Friday, July 31, 2009

New Plant Extinction Prevention (PEP) Poster

In order to promote understanding of rare, threatened and endangered plants in Hawaii, DOFAW outreach staff recently created a rare plant poster for the Plant Extinction Prevention (PEP) Program.

The Plant Extinction Prevention (PEP) Program’s mission is to protect Hawaii’s rarest native plants from extinction. PEP is committed to reverse the trend toward extinction by managing wild plants, collecting seeds and establishing new populations. PEP focuses on species that have fewer than 50 plants remaining, collaborating with conservation partners who have a shared interest in preserving Hawaii’s unique biodiversity.

If you'd like a copy of the poster, please leave a comment below. Supplies are limited.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Native Species of the Week - Hawaiian Stilt; Ae'o

Hawaiian name: Āe'o
English name: Hawaiian Stilt
Scientific name: Himantopus mexicanus knudseni

A stilt with a chick.
Photo: DOFAW

The Hawaiian Stilt is an endangered and endemic bird that lives in Hawaii. In fact, it lives only in Hawaii. Species endemic to Hawai'i are found nowhere else on earth. This is their only home.
What a great reason to protect these special plants and animals!
The Hawaiian stilt is a subspecies of the Black-necked Stilt of the Americas. But the two birds look almost identical. Here is the Hawaiian Stilt:

Himantopus mexicanus knudseni
Photo: C. Tucker

And here is the Black-Necked Stilt:

Himantopus himantopus mexicanus
Photo: DOFAW 

The stilt is a waterbird that enjoys hanging around wetlands like marshes and ponds. Stilts have loooong pink legs.
In fact, they have the second-longest legs in proportion to their bodies of any bird, exceeded only by flamingos. They prefer water that is shallow, under 24 cm or 9 in. deep. It likes to keep its body out of the water and dip down and pick little critters out of the mud.

Hawaiian Stilt dipping into the mud for a snack.
Photo: C. Tucker

The stilt is black and white, and has a long thin beak, perfect for pinching the worms, fish, crustaceans and insects that it loves to eat. The stilt moves between two different habitats each day, one is for foraging and eating, the other is for breeding and nesting.

To find out more about the Āe'o, visit the bird's fact sheet on the Hawaii Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy webpage.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The 7th Annual Ulupo Heiau Hoike Festival

On Saturday, July 11th 2009, Division of Forestry and Wildlife outreach staff participated in the 7th Annual Ulupo Heiau Hoike Festival.

In the morning, before the event began.

The heiau in the foreground; it is one of the largest on Oahu.

This heiau is on the way to Kailua, above Kawainui marsh, an area managed by DOFAW.

The arrival of the hula halau.

The ceremony and protocol for beginning the day and celebrating this heiau.

All around the grounds there were places to learn how to pound poi, make kapa cloth and paint it using traditional techniques, learn about native plants and their uses, and many more educational opportunities. 

They even had an imu, where they roast pig underground to make Kalua pork.

Working on the imu.

Festival participants could learn how to make a ti leaf lei, and also how to string a flower lei from an auntie named Ethel. She tried to teach me how to make a rose out of a ti leaf too, but after a few attempts, she just gave me one of the six that she made while I was struggling and told me (while laughing) to "go home and practice."

Crown flower and bouganvillia lei and ti leaf lei.

 These are the gourds that are dried and carved to make Ipu, an instrument used in hula. These range in size from a little over a foot tall to the size of a big pear. The brown ones are already hollow and hard, the white and green ones are fresher...

The keiki performed a hula (with a little help)

It was definitely a successful day with lots of visitors, delicious food, fun crafts, educational booths and lovely music and beautiful dance.

All photos: C. Tucker