Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Announcing 2010 Project Learning Tree Environmental Education workshops on Oahu and Maui!

Announcing 2010 Project Learning Tree Environmental Education workshops on Oahu and Maui!

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary Environmental Education program. These FREE professional development opportunities will provide educators with the chance to meet and share ideas with other teachers and participate in interactive lessons while learning how to use the PLT activity guide.

Maui educators participating in the PLT activity "Tree Factory"

Oahu PLT Workshop
Location: Hawaii Nature Center
Date: February 20th 2010
Time: 9-3:30pm
Details: Join us at the Hawaii Nature Center in Makiki to learn how the Project Learning Tree (PLT) curriculum can be integrated into 7th and 8th grade science classrooms. We will be offering PDE credits through the Department of Education to DOE teachers of 7th and 8th grade science that complete additional requirements. If this is of interest to you, please ask for more details prior to registering.
Educators of other grades and subjects are encouraged to attend, and may adapt materials for their own use. Lunch will be provided by Whole Foods Honolulu, and participants will receive the PLT activity guide with 96 interactive lessons as well as other educational resources.
For more information, visit

Maui PLT Workshop
Location: Hawaii Nature Center in Iao Valley
Date: March 20th 2010
Time: 9-3:30pm
Details: Meet at the beautiful Hawaii Nature Center in Iao Valley and learn how to use the Project Learning Tree (PLT) Activity Guide with your students. This interactive workshop will demonstrate several hands-on activities from PLT as well as Ohia Project and Hoike o Haleakala - two valuable Hawaii-specific environmental education resources. Lunch and snacks will be provided, and participants will receive free educational resources in addition to the PLT Activity Guide which contains 96 interactive lesson plans.

The Project Learning Tree (PLT) Pre K-8 Guide

Kauai and Hawaii Island PLT Workshops
Details to be determined. If you are interested in attending a workshop on Kauai or Hawaii Island in 2010, please ask for more info!

For more information about the workshops and to register, visit

For more about Project Learning Tree, visit

PLT workshops in Hawaii are sponsored by the Department of Land and Natural Resources - Division of Forestry and Wildlife, in cooperation with Hawaii Nature Center, the US Forest Service, the American Forest Foundation and other partners.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Celebrate World Wetlands Day - Saturday February 6th 2010

You are invited to a World Wetlands Day celebration 
in Kailua, Oahu on Saturday, February 6th 2010!

This event is free and open to the public, and this year, the festivities will take place in the covered parking structure at the Kailua Long's Drugstore. The day will begin at 8:30 am with pule and continue until 2:00pm.

Take a free guided tour of the Kawainui and Hamakua Marsh complex, browse interactive exhibits in the covered parking structure, listen to music by Hawaii Loa, or take a stroll through the marsh and experience the natural beauty of the wetlands right near Kailua town!

Several federally-listed endangered bird species live in Kawainui and Hamakua marshes.
While visiting, keep an eye out for the Hawaiian stilt; ae'o (pictured above), Hawaiian moorhen; 'alae 'ula
(a black bird with a red shield above its beak), and Hawaiian coot; 'alae ke'oke'o (a black bird with a white shield and beak). Click the above links for more info and photos.

Did you know that Kawainui Marsh was designated a "Ramsar Wetland of International Importance" in 2005? To read more about what this means, visit the Ramsar webpage here.

Hope to see you in Kailua on Saturday, February 6th!

Monday, January 25, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 4th week in January - Potter's Angelfish

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 4th week in January:
Potter's angelfish (Centropyge potteri), a native reef dweller, spawns this week - the week before the full moon. Its reproductive behavior is tied not only to the moon phase but also to the season and time of day, in a complex pattern that appears to increase the odds that its larvae will survive. Spawning occurs over high reef areas at dusk, when the lunar pull creates tides likely to carry larvae offshore, away from potential predators resting in the lower reef. At this time of year, larvae subsequently will be picked up by northwesterly ocean currents and swept along the archipelago, improving the chances that juveniles eventually will be redeposited on a Hawaiian reef.

Potter's angelfish is among the most common inhabitants of island reefs. It grows to a maximum length of five inches, and like other fish that have little or no value as food, it lacks a Hawaiian name. Today, however, this shy algae-eater has gained popularity as an aquarium fish, ranking third in commercial trade in Hawaii.

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

Monday, January 18, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 3rd week in January - aku

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 3rd Week in January:
In Hawaiian tradition, a major fishing kapu was reversed at about this time, as the Makahiki season came to a close. Catching aku (Katsuwonus pelamis) was now permitted, and taking of another important fish, the 'opelu (mackerel  scad), was prohibited. This kapu served to protect the two fish, helping ensure ample supplies in years to come. Present regulations place no seasonal restrictions on aku and 'opelu fishing, but the largest catches are still made during the months allowed by the old kapu

Also called skipjack tuna or ocean bonito, aku move in big schools and will bite on almost anything during their daily feeding frenzies. Hawaiian fishing fleets of outrigger or double-hulled canoes exploited this trait the same way local sampans do today. Locating feeding schools by the seabirds that follow them, Hawaiian fishermen attracted aku with live nehu, the silvery native anchovy, then used mother-of-pearl lures to land fish in rapid succession. A Hawaiian warning against greedy behavior says "The aku rush to eat."   

Click here to learn more about aku from the website.

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

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 2nd week in January - 'apapane

What's Happening in Hawaii 
during the 2nd Week in January:

Photo: DOFAW

(Himatione sanguinea) are beginning to mate and nest in high, native forests throughout the islands. The ‘apapane is a small, crimson, primarily nectarivorous (nectar-eating) Hawaiian honeycreeper (Family: Fringillidae) and is an important ‘ōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha) pollinator. ‘Apapane are the most abundant and widely distributed Hawaiian honeycreeper, and are often seen flying above the canopy in search of patches of flowering ‘ōhi‘a. 'Apapane often choose upper branches of these trees as nesting sites. Their crimson plumage was sometimes used in Hawaiian featherwork.


'Apapane have an exceptionally wide repertoire of calls and sing almost all day during the breeding season, which for some pairs lasts as late as June. Courtship entails a lot of chasing on the part of the male 'apapane, both of his mate and of potential rivals, but everything settles down once nesting begins. The male keeps watch and sings from favored perches in nearby trees, while the female lays and warms the egg.

To learn more, visit the 'apapane page on the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) website.

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

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Hawaii Story Project Writing Contest Now Open for Submissions

The following information comes from the Hawaii Conservation Alliance webpage:

For the past three years the My Hawai'i Story Project, a middle school environmental writing contest, has touched the lives of nearly 2,000 students throughout the state. The 25 poems, essays, and stories published in each year's anthology engage the reader with inspiring, thoughtful, and diverse narratives.   

Now entering its fourth year, this unique statewide outreach program has provided students the opportunity to develop their writing skills while also fostering environmental literacy in those who will be responsible for the future stewardship of these islands.

"My Hawai'i is a perfect venue for students to express their knowledge and pride in their homeland, the aina..."
"...Students write with an awareness and truth that paints vivid pictures in the minds of readers..."
"...As a teacher, I am thrilled to be able to provide a real life writing situation that interests my students."  -Marcia Huber, English Teacher Grades 7 & 8, Le Jardin Academy

Deadline for entries: March 11, 5 PM
Winners will be announced May 3

For more information about the 2010 My Hawai'i Story Project, including the online entry form and guidelines, please check out the My Hawai'i page on the Hawaii Conservation Alliance website.

This writing contest is sponsored by the Hawai'i Conservation Alliance and the Pacific Writers' Connection."

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Blue Oceans Day" at the Hawaii State Capital, January 13th, 2010

You are invited to come to the Hawaii State Capital building on January 13th for "Blue Oceans Day,” 11am-3pm on the 4th floor lanai.

Show your support for stronger federal protection of ocean, coast, estuary and Great Lake ecosystems by participating in Blue Oceans Day any way you can.

January 13th at the state capital, there will be door prizes, an "open-mic" for video messages to the president, and informational displays from organizations including: Conservation Council for Hawaii, Eyes on the Reef, Hanalei Watershed Hui, Hawaii Community Stewardship Network E Alu Pu, KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance, Lost Fish Coalition, Marine Conservation Biology Institute, Makai Watch, Malama Hanalei, Malama Haena, Malama Maunalua, Malama Waikiki, NOAA Coral Reefs and Fisheries Local Action Strategy, NOAA Protected Species, Reef Check, Sea Grant, and Surfrider Foundation.

This event is scheduled only weeks before the White House Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force delivers its final recommendations to President Obama.

Participants are encouraged to wear blue shirts and to gather
on the capital 4th floor lanai at noon for a group photo to send to President Obama with the message "Malama Our Oceans!" The first 200 people to arrive at the capital will receive free blue shirts featuring cartoon characters Finley and Clawdia the Crab from Jim Toomey's nationally syndicated cartoon strip, "Sherman's Lagoon."

Finley and Clawdia the Crab from "Sherman's Lagoon" by Jim Toomey

Event organizers suggest other ways to get involved on January 13th:
  • Go to school or work in blue (like the Coast Guard) and explain to classmates or co-workers why you are wearing blue on January 13th.
  •  Videotape yourself and your friends in blue, post it and send it to
  • Talk about wearing blue to Oprah, Ellen, Ed Begley, Laird Hamilton and Jack Johnson. 
  • Spread the word through twitter, blogs, facebook, emails, action alerts, newsletters, and YouTube.
  • Can you think of other ways you can show your support for our oceans?
For more about the national effort, visit the "Wear Blue For Oceans" website here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 1st week in January - Koli'i

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 1st week in January

Koli'i (Trematolobelia macrostachys) is coming into bloom on all the islands. For most of its life, this native lobelia carries a single tuft of leaves at the top of its long, slender stem. When it reaches maturity, which may take as long as a decade, a plant puts forth an extraordinary burst of flowers, then drops all its leaves as fruit forms.

Each koli'i blossoms only once before dying, but protects an distributes its seed in a remarkable way to ensure reproduction. After a koli'i fruit has ripened, the moisture of the rainforest will rot away its fleshy skin, leaving a woody pod with many holes. Inside, waterproof sacs prevent the seeds from rotting as well. When dry weather comes in, these sacs split open and the pod works like a salt shaker, strewing seeds with every gust of wind.

To learn more, visit the Hawaii Ecosystems At Risk ( koli'i info page.

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