Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Teacher's Guide to Navigating Change - Updated Curriculum available now!

The NEW Teacher's Guide to Navigating Change- a standards based, grade 4-5 curriculum is now available!

Visit: www.hawaiianatolls.org/teachers/NavChange.php to download the entire curriculum.

The Teacher's Guide to Navigating Change is a five part, Hawaii DOE Standards (HCPS 3) aligned curriculum for grades 4-5. The guide includes five units that are designed to help students explore their relationships to the environment and ways that they can “navigate change” in their own communities.

The instructional activities focus on Hawaii DOE science, social studies, and language arts standards as well as Na Honua Mauli Ola, guidelines for culturally healthy and responsive learning environments in Hawaii that were develoed by the Native Hawaiian Education Council in partnership with the Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani, College of Hawaiian Language, UH-Hilo.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Environmental Education Events

Check out these upcoming environmentally themed events!

Remember, April is Earth month...

April 10th 2010: Waikiki Aquarium "Mauka to Makai" Earth Day Festival. Visit the Waikiki Aquarium for free on Saturday April 10th.

April 10th 2010: Kailua Earth Day Celebration.

April 18th 2010: Earth Day at the Honolulu Zoo.

April 22nd 2010: University of Hawaii Manoa Sustainability Festival.

April 23rd and 24th 2010: Kokua Festival at the Waikiki Shell.

April 24th 2010: Bishop Museum "Grow Hawaiian" Festival.

Do you know of an EE event taking place in the near future? Leave a comment to share the info with others!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour 2010

Are you celebrating Earth Hour this year?

"In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world’s largest global climate change initiative."

At 8:30 PM tonight, people in over 125 countries, and many famous landmarks around the world (including the Eiffel tower, the Golden Gate bridge and the Empire State building) will be turning off their lights. 

Visit www.earthhour.org for more information!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Project Aloha ‘Aina Curriculum Workshop

Educators who are looking for creative ways to inspire Hawaii’s youth to excel in science, math, social studies and language arts standards and to care for resources within their ahupua‘a are invited to participate in the Project Aloha ‘Aina Curriculum Workshop.

The hands-on workshop is offered on the following dates:
Kaneohe, Oahu: July 17 - Workshop for teachers of grades 3-8
Hilo, Big Island: August 13-14 - Workshop for teachers of grades 3-6

The workshop will include a teacher’s guide that offers standards-based lesson plans, student activity sheets, rubrics, related media, pre-post tests designed to help measure student achievement of standards, a half-day field excursion and lunch.

The Aloha ‘Aina curriculum allows students to learn about Hawaii’s unique environment while meeting the current Hawai‘i Content and Performance Standards (HCPS III) and the Na Honua Mauli Ola guidelines.

Each grade level’s unit builds upon a foundation of culture and place-based learning while immersing students in scientific inquiry and related social studies explorations. Math and language arts skills are incorporated as a means for students to interpret and express their findings.

Shaping the future while preserving a heritage, Project Aloha ‘Aina is working to provide Hawaii’s youth with culturally relevant curricula to inspire them to embrace aloha ‘aina as a way of life. This educational project fosters foundational learning experiences that reflect Native Hawaiian culture and core values.

The Aloha ‘Aina and Kahea Loko (Hawaiian fishpond) curriculum were created by the Pacific American Foundation whose success was recognized in 2007 when it was awarded the “Partner in Excellence Award” from the Department of Education.

To register, go to http://www.thepaf.org/. For more information, contact Joylynn Paman at joy@mauifishpond.com or call 808-359-1172.

A virtual field trip to Kaena Point, Oahu

If you've never been to Kaena Point, this post will be a great way to get to know the area a bit, and maybe inspire you to make the trip out to the Northwestern tip of Oahu someday!

Sometimes you can see huge waves along the shoreline, especially in the winter months.

Have you ever wondered what an albatross bolus is, or what a dancing albatross looks like? See below for answers to both of these strange questions!

A bolus (see photo at left) is the regurgitated mass composed of undigestable items. Recently, rather than squid beaks and other natural food items, plastic has made up a large portion of the contents of many albatross boluses, reflecting the growing problem of plastics in the marine environment.
Photo (left) by Forest and Kim Starr.

See video below to see a dancing Laysan Albatross!

The hike to Kaena Point is relatively flat, with no noticable elevation gain. The road is bumpy and there are many potholes created by 4 wheel drive vehicles. The hike is 6 miles, roundtrip, and the area is usually hot and dry. Be prepared and bring plenty of water, a hat, sunscreen, and wear good walking shoes.  You'll begin your hike in the Kaena Point State Park area. make sure to pay attention to posted signs and warnings. 

You may run into the Kaena Point Ambassedor along the way, in which case you can feel free to ask any questions you may have, and learn a bit more about the area and what makes it so special.
Above: A group of middle-schoolers engaged in a cultural lesson shared by the Kaena Point Ambassedor.

The Natural Area Reserve boundary is marked with a boulder barracade that prevents any vehicle traffic from going any further. Once you make your way through the "gate," depending on the time of year, you may begin to see Laysan albatross flying overhead. 

Remember to stay on the path and you'll be rewarded with the sight of many native plants that thrive in the Kaena Point coastal ecosystem. 

Naupaka kahakai - "Naupaka by the sea":

'Ohai (Sesbania tomentosa):

Pa'u o Hi'iaka (Jacquemontia ovalifolia):

Once you reach the point, look out toward the tidepools and the edge of the water and you may see monk seals resting on the shore. They can be hard to see at first:

 Can you see the seals in the above photo?

A closer photo of two monk seals at the point.

Make sure to give the seals some room and stay at least 100 feet away from them. A great way to see them closer is to remember to bring a pair of binoculars. Or just use the zoom function on your camera.

Depending on the time of year, you may see adult Laysan albatross:

Or maybe even a newly hatched Laysan albatross chick:

For more information about hiking to Kaena Point, or about the plants and animals that call it home, click here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Sounds of Hawaii" Online Resource

You may know what a Hawaiian coot looks like...

But have you ever heard what a Hawaiian coot sounds like?

You may have seen a pueo sitting on a fence post or cruising around over head, but have you ever heard it's call?

Are you curious about what kind of noise a Hawaiian monk seal makes?

Stop the website SoundsHawaiian.com where you can listen to dozens of Hawaiian bird, mammal and even insect sounds - for free!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Volunteer Opportunities

This page will be updated as volunteer opportunity info becomes available. Stay tuned!

On Oahu:

Makiki Watershed Awareness Initiative needs volunteers to help clean up and care for Makiki stream.
When: Every last Saturday of the month from 9am to 2pm.
Join the Oahu Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Program and Hawaii Nature Center in removing invasive plants, building trails and bridges, planting native plants and working as a team to improve Makiki Valley. Click here for more info.
Help keep Ka'ena beautiful!
Ka'ena State Park
Groups: Friends of Ka'ena
Activities: Volunteer activities such as trash cleanups, vegetation restoration, cultural site protection, interpretation, and education. 
Contact: Josh Heimowitz, (808) 637-4615, friends@friendsofkaena.org
Care for Kawai Nui marsh!
Location: Na Pohaku, Kawai Nui State Park Reserve
Groups: ‘Ahahui Malama I Ka Lokahi
Activities: Workdays for site maintenance, tours, educational groups, restoration of the cultural landscape.
Contact: Chuck Burrows, (808) 595-3922, chuckb@hawaii.rr.com

If you know of other volunteer opportunities, we'd love to hear about them. Leave a comment below!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This Week in Nature - The 3rd week in March - Malolo

What's Happening in Hawaii
During the 3rd Week in March:

Swarms of mālolo, the flying fish, (Cypselurus sp.) appear in March and can be found as late as June. Hawaiians described it as ka i'a lele me he manu, "the fish that flies like a bird," though it actually skims the surface, keeping its fins still rather than flapping them like wings. Often netted at night, mālolo were also called ka i'a ho'āla i ka pō, wai lama i ke ahi, "the fish that wakes people up at night and causes a glowing of torches over the water."

People are not the only ones who find mālolo tasty. Along with squid, mālolo rank among the most important foods of seabirds, and are favorites of the mahimahi, or dolphinfish. Beautifully colored and very fast, mahimahi swim just below the surface, following the mālolo. It is no coincidence that catches of both these fish reach their peak at this time of year.

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

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hawaii Nature Center in the news!

Today, Hawaii Nature Center was featured in an article for the Honolulu Advertiser. Click here to read "Help Your Children Enjoy the Outdoors".

Tips from Nature Center staff for spending more quality time outdoors include:

- Help develop your child's inherent sense of wonder and awe for nature by setting the stage for discovery. Explore nature in your own backyard. Take your child on a bug hunt and see how many different kinds of creepy crawlies you can find.

- Do nature crafts with your children. For example, do leaf rubbings in a nature notebook or collect decomposing plant materials to build a terrarium.

- Create a home garden. Get in the soil. If you don't have space for a garden, plant seeds in small pots and have your children care for them. Caring for a plant and watching it grow from a seed is exciting for kids.

Check out the link above to read the whole article and for other resources for encouraging kids to spend more time outside and the benefits of engaging in outside activities. 
And remember: the benefits aren't just for kids. Spend a little extra time outside yourself, and you'll be feeling the benefits as well!
Also see: "Why Kids Need a Big Dose of Nature" - A US News and World Report article.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The 2010 Endangered Species Art Contest: Enter Now!

There is still time to enter the 2010 Endangered Species Art Contest!

The nationwide Endangered Species Day Art contest provides students with an opportunity to learn about endangered species and express their knowledge and support through artwork.

The deadline for submissions is March 26th, so submit your endangered species artwork soon!

See below for link to guidelines and rules...

This art contest is open to students in grades K through 12. Judging will take place in four categories, K-Grade 2, Grades 3-6, Grades 7-9, Grades 10-12, with one national winner being chosen from the semi-finalists in these four categories.

Endangered Species Day is a celebration of our nation’s wildlife and wild places, and was started in 2006 by the United States Congress. The annual art contest is an integral part of the fifth annual national Endangered Species Day, May 21, 2010.

The contest’s winner will be honored with their name engraved on a special trophy designed by a gifted young artist, Meredith Graf of New Orleans, LA and will also be recognized at a reception in Washington, D.C. in May, 2010.

Visit stopextinction.org/esd/194-esd-art.html for contest guidelines and to see the art that won in past years.

The contest is organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Endangered Species Coalition, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art/ University of New Orleans.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

National Wildlife Week - March 15-21, 2010


Celebrate National Wildlife Week 
March 15-21, 2010 
Get Wild, Child!

See below for ideas from the National Wildlife Federation for how to celebrate an entire week dedicated to wildlife and the outdoors!

playing familyStudies show that children who spend time outside are more creative, have less stress and perform better in school. Help your child unlock their learning and imaginative potential "after-school" during National Wildlife Week. Celebrate nature and jump-start your spring with fun outdoor activities, tips for gardening with children and more.
Get started:

1. Download your custom Family Activity Passport

2. Spend an extra hour this week outside with your children observing wildlife and doing fun outdoor activities.

3. Capture the wildlife in your neighborhood - with your camera! Children can enter the youth competition in the National Wildlife Federation Photo Contest.

 Digital Outdoor Toolbox
 Exploration and Education
The above information is from the National Wildlife Federation. It is being provided here as a resource for those interested in environmental education, wildlife conservation and other environment-focused topics.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This Week in Nature - The 2nd Week in March - Palila

What's Happening in Hawaii
During the 2nd Week in March:

The palila (Loxioides bailleui), now beginning its breeding season, is another of the Hawaiian honeycreepers but differs conspicuously from the 'apapane and the 'ākohekohe. Male and female palila are similar, having a yellow head and breast, greenish wings and tail, a gray back, and white underparts. Males have a black mask, and females have less yellow on the back of their heads and a gray mask.

Apart from color, the most visible difference between palila and the other honecreepers is in beak shape, with the palila adapted for eating seeds and insects rather than for drinking nectar.

Palila feed primarily on pods of the māmane tree, holding them down with one or both feet while opening them and digging out seeds. Approximately 90 percent of the palila’s diet consists of immature māmane seeds; the remainder consists of māmane flowers, buds, leaves, and naio (Myoporum sandwicense) berries.

Dependent on māmane as their main food source, palila today are confined to the mixed māmane-naio forest of upper Mauna Kea and are endangered by mouflon sheep's destruction of this habitat. The forest has been reduced to a tenth of its former size, and its future remains uncertain.

The Palila is a sociable bird, and has a sweet voice and varied repertoire, including one song similar to the canary's.

To learn more about Palila, visit the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) Palila Fact Sheet here.

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

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This Week in Nature - The 1st Week of March - Nana

What's Happening in Hawaii
During the First Week of March (Nana):
The beginning of the hot season is still two months off, but the weather has started to shift. Winter storms and surf are subsiding, and as the Hawaiian writer Kepelino observed, in Nana the leaves on the trees are no longer bruised by hard, driving rains.

A Hawaiian proverb also marks Nana as a month when pāpa'i (crabs) are fat. The nature of this "fatness" is not indicated, but the proverb probably refers to the presence of eggs on the underside of female pāpa'i. This phenomenon, known as berrying, reaches its heaight about this time, prior to heavy spawning that occurs in spring and summer.
Images and text from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"
published by Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989.