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Tomorrow – Kokua Kamalu!


First Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Education Summit a Success on the Big Island

Hilo Hosted High School Students from China, Japan, India, Canada and the Big Island

The first Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Education Summit, sponsored by the Thirty Meter Telescope and the County of Hawaii, and hosted at the Imiloa Astronomy Center and the University of Hawaii at Hilo, brought together high school students and educators from China, Japan, India, Canada and the Big Island for four days of intense learning and interaction.

Kids Summit
Workshops included CCD Technology (Dr. JJ Armstrong, Institute for Astronomy), Adaptive Optics (Peter Michaud, Gemini Observatory), Polarization of Light (Dr. Saeko Hayashi, Subaru Telescope), Planetary Remote Sensing (Dr. Rob Wright, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology), The Sun (Dr. Paul Coleman, Institute for Astronomy), Light Spectroscopy (Dale Olive, Waiakea High School), Orientation to Mauna Kea (Stephanie Nagata, Office of Mauna Kea Management), and an Overview of the Hawaii Volcanoes (Janet Babb, USGS, Hawaii Volcanoes).

Team design briefs included Mars Robotics (Dale Olive and Tom Murphy, Waiakea High Robotics) and Asteroid Drilling (Christian Andersen, PISCES).  Keynote speakers included Dr. Ravinder Bhatia, Thirty Meter Telescope, Krystal Schlecter, UHH Astrophysics Club and Dr. Paul Coleman.  Lt Governor Shan Tsutsui welcomed the conference participants and Representatives Mark Nakashima, Cliff Tsuji and Richard Onishi presented House certificates to each participant.

Students presented science projects and shared a cultural presentation.  Field trips included sunset viewing and star gazing at Hale Pohaku and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Out of state school students were provided with an additional home stay experiences after the summit by Waiakea and Hilo High School families.

Big Island schools participating included: Hilo High School, Connections Public Charter School, Honokaa High School, and Waiakea High School.  Thirty Meter Telescope partner countries were represented by the Shri Ram School, Aravali, India; Shawnigan Lake School, British Columbia, Canada; the High School affiliated with Beihang University, Beijing, China; Ritsumeikan High School, Kyoto, Japan; and Senri High School, Osaka, Japan.

Connections Public Charter School student Clara Cellini said, “I think international conferences are very beneficial to students because we are put in new situations with new people.  Bringing people of different cultures together to focus on a single goal creates a sense of unity. Every student should have the opportunity to experience this.”

An educator shared, “The knowledge, resources, connections gained are priceless.  This is the optimum education environment. Students and teachers were provided with hands on problem solving activities and constructed new knowledge by collaboration.  The sharing of international minds is a powerful entity that many do not get to experience.  It results in, or fosters a global perspective.”

“There are many benefits to those who attended this event.  You get to meet different people and experience new things.  Your knowledge and imagination of the things that are possible is expanded.  Your confidence level is also given a boost.  Because you have to present a project, you also gain experience in presenting. You also get to go to new and different places.  It is a wonderful experience that everyone should have. I am so honored to have been given the opportunity,” said Waiakea High School student Olivia Murray.

Ritsumeikan High School Principal Hiroshi, Tanaka who first hosted the Japan Super Science Fair 10 years ago in Kyoto, after which the Hawaii summit is modeled, said “International cooperation is really necessary for young scientists. I believe participants broadened their horizons and constructed a global network.  I am most grateful to all who supported this Summit.”

For further information on the 2013 Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Education Summit, contact Art Kimura, Hawaii Space Grant Consortium, art@higp.hawaii.edu.


National Park Service Turns 97 – Free Admission to All National Parks Including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The National Park Service turns 97 on Sunday, August 25, Founder’s Day, and entrance is free to all 401 national parks in America, including Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Park Ranger Dean Gallagher explains the eruptive history of Halema`uma`u Crater during a "Life on the Edge" talk

Park Ranger Dean Gallagher explains the eruptive history of Halema`uma`u Crater during a “Life on the Edge” talk

With more than 150 miles of hiking trails, and 520 square miles that stretch from sea level to the 13,677-foot summit of Mauna Loa, the opportunity to enjoy Hawai‘i’s natural splendor abounds in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

A schedule of free ranger-led programs and guided hikes is posted daily outside Kīlauea Visitor Center by 9:30 a.m. Visitors can enjoy programs including Explore the Summit – a one-hour walk from the Kīlauea Visitor Center to the edge of Kīlauea caldera, and Life on the Edge, a 20-minute talk about the current eruption from Halema‘uma‘u Crater given daily at Jaggar Museum overlook.

Two other fee-charging parks in Hawai‘i – Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park and Haleakalā National Park on Maui – will also waive entrance fees on August 25.

Visitors can enjoy more free-entry days in 2013: September 28 is National Public Lands Day, the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States; and November 9-11, Veterans Day Weekend.


Hawaii Gets Federal Money to Protect Crows, Hawks and Snails

Imperiled species will benefit from a total of $5.1 million in grants to 11 states through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s competitive State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program. The grants, which focus on large-scale conservation projects yielding measurable results, will be matched by more than $3.1 million in non-federal funds from states and their partners for projects that work to conserve and recover Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and their habitats.

Shown: Achatinella bulimoides. This snail was thought to be extinct for the past 20 years until the Army rediscovered it in Oahu's Ko'olau Mountains.

Shown: Achatinella bulimoides. This snail was thought to be extinct for the past 20 years until the Army rediscovered it in Oahu’s Ko’olau Mountains.

“The projects funded by these grants target some of the most imperiled species and habitats in the United States,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “These projects are receiving funding because they are tied to well-thought-out conservation plans that identify the highest-priority areas where we can make the biggest difference for imperiled species.”


Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife
Title: Creating Capacity to Restore a Self-Sustaining Wild Population of ‘Alala (Corvus hawaiiensis) to Hawai’i Island

Goals and Objectives: A broad coalition of private and federal partners working under the leadership of Hawai’i State Department of Land and Natural Resources will collaborate to protect and restore the Hawaiian Crow, or ‘Alala, which has been federally listed as an endangered species since 1967. The partners will establish field aviaries at proposed ‘Alala release sites and keep the sites free of ungulates, predators, and habitat-altering weeds. The long-term goal of the effort is to establish a viable wild population of the species through the release of captive-bred birds. A key partner in this project is the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.

Federal Funds Requested: $248,524; Non-Fed Match: $150,000

Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife

Title:  Initiating Landscape-Scale Conservation Management of Ka’u Forest Reserve

Goals and Objectives: Hawai’i State Department of Land and Natural Resources will implement critical conservation actions within a 2,000-acre management unit of the Ka’u Forest Reserve. The work will address key threats to 18 SGCN, including 12 federally-listed endangered species such as the ‘Io or Hawaiian Hawk (Buteo solitarius). This broad partnership effort includes many private, state, and federal partners working together to protect imperiled species within a Priority Ecosystem Conservation Area—one of the most diverse and intact forests on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Conservation actions include fencing and ungulate control, invasive plant control, and habitat restoration.

Federal Funds requested: $250,000; Non-Federal match: $125,000

Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife

Title: Management Actions to Prevent the Extinction of Rare Hawaiian Land Snails

Goals and Objectives: The Hawai’i Division of Forestry and Wildlife will partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a U.S. Army Garrison, and the University of Hawai’i at Manoa to implement conservation efforts targeting 41 snail species of the federally-listed genus Achatinella as well as five extremely rare species in the family Amastridae. The partners’ strategy includes release of captive-bred snails into natural habitat protected by predator exclusion fencing in the Ko’olau Mountains of O’ahu. Other actions include population surveys, monitoring, and predator control.

Federal Funds Requested: $249,952; Non-Fed Match: $87,483

The SWG funds will benefit a variety of species and habitats: In North Carolina and South Carolina, partners’ work will help inform decision-making and management for the robust redhorse and up to 52 additional fishes, mussels and crayfish.  In Minnesota, SWG funds will support conservation actions to benefit the imperiled wood turtle, the rare smooth softshell turtle, the Blandings turtle and other turtle species of greatest conservation need. SWG funding also will be used by Iowa, Missouri and Illinois to conserve and improve habitat for the greater prairie-chicken as well as a range of other bird and butterfly SGCN. For more information about each of the grant projects, visit http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/SWG/SWG2013FundedProjects.pdf

SWG-funded projects implement strategies and actions to conserve SGCN as identified in approved State Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plans (also known as State Wildlife Action Plans). Funding for the grants comes from Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations.

“We appreciate the strong ties formed by state agencies and their partners to protect these imperiled wildlife species and their habitats,” said Hannibal Bolton, the Service’s Assistant Director for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration. “These partnerships are critical to the on-the-ground success of these projects.”

All 50 states and six territorial wildlife agencies have approved State Wildlife Action Plans that collectively provide a nationwide blueprint for actions to conserve SGCN. The plans were created through a collaborative effort among state and federal agencies, biologists, conservationists, landowners, sportsmen and -women and the general public.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) is a 75-year partnership to benefit fish and wildlife and provide Americans with access to the outdoors through a self-imposed investment paid by manufacturers and users of gear bought by anglers, boaters, hunters and shooters and managed by federal and state fish and wildlife agencies. Fishing and hunting licenses and motorboat fuel taxes also support fish and wildlife. For 75 years, the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program has provided more than $14 billion for fish and wildlife, supplied jobs for many Americans and benefited local economies through boating, fishing, hunting and shooting activities.

Limited Space Available for 23rd Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference

The 23rd Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference is September 27-October 4 starting at Kapiolani Community College on Oahu. Titled “Best of Both Worlds,” the week-long gathering is in partnership with the California Rare Fruit Growers Fall Festival of Fruit. More than 150 people have registered to the week-long event.

Best of Both WorldsPresented by the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) and California Rare Fruit Growers (CRFG), the event is geared to farmers, chefs, educators, orchard managers and proponents of sustainable agriculture. Since 2011, the confab includes stops on four Hawaiian Islands to reach out to more growers and take tours of existing agricultural operations.

Guest speakers include Chris Rollins, director of Florida’s Miami Fruit and Spice Park; Joe West, farmer of 600 unusual fruit species in Ecuador; Joe Sabol, master grafter and retired agriculture instructor at California Polytechnic State University and Roger Meyer, nurseryman for unusual species in San Diego County.

Tours on Oahu visit Frankie’s Nursery and Lyon Arboretum. The confab moves to Maui on Sept. 29 and continues to Hilo, Kona and Kauai October 1-3. Attendees will visit Ono Farms, Maui Gold Co. Ltd and the National Botanical Garden on Maui. Hawaii Island stops include the USDA Clonal Germplasm Repository in Hilo and Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory and Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park in Kona. On Kauai, attendees will tour Kauai Coffee, plus the National Tropical Botanical and Allerton Gardens.

Ken Love, HTFG president, says the conference will have breakout sessions on propagation methods, hands-on grafting, using unusual local fruit by Chef Grant Sato, jujubes and other exotics, plus fruits of Florida and Ecuador.

The conference is open to the public. Registration forms and fee schedule are available at here or by contacting Love at kenlove@hawaiiantel.net or Mark Suiso at suiso@aloha.net.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

Incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii, HTFG is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; www.hawaiitropicalfruitgrowers.org.