Friday, July 30, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 5th week in July

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

Earth's only woody geraniums, native to Hawai'i, are blooming on the upper slopes of Haleakalā on Maui.

Photo: Forest & Kim Starr

 'Apapane, 'i'iwi, and other honeycreepers visit the flowers to feed and, in doing so, cross-pollinate them. The shape of the blossom encourages birds to sip nectar from below, bringing their heads into contact with the flower's reproductive organs.

Photos: DOFAW

As they move from plant to plant, the honeycreepers pick up the pollen from one flower and leave it at another.

Haleakalā offers diverse environments, and its geraniums have evolved in remarkably different ways. They range from trees 20 or 30 feet tall to shrubs no bigger than 18 inches. The smallest is called hinahina and, like the silversword, takes its name from the silvery color of its leaves.
Taken from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"  
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hawaii Conservation Week Hike-Open to Public!

Guided Hike through Native Forest Manoa Cliff Trail
Friday, July 30, 2010

What better way to celebrate the end of conservation week than hiking through a native forest right in our backyard with State of Hawaii’s own Oahu Trails and Access Specialist, Aaron Lowe?

The Manoa Cliff trail begins in a thick swamp mahagany and guava forest, ascending slowly. Shortly, the trail bursts out onto the cliffs above Manoa Valley. The trail contours the cliffs above Manoa Valley, and around Tantalus Crater to Pauoa Valley. This trail offers spectacular views of Manoa Valley, and 3 waterfalls in the back of the valley. Once out of the thick guava forest, the trail becomes mostly native, offering hikers the opportunity to view koa, o`hia, mamaki, haha, kokio`keo`keo, and many other native plants. This trail is also a good place, close to town, to view native birds and see on-the-ground ecosystem management practices in action!


We will meet at the trailhead at 8:20 and start the adventure at 8:30. Please bring proper hiking attire- long pants, hiking shoes/boots, water & snacks, rain gear if desired (it can be wet!). At the end of the hike vehicles will be arranged to take hikers back to the trailhead. We will be back to the trailhead by 12:00 pm. Space is limited so be sure to RSVP as soon as possible to

Directions: Proceed mauka on Round Top Drive, past Pu`u `Ualaka`a State Park. Continue winding up the road, until you begin to see brown and yellow trailhead signs along the side of road. Manoa Cliff Trail shares a small parking lot on the makai side of Round Top Drive, with Moleka Trail. The parking lot is directly adjacent the Moleka Trail. Manoa Cliff Trail is across the street from the lot

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hawaii Conservation Fair

Join us for the 2010 Hawaii Conservation Fair at ING Direct Cafe

Don't miss the appearance by My Hawai'i Story Project winners, a screening of Huliau, marine debris art by Susan Scott, and MORE!

Visit for more information

This Week in Nature: The 4th week in July

What's Happening in Hawaii
During the 4th week in July:

"Ka i'a a ka wai nui i lawe mai ai.
The fish borne along by the flood."

'O'opu nākea (Awaous guamensis), a freshwater goby, grows to maturity in mountain steams and pools, where it clings to boulders with a sucker in its belly and eats fallen blossoms of the 'ōhi'a lehua. About this time, it comes downstream to spawn, often riding the run-off of a heavy rain known as ua ho'opala 'ōhi'a, "the rain that ripens the mountain apples."

Traditionally, 'o'opu were trapped in nets as they washed past, or a stream was temporarily diverted into adjacent lowlands, where fish could be gathered easily or stocked for future consumption. Unfortunately, overfishing and human interference with streams have made 'o'opu scarce, and today state regulations prohibit catching them with traps or weirs.

These small fish have been a Hawaiian delicacy for centuries, and among freshwater varieties, o'opu nākea are considered outstanding in both taste and size (as large as twelve inches). Chubby cheeks and bulging eyes make o'opu nākea resemble lizards, and thus they were kapu to families having the mo'o, a legandary giant reptile as their 'aumākua.

For more info about o'opu nākea, visit the Bishop Museum's Waipi'o Valley Stream Restoration Study page. While you're there, check out the other creatures that call Hawaiian streams home.

*For more information about freshwater and ocean fishing, including permitting and licenses, please visit DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources.

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

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education

The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education (SFE) Grant Program awards grants to schools, nature centers, or other non-profit educational organizations for the purpose of establishing outdoor learning centers. Grant funds may only be used to purchase native plants and seeds. Awards range from $100 to $500 each. Successful grants are eligible for partnership with SFE native plant nursery partners for discounts on seeds, plants, etc.

Projects must emphasize involvement of students and volunteers and increase the educational value of the site. Creativity in design is encouraged but must show complete and thoughtful planning. The use of and teaching about native plants and the native plant community is mandatory and must be appropriate to the local ecoregion and site conditions (soil, water, sunlight).

The application deadline is October 15, 2010

Visit to apply

Monday, July 12, 2010

National Education Association Invites Grant Applications From K-12 Teachers for Environmental Education Projects

The National Education Association is offering Green Across America grants of up to $1,000 each to help K-12 teachers across the United States implement their innovative education program, activity, lesson, or event to increase environmental awareness, create positive learning programs, and excite students about ways to create a better planet.

The program will award a total of $50,000, in grants of up to $1,000 each (dependent on the cost of developing the activity, lesson, or event). Information on the grantees' programs will also be posted on the NEA Member Benefits Web site for use by the education community.

The program is open to any educator employed by a public or private school (K-12) located in the fifty United States and the District of Columbia.

For more information:

This Week in Nature: The 3rd week in July

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 3rd week in July:

"Pala ka hala,
momona ka hā'uke'uke.
When the pandanus fruit ripens,
the hā'uke'uke sea urchin is fat."

Hala (pandanus) fruit

Hawaiians used the orange fruit of the hala tree (pandanus) as a signal to search for sea urchins that are fat with eggs at this time of year.

Hā'uke'uke is a type of sea urchin with blunt or very short spines. A common purple variety (see below) clings to rocks in surging inshore waters, while the one depicted above, hā'uke'uke 'ula'ula, is a reef-dweller.

Purple sea urchins at Kaena Point
Photo: C. Tucker

In another proverb, ripe hala fruit is given as a cue to look for uhu, the parrot fish, which feeds on sea urchins and may be fatter or more accessible now than at other times.  

Hala fruit are not eaten, but may be strung in lei or, when dry, used for brushes. Other parts of the plant also have traditional uses. Lau hala, the leaves, are the raw material used for mats, baskets, and other woven goods. Flowers from male trees were used to scent kapa, while aerial roots were sometimes taken as medicine.

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

Monday, July 5, 2010

This week in Nature: The 2nd week in July

What's Happening in Nature during
the 2nd week in July: 

 Hīhīmanu, the sting ray, can be seen in Kane'ohe Bay during mid-summer.
Hīhīmanu means "hissing bird," and its large "wings" sometimes break the surface as it swims. Usually it lives on the bottom, using its wings to raise a cloud of sand and then lying still while the sand settles on its back. Hidden this way, it sleeps and feeds, consuming a variety of worms, crabs, mollusks, and small fish. The camouflage is so effective that prey approach quite close, and in some cases, all that a hīhīmanu has to do is open its mouth and swallow!

Hīhīmanu uses its "stinger" only in self-defense. When threatened or seized by a shark or other predator - or when accidentally stepped on - it whips its long tail, jabbing and slashing with the tail's barbed spines. In the process, venom is released from glands around the spines, with painful but rarely fatal results.

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