly seen hovering or soaring over open areas. Like short-eared owls in continental environments, those in Hawai‘i primarily consume small mammals. 

Pueo on fence, Waimea, Hawai'i.

Little is known about the breeding biology of pueo, but nests have been found throughout the year. Males perform aerial displays known as a "sky dancing display" to prospective females. Nests are constructed by females and are comprised of simple scrapes in the ground lined with grasses and feather down. Females also perform all incubating and brooding. Males feed females and defend nests. Young may fledge from nest on foot before they are able to fly and depend on their parents for approximately two months.


Found on all the Main Hawaiian Islands from sea level to 2,450 meters (8,000 feet).


Specifics unknown. See comment below for additional information provided by a DOFAW blog reader.


Pueo occupy a variety of habitats, including wet and dry forests, but are most common in open habitats such as grasslands, shrublands, and montane parklands, including urban areas and those actively managed for conservation. Because of a lack of historical population data and the species’ current, broad habitat use, key habitat variables are difficult to determine. Pueo occur in many areas that are managed by the Sate of Hawai‘i or Federal agencies.

Pueo in flight.
Pueo are likely susceptible to the same factors that threaten other native Hawaiian birds, including: loss and degradation of habitat, predation by introduced mammals, and disease. However, their persistence in lowland, non-native and rangeland habitats suggests that they may be less vulnerable to extinction than other native birds, especially because they may be resistant to avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum) and avian pox (Poxvirus avium).

Despite this, for pueo populations, the following are of particular concern:

  • “Sick owl syndrome.” Mortality on Kaua‘i has been attributed to this syndrome, which may be related to pesticide poisoning or food shortages.
  • Predation. Because pueo nest on the ground, their eggs and young are vulnerable to predation by rats (Rattus spp.), cats (Felis silvestris), and the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus).
  • Habitat loss may be particularly important to O‘ahu pueo populations.
  • Contaminants or toxins. Because pueo are top predators, fat-soluble contaminants may accumulate in prey species; may be related to “sick owl syndrome” (see above).
  • Human interaction. Hunting behavior and habitat use predispose pueo to vehicular collisions, which have been documented on Lāna‘i and the island of Hawai‘i.

Pueo, Kahana Beach, Maui


Pueo likely have benefited from management activities designed to conserve other endangered birds. They also may benefit from game bird management; high densities of pueo occur on lands where game birds also are common. In addition to these efforts, future management specific to the pueo may include the following:
  • Determine population trends, especially on islands where “sick owl syndrome” has been documented.
  • Public outreach and education.
  • Continued protection and management of wildlife sanctuaries and refuges.

For more info about the Hawaiian short-eared owl and other native species, visit the Hawaii Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy pueo fact sheet.

Also visit the Hawaii Ecosystems At Risk (HEAR) webpage for more info and photos.

For information about the role of pueo in Hawaiian culture, visit the Kamehameha Schools Distance Learning pueo info page. While you're there, check out the informative Hawaiian Culture Audio PowerPoint Presentations.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hawaiian Bird Conservation Milestone: 12 puaiohi released into Kauai forest

Twelve, small, dark endangered birds were released into the forest of Kaua‘i on October 13th, a milestone in the conservation of native Hawaiian birds. Through collaboration of private and government organizations, the puaiohi, or small Kaua‘i thrush (Myadestes palmeri), has been captive-bred and released annually into the forests of Kaua‘i for the last 10 years. The puaiohi is an elusive bird only found on the island of Kaua‘i, where it makes its home in the high elevation forests of the Alaka‘i Wilderness Preserve. 

Photo credit J. Kuhn/The Peregrine Fund

Prior to release, each puaiohi was banded for identification and fitted with a radio transmitter. The birds will be monitored for 30 days, the lifespan of the batteries in the transmitters, to monitor the birds’ movements and determine their survival rate.  With Tuesday’s release, there have been 188 captive-bred puaiohi released into the wild. 

“The release of captive birds is one strategy to ensure that the puaiohi does not go extinct; however, it cannot be the only strategy," said David Leonard, biologist for the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife.  “Restoration efforts also need to include long term and landscape scale control of  alien plants and non-native predators,  and we are exploring innovative and cost effective approaches to achieve these. For example, we are determining if puaiohi will use rat-proof structures for nesting.” 

Before the release of these 12 birds, staff worked to reduce the rat population near the release site. Rats are known to kill nesting puaiohi females, chicks and eggs. Other non-native species, including pigs, deer and goats in the reserve impact the birds’ habitat and mosquitoes carry avian malaria and avian pox. 

In 1994, it was estimated that 200 puaiohi survived in the wild. The extremely low numbers of puaiohi prompted a collaboration of researchers and scientists from DLNR's Division of Forestry and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Geological Survey Biological Resources Division and the San Diego Zoo

To help the species recover, in 1996 eggs were taken from the Preserve to the San Diego Zoo’s Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, where they could be raised in a protected environment.
“While we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary of rearing and releasing the endangered puaiohi, we know there is still a long way to go before this species can be declared ‘recovered,’” said Alan Lieberman, director of field programs for the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research. “We are proud of our 17 years of restoring the population of Hawaiian forest birds and are committed to the ongoing stewardship of the puaiohi’s forest habitat.” 

Using state and federal funds, DOFAW established the Kaua‘i Endangered Forest Bird Recovery Project.  This team of biologists collects information on the puaiohi that informs management actions, assists in the release of captive birds, and tracks newly released birds to document their movement and survival. 

Because the puaiohi is federally listed as an endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides financial support and scientific collaboration to the State of Hawaii to support the recovery effort.
“We congratulate our partners for reaching this 10-year milestone in successfully reintroducing endangered puaiohi into the wild,” said Loyal Mehrhoff, field supervisor for the Service’s Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office.  “Captive propagation is labor-intensive and expensive, but well worth the effort when it contributes toward the recovery of a species.” 

At least 21 species of Hawai‘i’s endemic forest birds have become extinct, another 26 species are facing extinction, and most, including the puaiohi, are dependent on intensive conservation measures. The Zoo’s Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program (HEBCP) manages the state-of-the-art Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation centers, which work with avian species that are dependent on captive propagation for recovery and survival.
The San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research is dedicated to generating, sharing and applying scientific knowledge vital to the conservation of animals, plants and habitats worldwide.  The work of the Institute includes onsite research efforts at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, laboratory work at the Beckman Center for Conservation Research, and international field programs involving more than 180 researchers working in 35 countries.  

In addition to the Beckman Center, the Institute also operates the Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Botanical Conservation Center, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaiian Bird Conservation Centers and the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center. The Zoo also manages the 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, which includes a 900-acre native species reserve, and the San Diego Zoo.  The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego. 

To learn more about the puaiohi, visit the Audubon Watchlist - Puaiohi page, the DOFAW Education page, and the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy puaiohi fact sheet

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 24th - International Day of Climate Action

350 - The Most Important Number on the Planet?

"Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. To Learn more about 350, visit"

From the website: "On October 24th, (the International Day of Climate Change) we need you to organize an action in the place where you live, something that will make that most important number visible to everyone. People in more than 1000 communities and 100 nations around the globe have already announced plans— school children planting 350 trees in Bangledesh, scientists hanging banners saying 350 on the statues on Easter Island, 350 scuba divers diving underwater at the Great Barrier Reef...  At each event, people will gather for a big group photo that somehow depicts 350--and upload that photo to the web  As thousands of simultaneous actions take place around the world, we'll link all the pictures together electronically via the web--by the end of the day, we'll have a powerful visual petition linking together the entire planet that we can deliver to the media and world leaders."

Students at Kawainui Marsh in 2008.

Click here to see a map of "350" Actions in Hawaii. Currently there are TWENTY-THREE actions planned in the Hawaiian Islands. Find one near you!

The Kailua 350 event will be one of over 2,000 simultaneous events across the globe - Students are encouraged to meet at Kawainui Marsh on Saturday, where they will form the numbers 350 by standing together in the marsh (knee deep in water) wearing red or pink T-shirts for a photo opportunity. Organizers are looking for as many participants as possible: the more people that stand together, the greater the impact! Wouldn't it be great to have three hundred and fifty people making the numbers 350??

          The site within Kawainui marsh is called Na Pohaku o Hauwahine, and is about a mile in from the Pali/Kapa'a Road intersection. Students are asked to meet there at 9:00am to assemble for the photo shoot at 10:00am. For more about what to wear and what to bring, contact: Contact Chuck "Doc" Burrows ( to register for this important event. Read the press release here.

From the website: "Involve groups that you’re in—everything from your church, mosque or synagogue to your local bicycle group. People want to help, especially if they see the chance for something that might actually matter. This is even more important than changing your lightbulb—this is your chance to help change the way the whole world operates. October 24 comes six weeks before those crucial UN meetings in Copenhagen. It’s a great chance to take a stand—maybe the last great chance, given what the scientists tell us about the momentum of global warming.

Another 350 photo idea.

But it can only happen with the help of a global movement—and it's starting to bubble up everywhere. Farmers in Cameroon, students in China, even World Cup skiers have already helped spread the word about 350. Churches have rung their bells 350 times; Buddhist monks have formed a huge 350 with their bodies against the backdrop of Himalayas. 350 translates across every boundary of language and culture. It's clear and direct, cutting through the static and laying down a firm scientific line.

Kayakers in Portland Oregon.

This is like a final exam for human beings. Can we muster the courage, the commitment, and the creativity to set this earth on a steady course before it's too late? October 24 will be the joyful, powerful day when we prove it's possible." -

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Na Ala Hele Trail and Access System - "Trails To Go On"

Looking for trail information and hiking tips? Check out the Na Ala Hele Trail and Access System website for all the info you'll need to plan an enjoyable and safe hiking experience.

Manoa Falls trail, Oahu

Na Ala Hele provides information about trials and access on all of the major islands, including a basic location map, trail length, difficulty, warnings and trail advisories. Some Na Ala Hele trails even have signs along the way that will tell you about the area or plants nearby.

Interpretive signs have been added to some Na Ala Hele trails.

Want to go on a beginner level adventure on Maui? Try the Keanae Arboretum Walk
How about something a little more difficult on Kauai. Why not check out the Waimea Canyon Trail
Want to find an easy trail where you can see native plants on Big Island? The Puu Huluhulu trail may be the one you're looking for.

When planning your next hiking trip, visit the Na Ala Hele website to find additional info and resources. As always, when you're planning on spending time in unfamiliar places, make sure you are prepared and informed: heed any and all warnings posted on the Na Ala Hele website as well as at the trailhead of your intended hiking location. 

Be smart, do your research, be prepared, and have fun!

Friday, October 9, 2009

4th Annual "Run for the Dry Forest" trail run at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a

It's back!  Mark your calendars for the 4th Annual "Run for the Dry Forest" trail run at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a on Saturday, October 24th.  This is a great opportunity to experience the dry forest while  burning some calories on a 5K or 10K trail run. The Run for the Dry Forest supports conservation and preservation of dry forests in Hawai`i. 

Pu`u Wa`awa`a contains some of the few remaining patches of dry forest, and was once the most diverse forest in Hawai`i. Eight endangered birds and at least thirty species of endangered plants are known from Pu`u Wa`awa`a, some of which are found in few or no other locations.

This year’s featured plant is the Lama tree, a member of the Persimmon family. Lama, elama in Hawaiian, have pale green leaves with reddish new growth and edible berries. They were once the dominant tree in the lowlands of the North Kona and South Kohala districts. Today, much Lama have been wiped out by fire and feral and domestic livestock. 

There will be great door prizes, race t-shirts for finishers, hand-made medals, plant giveaways, educational displays and a 1/4 mile Keiki Fun Run. 

Click to see the course map and entry form at PATH (People's Advocacy for Trails Hawaii). You'll find them on the right-hand side of the page. 

 You can also register online at: Contact race director Lyman Perry if you have any questions:  938-7795 or

See you on the trail!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

No Child Left Inside Day - Tuesday October 13th

By now, many educators have heard about the No Child Left Inside Act, but what about No Child Left Inside Day?

Now in it's 2nd year, No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Day was created by the American Geological Institute as part of its annual Earth Science Week. Earth Science week celebrates the geosciences, and NCLI Day was created to promote Earth Science Education.

For ideas about how to celebrate NCLI Day, visit the No Child Left Inside Day webpage. Here you'll find tips for organizing an effective and safe event for your class or for your family. Examples of lessons and activities include: "Look up! Observing Weather," "Be a Paleontologist!" and "Dig into Soil."

For a less structured NCLI day, simply take a walk to your neighborhood park, or spend some time looking closely at a patch of soil. Lay in a field and look at the clouds, or go for a hike. Spend a little bit of extra time enjoying the outdoors, and you never know, you may end up celebrating No Child Left Inside Day everyday!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hawai'i Science Teachers Association Fall Conference

DOFAW outreach staff attended the HaSTA Fall conference on October 3rd, 2009 to share information and resources with teachers.

Science teachers met at Punahou School to network with other educators, explore new classroom ideas, collect resources and participate in workshops. DOFAW provided posters, teacher guides, coloring books, backyard conservation guides, and more. (Click on links for info)

The Hawai'i Science Teachers Association Fall conference featured Tony Wagner, education expert and author of The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach The New Survival Skills Our Children Need--And What We Can Do About It, as the keynote speaker.

After the Science Teacher's conference, OCEANIA Marine Educators Association (which also serves as the HaSTA Marine Science Section) met for their Marine Education Fall Conference

As if the day was not full enough already, many teachers and marine educators headed down to the Educator's Evening from 6:30-9 at the Waikiki Aquarium to learn about the NOAA Ocean Explorers Program, and other marine education resources.

It was a fun and productive day for all who participated. Thanks to all the teachers who stopped by the DOFAW booth to ask questions, stock up on posters and share resource ideas!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Children and Youth Day 2009

Join DOFAW and other agencies, non-profits, and youth-focused groups on the State Capital grounds on October 4th for a full free day of fun, activities, music, food, and more! 

Time: 10am-3pm
Location: Hawaii State Capital Building, Honolulu, HI
Details: See website links below

"2009 marks the 16th annual Children & Youth Day and promises to be as exciting as past years. This is a one-day free event of fun games, educational experiences, hands-on activities, entertainment and surprising adventures for Hawaii’s children and youth and the young at heart - great fun for the whole family!
Good Beginnings Alliance is the fiscal sponsor for Children & Youth Day. The event kicks off a month long celebration of children and youth that involves over 2,300 volunteers and is a remarkable example of collaboration pulling together all segments of the community. The purpose of Children & Youth Day is to educate children, youth, parents and other family members about the issues facing Hawaii’s children. This event offers learning opportunities around creating stable, healthy, and safe environments in which children can succeed." - Good Beginnings Alliance website

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hawai'i Natural Area Reserves System

Hawai`i contains unique natural resources, such as geological and volcanological features and distinctive marine and terrestrial plants and animals, many of which occur nowhere else in the world. These resources are highly vulnerable to loss by the growth of population and technology.

Ka'ena Point, Oahu 

In 1970, the Hawai`i State Legislature expressed the need to protect and preserve these unique natural assets, both for the enjoyment of future generations, and to provide base lines against which changes which are being made in the environments of Hawai`i can be measured.

 Mt. Ka'ala, Oahu

 To accomplish these purposes, the legislature decided that the present system of preserves, sanctuaries and refuges must be strengthened, and additional areas of land and shoreline suitable for preservation should be set aside and administered solely and specifically for the aforesaid purposes.

'Āhihi kīna'u NAR, Maui 

Thus, the statewide Natural Area Reserves System (NARS) was established to preserve in perpetuity specific land and water areas which support communities, as relatively unmodified as possible, of the natural flora and fauna, as well as geological sites, of Hawai`i.

Hono O Na Pali NAR, Kauai

The system presently consists of 19 reserves on five islands, encompassing more than 109,000 acres of the State's most unique ecosystems. The diverse areas found in the NARS range from marine and coastal environments to lava flows, tropical rainforests, and even an alpine desert. Within these areas one can find rare endemic plants and animals, many of which are on the edge of extinction. The reserves also protect some of the major watershed areas which provide our vital sources of fresh water.

 Mauna Kea Ice Age NAR, Hawai'i Island

The Natural Area Reserves System is administered by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife. Currently, management teams are working to control the encroachment of non-native plants and animals which threaten the existence of the natural biota on the reserves.

To learn more about the NARS, visit:

All photos: DOFAW

Monday, September 28, 2009

"These Come From Trees" Stickers - free for schools

These Come From Trees Sticker 


The 'These Come From Trees' Education Challenge

A little more than a year ago, an enterprising student from Aragon High School up here in the Bay Area sent an email to us asking if we could provide him with complimentary stickers, as his school might not have the budget to buy stickers (and he, as a student, might not be able to navigate the ins-and-outs of purchasing via the school).

We thought it was a great idea, and not only did we set him up, but we opened up the offer more broadly to any K-12 organization interested. We call it the These Come From Trees Education Challenge.

All we ask is that the interested participant:
  • Figure out how many stickers they need for their school (How many paper towel dispensers in how many bathrooms? How many photocopiers?)
  • Make sure that they get permission from their principal or facilities administrator.
  • Submit your information using this web form to get the ball rolling!
Since then, we've had hundreds of schools reach out to us to take advantage of this challenge. With great success, with reports of up 30% reduction in paper towel usage!"

The idea of "education" is a big piece of These Come From Trees. That is to say, at the end of the day, the individual stickers themselves are a quick, polite piece of instruction that help us all say "Oh, yeah, that's right. How much of these do I really need?" So it only makes sense that 'These Come From Trees' stickers and schools would make a great team!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Earth Science Week

A weeklong event sponsored by the American Geological Institute, Earth Science Week is October 11-17, 2009.

The purpose of this weeklong celebration is to "encourage people everywhere to explore the natural world and learn about the geosciences. 'Understanding Climate,' the theme of Earth Science Week 2009, will promote scientific understanding of a timely, vital topic: Earth’s climate."

Throughout the week, NASA, the National Park Service, US Geological Survey and other geoscience groups will be releasing educational videos, holding webcasts, providing materials to teachers, and keeping interactive websites updated to promote understanding of our earth.

Visit for more information about how to get involved!