Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This Week in Nature:The 5th week in October - he'e

00What's Happening in Hawaii 
during the 5th week in October:

Pua ke kō, ku ka he'e.
When the sugar cane tassels, 
the octopus season is here.

Like the proverb about breadfruit, this one gives a botanical cue for food-gathering at sea. Again, the word he'e is used, but in this case, all clues point to an octopus. Sugar cane begins to form plumes in late October or early November, a time of year when large specimens of he'e mauli, the daytime octopus (Octopus cyani), are unusually abundant. He'e mauli frequent shallow water, living in holes on rocks and reef flats and feeding on crabs and shrimp. It is one of two octopuses common in Hawai'i, the other being a nocturnal feeder.

Sugar cane, , with tassels.

Hawaiians were first to cultivate in the islands, using it as a sweet, a quick energy source, and a medicine. Its blossoming was a signal not only to hunt octopus but also to enjoy a seasonal form of recreation: "When the sugar cane tassels, move to the sledding course," says another proverb. But don't look for snow. Hawaiian sledding was done on hills strewn with silky flowers and pili grass. 

  Pili grass.
Photo by Forest & Kim Starr

For photos of  he'e mauli and more information, visit the Hanauma Bay Creature Feature page.

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

Saturday, October 23, 2010

This Week in Nature:The 4th week in October - 'ama'ama

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

'Ama'ama, a native mullet, makes a six-month migration each year, beginning about this time and ending in April. On O'ahu, legend has it that schools of 'ama'ama swim from the leeward side to the windward side through an underground channel. The actual route is by sea, from 'Ewa around Koko Head and as far up the coast as Lā'ie. Mature 'ama'ama are called 'anae, and the Hawaiians distinguish 'anae-holo, migrating mullet, from 'anae-pali, cliff mullet. 'Anae spawn at sea before returning to the inshore, brackish water they generally prefer.

One of the principal fish in the Hawaiian diet, 'ama'ama are algae-eaters and were raised for royalty in a sophisticated, early form of aquaculture. Trapping nutrient-rich water from the lo'i (taro paddies), fishponds bred algae profusely and thus were ideal places to fatten 'ama'ama. The mullet was known as pua'a kai, or "sea pig," which could be given in offerings in place of an ordinary pig. Around Ke'ehi 'ama'ama were referred to as the "loud-voiced fish of Ke'ehi," owing to the noise fishermen made while driving them into nets. They also gave Wai'anae its name - "mullet waters."

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

Friday, October 15, 2010

Find Your Footprint

We all change the Earth with the stuff that we buy, use, and throw away. This is called our human footprint. How your footprint changes the Earth is up to you.  Teachers, get your students involved and enter your K - 6th grade classroom's best idea to reduce your footprint for a chance to win awesome prizes for your school and classroom.

To enter, pick a theme—Save Water, Reduce Waste, or Save Energy—that your class would like to address. Write a short description of your proposal.  Illustrate your proposal, using one of the following formats:  1—take a photograph, 2—make a poster, 3—shoot a video, OR 4—write an essay.

The grand prize includes five interactive whiteboards, five sets of ActivExpression learner response systems by Promethean, $1,000 of National Geographic gifts, and thirty subscriptions to National Geographic Kids magazine for your school.

The contest is open Kindergarten through sixth grade teachers at a public or private school who enter the
contest on behalf of his/her class.

Entries must be received by December 3, 2010.  Enter here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This Week in Nature:The 3rd week in October - Hawaiian Bat

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

Your best opportunity to see 'ōpe'ape'a, or the Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus), comes at this time of year, when they congregate at dusk on feeding grounds near shore. The only mammal native to the islands besides the monk seal, the 'ōpe'ape'a usually keeps out of sight, sleeping during the day and leading a quite solitary existence.  

Pe'a can mean "sail," so the bat may take its name from the sail-like appearance of its wings. Pe'a may also mean "to turn and go," which describes the bat's zig-zag flight while foraging. Its ability as a hunter probably accounts for a legend of an eight-eyed bat that stole Maui's wife.

Though listed as endangered, 'ōpe'ape'a seems more adaptable than most Hawaiian species, roosting freely in non-native trees and even on buildings. It is believed still to reside on all of the main islands, with the total population estimated at a few thousand. The largest concentrations - and the best places to see 'ōpe'ape'a - are on the islands of Kaua'i and Hawai'i, particularly along the Hāmākua and south Kona coasts.

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

*Disclaimer: The above information was accurate as of 1989, and statistics about the number and distribution of the Hawaiian bat may have changed since then.

For more current information, visit: the species info page at HEAR.org, the Hawaii Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy bat fact sheet, and the National Park Service's fact sheet about the Hawaiian bat.

Also, see the Honolulu Zoo's bat info page, where you'll find species information, photos of bats in captivity, as well as a history of two Hawaiian bats that were cared for at the Honolulu zoo.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Track My T-Shirt

This one of a kind web site allows you to explore the journey your t-shirt has taken. From its very beginning as a cotton seed on a farm, to every step it took before you bought it. Learn about the environmental impacts of your t-shirt and where the most energy is consumed on its journey.
On the site you can track 'YOUR' T or track a 'Random' T. The site takes you on a journey from the farm to the cotton gin, yarn spinner, textile mill, cut and sew, distribution center, and finally to you. At each stop you can choose different areas of interest to investigate through the interactive web site.

Lessons plans available throughout the site!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sip to Support a Garden

Jamba Juice and the National Gardening Association (NGA) have created "Sip to Support a Garden," an easy, feel good fundraiser for schools and communities that encourages nutrition, education, and sustainability.

Just register your school or public community garden group to join this swipe card program. Each time a supporter uses the swipe card for purchases at participating Jamba Juice locations, Jamba will donate 12% of the purchase to support gardens. 10% will be donated directly back to your garden organization and 2% will be donated to support “It’s All About the Fruit” fruit tree grants administered by the NGA.

Schools and community garden programs in the U.S. gardening with at least 15 children between the ages of 3 and 18 are eligible.

Twenty winners will receive fruit trees valued at $500 and the Jamba Juice "It’s All About the Fruit" Youth Garden Guide. Trees will be selected based on recommended varieties for each area.

Applications must be postmarked no later than November 15, 2010.

More Information Here

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 2nd week in October - 'Ikuwā

What's Happening in Hawaii 
during the 2nd week in October:

O 'Ikuwā i pohā kō 'ele 'ele,
'ikuwā ke kai, 'ikuwā ka hekili,
'ikuwā ka manu.

'Ikuwā is the month when the dark storms arise, 
the sea roars, the thunder roars,
the birds make a din.

'Ikuwā means "noisy" and indicates a transition from peaceful summer weather to the storms of ho'oilo, the rainy season, which begins next month. Another proverb speaks of strong winds: "The [flap of the] loincloth [flutters and] snaps in the month of 'Ikuwā."

Clouds, thunder, rain, and wind are associated with Lono, one of the four principal Hawaiian gods. It is Lono whose mana (power) brings forth plants for sustenance and healing, and the four-month Makahiki season, which begins about the middle of October, is dedicated to him. In old Hawai'i, the ali'i collected taxes at this time, usually in the form of food. Afterward, the harvest was celebrated with an extended festival. Warfare and work were kapu. Hula was danced for entertainment and in friendly competition with neighbors. Wrestling, boxing, and other games were the order of the day.

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

Friday, October 1, 2010

This Week in Nature: The 1st week in October - lobelia

What's Happening in Hawaii 
during the 1st week in October:

Another rare Hawaiian lobelia is entering its flowering season. Known only by its scientific name, Rollandia ambigua, it is a small plant with hanging bunches of large magenta or white blossoms. Along with six other species of Rollandia, it is found nowhere in the world except O'ahu, where it favors elevations from 1000 to 2200 feet.
In Hawai'i, the lobelia family adapted itself to many different environments, as honeycreepers did among birds and as land snails did among mollusks. More than 150 exclusively Hawaiian forms of lobelia are known, and they exhibit extraordinary diversity, ranging from small herbs to trees 30 feet tall. Compare Rollandia ambigua with koli'i (below) and ālula (August 21 post) for a sense of this group's rich variety.

Koli'i, a native lobelia that blooms in early January 

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