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Hawaiian Airlines’ Airport Operations Lowering Fuel Use, Carbon Emissions

Carrier decreasing its reliance on jet fuel to power aircraft at the gate

Hawaiian Airlines this month achieved a key milestone in its ongoing effort to reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions when it powered all wide-body aircraft arriving at airports in a single day with electrical power at the gate. The carrier’s initiative to connect parked aircraft to more efficient external electricity is significantly reducing pilots’ use of the onboard auxiliary power unit, or APU, which burns jet fuel to keep lights, avionics systems, air conditioning and other equipment on.

The work has the potential to reduce Hawaiian’s APU usage by an estimated 30 minutes per flight, saving some 620,000 gallons of fuel annually and cutting CO2 emissions by 5,933 metric tons. That’s roughly enough fuel to fly the airline’s wide-body fleet for a day, while the carbon reductions equate to removing 1,253 cars off the streets each year.

Hawaiian Airlines ground crews connect external power to a wide-body aircraft at Honolulu International Airport.

In the past year, Hawaiian made headway toward an ambitious goal of having gate power available to its entire wide-body fleet within three minutes of arrival as aircraft fly between Hawaii, 11 U.S. gateway cities and 10 international destinations. Line service and ground crews have met the target on 92 percent of flights on average. But on April 12, in what is internally being celebrated as “100 Percent Day,” employees reached a milestone when 47 wide-body flights received external power as aircraft arrived at airports from Auckland to New York.

“It’s very much like a carefully choreographed dance requiring great timing and the tight coordination of everyone involved in bringing our airplanes to the gate once they’ve landed,” said Jon Snook, Hawaiian’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Our teams must ensure the availability of working external power at the gate, monitor minute-by-minute the estimated arrival time of the aircraft, and ensure all personnel are in place and ready to receive the aircraft.”

Hawaiian already provides external gate power to its narrow-body fleet that average 170 daily flights between the Hawaiian Islands. The airline also owns portable power units that can be deployed in the event jetbridge electricity is unavailable or malfunctioning.

Hawaiian’s success in reducing APU usage aligns with the carrier’s ongoing commitment to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment.

Hawaiian, which operates one of the youngest fleet in the U.S. industry, is investing in fuel efficient aircraft by adding 18 new A321neos starting later this year. Last year, the airline conducted two demonstration flights to Honolulu from Brisbane and Auckland using a series of gate-to-gate environmental best practices outlined by the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions, or ASPIRE.

Most recently, Hawaiian became the first U.S. carrier to join an international scientific monitoring project that enlists commercial airlines to research climate change and air quality worldwide. Hawaiian partnered with the In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS) venture by equipping one Airbus A330-200 aircraft with an atmospheric monitoring tool that will collect valuable data throughout the airline’s far-reaching network covering the Pacific, Asia and North America.

Navy Attending Merrie Monarch Festival, Will Join in Royal Parade

The U.S. Pacific Fleet Band will march and perform in the 54th annual Merrie Monarch Royal Parade on April 22. Capt. James Jenks, Chief of Staff, Navy Region Hawaii, will also attend the festivities.

HILO, Hawaii (April 26, 2014) Under the direction of Lt. Patrick K. Sweeten, the Pacific Fleet Band marches in the 51st annual Merrie Monarch Festival Parade. The parade is the culmination of a week-long festival featuring an internationally acclaimed hula competition and a grand parade through the heart of Hilo. (U.S. Navy photo by Musician 2nd Class Andrea Sematoske/Released)

Capt. Jenks will attend the Hula Kahiko competition on Friday, April 21. He will also attend the Group Hula ʻAuana & Awards and participate with the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band in the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade on Saturday, April 22 at 10:30 a.m. along downtown Hilo.

The Navy recognizes that the Merrie Monarch Festival honors the legacy left by King David Kalākaua, who inspired the perpetuation of Hawaiian traditions, native language and arts. King Kalākaua negotiated a treaty with the United States that led to the Navy’s presence at Pearl Harbor.

“We appreciate King David Kalākaua’s commitment and legacy,” Jenks said. “King Kalākaua supported the Navy and provided the opportunity to establish a coaling station at Pearl Harbor more than a century ago. He was a big supporter of education, which is something we all value today; especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.”

Members of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band have been on Hawaii Island this week, working with local school bands, reinforcing STEM education and providing community outreach.

TMT Contested Case Deadlines Set

Presiding Officer Issues Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law Deadlines

In an order (Minute Order No. 43) issued today, contested case hearing officer Judge Riki May Amano (ret.) notified the parties of upcoming filing deadlines in the Contested Case Hearing for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Conservation District Use Application (CDUA) at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve. During the evidentiary portion of the Contested Case Hearing, spread over five months in late 2016 and early 2017, twenty-five parties to the case presented testimony and evidence.

Today’s order sets May 30, 2017 as the deadline for the parties to submit proposed findings of facts and conclusions of law.  Responses to these proposals are due by June 13, 2017.  Each response shall identify by Document Number the specific decision and order, findings of fact and conclusions of law to which it responds.

Minute Order No. 43 and all other minute orders and documents related to the TMT Contested Case can be viewed at: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/mk/documents-library/.

Complete transcripts from the TMT Contested Case Hearing were made available yesterday at Hilo Public Library, Kailua Kona Public Library, Thelma Parker Memorial Library, and Edward H. Mookini Library on Hawaii island, and at the Hawaii State Public Library on Oahu.

Judge Amano will consider all filings and submit her proposed recommendation.  The matter will then go back to the State Board of Land and Natural Resources for argument, review and final decision.

Hokulea Received and Celebrated in Mahina

Legendary voyaging canoes Hokulea, Hikianalia and their crews were welcomed by the Mahina community yesterday. The crews enjoyed performances of traditional song and dance from people of all ages during the arrival celebration hosted on the shores of Mahina, which is near Papeete in Tahiti.

The arrival was filled with the true meaning of aloha. “You could feel it from the canoe. The community here was overwhelmingly happy and thrilled with love in their hearts that Hokulea and Hikianalia were there,” says Kala Tanaka, captain and navigator of Hikianalia. Adorned with welcome wishes and lei, the crews were treated to a front row celebration of traditional song and dance.

The arrival in Tahiti marks the reconnection of Hokulea and Hikianalia. The sister canoes were last together in Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the spring of 2015. “We started his voyage together and now we end this voyage together,” says Bruce Blankenfeld, master navigator of Hokulea.

The crew will travel throughout Tahiti and Raiatea to engage with the local communities in ceremony and educational outreach as they celebrate the close of the nearly four-year long journey. Together with her sister canoe Hikianalia, Hokulea will head home to a welcoming ceremony at Magic Island in June 2017.

Grants Approved for Digital Repository of Spoken Hawaiian Language

Grants approved for digital repository of spoken Hawaiian language
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) have collectively awarded grants totaling $448,464 over a three-year period to fund a project involving multiple University of Hawaiʻi campuses to build a digital online repository of spoken Hawaiian language, or ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

Principal Investigator Keiki Kawai`ae`a, director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Ke`elikōlani (KHUOK) College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

The NSF grant is for $283,464, while the NEH portion totals $165,000. The awards are effective August 1, 2017 and will be managed by Principal Investigator Keiki Kawai`ae`a, director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Ke`elikōlani (KHUOK) College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, along with co-Principal Investigators Larry Kimura, associate professor at KHUOK, and Andrea Berez-Kroeker, associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at UH Mānoa.

The project, entitled “Building a Hawaiian Spoken Language Repository,” will create Kani`āina, a digital corpus of recordings and transcripts of Native Hawaiian language. Kani`āina will feature hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings, fully searchable transcripts in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, catalog information in both English and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, and a unique crowd-sourcing feature for soliciting enhanced transcription and content-tagging of the recordings from the public.

The recordings and transcripts will be accessible online at Ulukau: The Hawaiian Electronic Library, beginning with Phase 1 of the first two collections: Ka Leo Hawaiʻi and Kū i ka Mānaleo, later this year. The content will be archived for long-term preservation in Kaipuleohone, the University of Hawaiʻi Digital Language Archive, which is part of ScholarSpace, the UH institutional repository.

Kawai`ae`a says the awards also include funding for undergraduate research opportunities and for a cross-campus graduate educational exchange in language documentation and revitalization, which is especially timely.

“We are elated that we can now move toward building a larger public repository of audio and visual native speaker collections to support the growing population of Hawaiian speakers,” Kawai`ae`a said. “Kani`āina comes at a crucial time when the number of Hawaiian speakers is increasing as the last of the native speaking elders is rapidly dwindling. We now estimate the number of elder native speakers outside of the Ni`ihau community to total between 20 and 30.”

Data from an April 2016 report by the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism on Hawaiʻi’s non-English speaking population found the number of persons aged 5 and older who spoke Hawaiian at home statewide totaled 18,400. Kawai`ae`a also noted that more than 3,000 students are presently enrolled in Hawaiian-immersion schools P-12, while 13,500 are enrolled in Hawaiian language coursework in public and private educational institutions, and 2,000 students are enrolled in similar coursework at UH campuses.

Kawai`ae`a says the broader impacts of Kani`āina will include its integration into immersion-based language education from pre-school to the university level, Hawaiian knowledge in the natural and social sciences, and beyond. The project will also engage underrepresented groups as citizen scientists through its creation of a publicly available corpus of an endangered U.S. language.

Concerns Grows for Young Monk Seal on Kaua`i

After wildlife biologists and veterinarians relocated a 10-month-old Hawaiian monk seal on March 30th from the Lihi Canal in Kapa‘a, to a beach on the island’s west side they’d hoped she would stay away from the canal.  Two days ago the seal, identified as RH92, returned to the canal along with an adult seal (RK13). Together they’ve been seen feeding on small fish in the manmade waterway along with discarded fish parts. The return of RH92 to Lihi is prompting stepped-up public awareness and outreach and potentially enforcement of littering laws for fishermen who dispose of fish parts in the water.

Jamie Thomton, the Kaua‘i Marine Mammal Response Program Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explained, “Any time you attract a wild animal into an area where human use is high, you’re increasing the risk of interaction between people and the seal.  You’re also exposing the seal to more risks, such as fishing nets that might be in the water, fishing hooks or strikes by boats.”  The endangered Hawaiian monk seal is protected by both federal and state laws, and injuring or killing a seal carries serious penalties.

The day after RH92 (now carrying a radio transmitter on her back so her movements can be tracked), returned to the canal she rested and basked in the sun on nearby Fuji beach.  As is standard practice with any of Kaua‘i’s population of an estimated 45 Hawaiian monk seals, volunteers posted signs asking people to give her wide berth. “We try to foster the co-existence with public education and outreach,” said Mimi Olry, the Kaua‘i Marine Mammal Response Field Coordinator with the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR).  She added, “We depend on people taking up a sense of doing what’s appropriate around these large marine mammals.  We’d like to see people respect them, give them their space, and not to create situations that put both seals and humans at risk.”

The disposal of litter, like fish parts, is not only illegal, they decompose in water that people fish and swim in. Officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) are increasing their visibility and patrols at Lihi. For now they want to be sure captains, crews, and fishers on boats that launch from the canal’s ramp know that disposing of any fish parts in the water is against the law. If one-on-one education doesn’t work DOCARE officers may begin writing citations for littering.

Monk seals frequently explore inland fresh waterways like streams and rivers. The attraction of discarded fish parts in these areas is particularly hazardous for young monk seals. Over the past two and a half years, two yearling seals were found dead in the Lihi Canal. It’s believed they drowned, possibly after getting entangled in fish nets. Neither seal had any sign of disease or obvious trauma.

“The last thing we want is to lose RH92, because she’s come back to Lihi, for the easy food of discarded fish guts, heads, and tails,” Thomton said.  He added, “We’re focusing outreach, education and possible enforcement efforts on boat fishing, as this is where the parts are coming from.”  The law requires that all fish parts be thrown into garbage cans provided at all State of Hawai‘i small boat harbors.

Hawaiian monk seals feed mostly on small reef fish, tako (octopus), and lobsters. Despite beliefs to the contrary, they do not feed on fish like ono, ahi, and mahi mahi.  Extensive scientific studies have shown what species of prey the monk seals prefer, and there’s no evidence that they feed on the large, fast moving pelagic fish that deep sea fishermen prefer.

Moreover, according to DAR’s Mimi Olry, “Top predators like seals and sharks help keep reef fish populations healthy, because just like wolves on the land, they pick out the sick and injured fish to feed on. Marine mammals are part of our ecosystem and the Hawaiian monk seal is a sentinel species, in that the health of its population can provide advance warnings about environmental conditions for people. We can and should co-exist with them”

There are no plans to move RH92 a second time and it’s hoped with increased outreach and education people will stop throwing fish scraps into the water and she’ll move on to safer locales.

Hokulea and Hikianalia Arrive in Tahiti

Legendary Polynesian voyaging canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia have arrived in Tahiti.

This arrival marks the first time the sister canoes have reunited since the vessels embarked on separate Malama Honua sail plans in spring of 2015 – when Hikianalia sailed for the Hawaiian Islands to advance the education mission of the Worldwide Voyage while Hokulea continued on her unprecedented circumnavigation of the globe. The canoes’ arrival will be celebrated with the Tahiti community tomorrow, April 14, 2017.

Tahiti holds special historical significance for the Polynesian Voyaging Society as the destination of Hokulea’s first deep sea voyage in 1976, over 40 years ago. Tahiti is the largest island of French Polynesia and shares origins with the rest of the Polynesian Triangle. The mountain, Moua Orohena, tops the island and stands 7,352 feet tall, earning the distinction as the highest point in French Polynesia; its height has made Tahiti the home base of voyaging for generations.

Sister canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia will travel to Raiatea for a ceremony in Taputapuatea on April 25. Hokulea and Hikianalia will sail home in early May to begin the final deep-sea leg of the Worldwide Voyage.

Kupu Unveils “The ʻŌhiʻa, the Story of Hawaiʻi’s Tree” on Hawaiian Airlines

Starting this month through July, Hawaiian Airlines will air a special short film, “The ʻŌhiʻa, the Story of Hawaiʻi’s Tree,” as part of its Hawaiian Skies domestic in-flight programming. In partnership with Kupu, Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education organization, USDA Forest Service and Hālau ʻŌhiʻa – Hawaiʻi Stewardship Training program on Hawai‘i Island, the video highlights the cultural and ecological significance of ʻōhiʻa and the impact of Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death (ROD).

ʻŌhiʻa are the most abundant native tree species throughout the state of Hawaiʻi and hold significant biological, cultural and economic value. (Photo by JB Friday)

“This video project presented an opportunity not only to address a major conservation issue, but also share the important work that is being done by our partners, program participants and the community on Hawai‘i Island,” said John Leong, Kupu CEO. “We need to continue to work together to increase awareness about these types of issues, while empowering the next generation of environmental stewards and leaders who will continue to protect our environment and develop more resilient and sustainable communities in Hawai‘i.”

The short film features scientists, conservationists, kumu hula, dancers and families of Hawai‘i Island’s community, who are bound by their aloha for and commitment to ʻōhiʻa. Each share personal stories about ʻōhiʻa and the vital role this tree plays in the environment, Hawaiian culture and community. Featured speakers include: USDA Forest Service Research Ecologists Christian Giardina and Flint Hughes, and Natural Resource Specialist Kainana Francisco; USDA Agricultural Research Service Plant Pathologist Lisa Keith; Hālau ‘Ōhiʻa – Hawaiʻi Stewardship Training Founder and Trainer Kekuhi Keali‘ikanaka‘oleohaililani; Kupu Interns Ardena Saarinen and Kawehi Lopez, and Program Coordinator Malia Heimuli; and Lahela Camara and her daughter Hāwelelani.

“As a destination carrier, we strive to provide our guests with warm hospitality and unique in-flight offerings,” said Renee Awana, senior manager of product development at Hawaiian Airlines. “As part of that, we also understand the importance of educating visitors about our pristine and fragile island habitat. Together with Kupu, we believe this film will shine a light on an important issue that all travelers should be aware of.”

Five species of ʻōhiʻa are endemic to Hawai‘i, one of which, Metrosideros polymorpha, is the most abundant native species in Hawai‘i, making up 80 percent of native forests. As one of the first plants to colonize an area after a lava flow, ʻōhiʻa trees are instrumental in developing soil and forming new ecosystems. They dominate old soil and most everything in between, providing critical habitats for countless native species throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

Not only is ʻōhiʻa considered one of the most ecologically significant plants in Hawai‘i, it is deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture through moʻolelo (stories), mele (song), ʻoli (chant) and hula (dance).

“ʻŌhiʻa is as old as the volcanic islands,” said Kekuhi Kealiʻikanakaʻoleohaililani of Hālau ʻŌhiʻa. “When we talk about their significance, we may talk about objects of the culture. But, what we need to begin talking about seriously, is if the ʻōhiʻa were not here, what about our lifeway might change.”

Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death (ROD) is a disease caused by the fungus Ceratocystis Fimbriata. Since it was discovered in 2014, ROD has wiped out ʻōhiʻa trees across 50,000 acres on Hawai‘i Island, at an average loss of 10 percent per year.

“It’s impossible for me to imagine a Hawaiʻi without ʻōhiʻa,” said Kainana Francisco of the USDA Forest Service. “Losing ʻōhiʻa would have devastating ripple effects on our forest landscapes and watersheds, the health of our islands and our communities, and Hawaiʻi culture and lifeways. So it’s important for everyone, Hawai‘i stewardship agencies and organizations, our communities, and even our visitors to our islands, to continue to work together to prevent the disease from spreading, and protect Hawai‘i’s precious natural resources and unique ecosystems.”

While the disease is currently isolated to Hawai‘i Island, it has the potential to spread to other islands and affect ʻōhiʻa and the health of ecosystems statewide. Simple ways that anyone can prevent the spread of ROD include:

  • Not moving any parts of the ʻōhiʻa plant;
  • Not transporting ʻōhiʻa interisland per the State Department of Agriculture’s quarantine rule preventing ROD from reaching other islands;
  • Avoid wounding or pruning ʻōhiʻa plants, which make them vulnerable to the fungus;
  • Decontaminate gear and tools (including shoes and clothes) before and after entering forests; and
  • Wash tires and undercarriages of vehicles when traveling off-road and to any areas affected by ROD.

For more information about ʻōhiʻa, ROD,and other updates on the work that needs to be done about ROD, visit www.rapidohiadeath.org.

“I prefer not to say Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death,” added Kealiʻikanakaʻoleohaililani. “That’s not what we want. What we want is Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Health. Without them, there is no life in the Hawaiʻi Islands.”

Hawaii Representative Responds to Sale of Hawaiian Artifacts in Paris

State Representative Kaniela Ing (Chair, House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs) issued the following statement in response to Native Hawaiians who are protesting the sale of certain artifacts in Paris, France.

This flag is just one of many items up for auction

“Here is a rich guy and an auctioneer trying to make millions off  ‘Hawaiian’ artifacts without reaching out to Bishop Museum or to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for authentication. It’s irresponsible, unprofessional, and disrespectful to our culture.

“However, if these artifacts are indeed authentic, we need to find some funds to bring them home for safe keeping immediately. I’m exploring whether state funds are available and putting a call out to all private residents with means. I’m hoping that a hero emerges who will not only buy the artifacts but donate them to the Bishop Museum for all people to enjoy in perpetuity. Hawaiians need to send the message that our ancestors and culture are not for sale.”

Facebook video link: https://www.facebook.com/mehanaokala/videos/10154458709323441/

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Commits Funds to Protect Hawaiian Coot and Hawaiian Stilt

The Department of the Interior announced that through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Cooperative Recovery Initiative (CRI) more than $3.74 million is being committed to nine projects on 12 national wildlife refuges across 12 states to help recover some of the nation’s most at-risk species on or near national wildlife refuges.

Hawaiian Coot (Photo by Dick Daniels http://carolinabirds.org/)

“We are targeting our work where it will do the most good for America’s resources,” said FWS Acting Director Jim Kurth. “This initiative is a unique way to engage in conservation work with states and partners, giving the taxpayer a good return on investment.”

Species to benefit from CRI funding include the Miami blue butterfly, ocelots, Puritan tiger beetles, masked bobwhite and spectacled eiders.

Since 2013, FWS has funded 66 projects for nearly $27 million through the CRI. Other species that have benefited include the Oregon chub, the first fish in the nation to be taken off the endangered species list; Sonoran pronghorn; dusky gopher frog; and red-cockaded woodpecker. These projects often provide conservation benefits to other imperiled species and encourage partnerships with states and private groups.

Project Details:

Hawaiian Stilt

Pacific Region
Protect Two Endangered Hawaiian Waterbirds and Core Wetland Habitats at Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

A project team will establish long-lasting protections for two endangered birds, the Hawaiian coot and Hawaiian stilt, against predators and ungulates and create new habitat, resulting in a large-scale restoration of Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, a critically important wetland habitat in Hawaii.

Enhance the Conservation Status of Spalding’s Catchfly
A project team will establish five additional viable subpopulations of 500 individual threatened Spalding’s catchfly on protected habitat at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in Washington and three other partner and privately-owned locations within the Channeled Scablands and Palouse Prairie regions in Washington and Idaho.

Southwest Region
Protect Endangered Species Corridors in the Rio Grande Valley

Staff at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas will work with partners to acquire a 400-acre conservation easement to expand habitat between the refuge and Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge for the endangered ocelot. The increased habitat will also aid the endangered northern aplomado falcon.

Establish Second Captive Breeding Population of Masked Bobwhite Quail in North America
A project team will expand the endangered masked bobwhite population by creating a captive population in a rearing facility at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona and establish a second captive population and biosecurity program at Sutton Avian Research Center.

Southeast Region
Protect and Enhance Watercress Darter Habitat at Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge

A project team will maintain the current pool habitats on Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama for the endangered watercress darter to improve migration and genetic diversity, promote additional aquatic habitats on the refuge, and monitor restored and developed habitats. They will also remove a failing water control structure, promote connectivity for fish passage between pools, and enhance habitats downstream or adjacent to the pools.

Habitat Restoration through Prescribed Fire at Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge for 11 Listed Plant Species and the Florida Scrub Jay
A project team will restore fire-suppressed scrub and sandhill habitat to enhance populations of 11 listed plant species and the endangered Florida scrub jay at Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. In particular, the staff will augment the only protected population of endangered Garrett’s mint through seed collection and strategic dispersal, which will significantly increase the population.

Restore Populations of the Critically Endangered Miami Blue Butterfly
A project team will establish new viable populations of the endangered Miami blue butterfly over a much larger geographic range in south Florida, including on National Key Deer Refuge, Great Heron National Wildlife Refuge, and local state parks.

Northeast Region
Puritan Tiger Beetle Habitat Enhancement and Population Stabilization in the Connecticut River Watershed

Two new viable subpopulations of the threatened Puritan tiger beetle will be established by a project team from Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge on state-owned lands in New Hampshire and Vermont, within the Connecticut River watershed. The project will optimize a captive rearing protocol, enabling the beetle to be reared in the lab and translocated to protected habitat sites.

Alaska Region
Estimate Global Abundance and Evaluate Changes in At-Sea Distribution of Threatened Spectacled Eiders.

A project team will estimate the global population of threatened spectacled eiders as well as evaluate changes in distribution at marine molting, staging, and wintering areas, including in Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The team will also evaluate changes in non-breeding distribution of adult females captured on the refuge breeding area.

For more information on the 2017 projects and those in previous years, please visit: https://www.fws.gov/refuges/whm/cri/.

Nainoa Thompson Receives Explorers Club Medal, the Most Prestigious Recognition in Exploration

Navigator and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society Nainoa Thompson was honored this evening with the 2017 Explorers Club Medal, the most prestigious recognition in exploration. The award was presented to Thompson at the 113th Explorers Club Annual Dinner at Ellis Island in New York City.  The medal is awarded annually to select individuals for their extraordinary contributions directly in the field of exploration, scientific research, or to the welfare of humanity.

2017 Explorers Club Medal winner Nainoa Thompson with ocean explorer, Sylvia Earle.

Thompson was recognized for his historic work to revive and perpetuate Polynesian wayfinding and for leading the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage as captain and navigator of iconic sailing canoe Hokulea. Thompson has dedicated his life to teaching the art and values of wayfinding to generations of navigators throughout Polynesia and from across the globe. He was the first Native Hawaiian to practice long-distance wayfinding since the 14th century and consequently inspired a voyaging renaissance throughout the Pacific.

Today, Hokulea is completing the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, a journey to inspire communities to care for themselves, each other, and their natural and cultural environments for a more sustainable future. To date, Hokulea has sailed over 31,000 nautical miles around the world.

Hokulea is currently on her way to the Marquesas Islands. The canoe’s last stop will be in Tahiti where she will meet up with her sister canoe, Hikianalia and sail back to Hawaii together on the final leg of the Worldwide Voyage.

The Explorers Club also honored Hokulea at a special Presidential Dinner in June 2016 on World Oceans Day.

In addition to Thompson, Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, M.D. received the Explorers Club Medal for Solar Impulse, a solar powered airplane circumnavigation project that has raised public awareness and encouraged political actions in favor of clean technologies and energy efficiency around the world. The event was hosted by two-time Academy Award winning actor, Robert DeNiro, who introduced a congratulatory video from past Explorers Club Medal recipient, award-winning filmmaker, and fellow Ocean Elder, James Cameron. Cameron’s video discussed the importance of education, conservation, and oceans exploration, lauding the night’s awardees for their landmark endeavors and environmental stewardship.

Founded in 1904 in New York City, The Explorers Club is an international multidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore. The Club serves as a meeting point and unifying force for explorers and scientists worldwide, promoting the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences. An illustrious series of first explorations are credited to members of the Club, including the first visit to the North Pole, first to the South Pole, first to the summit of Mount Everest, first to the deepest point in the ocean and first to the surface of the moon.

The Explorers Club Medal is the Club’s highest honor. Past recipients of the Explorers Club Medal include James Cameron, for his outstanding contributions to ocean science; Walter H. Munk, for his extraordinary oceanography achievements that span his 75-year career; and Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ph.D., for his significant contributions to the welfare of humanity through science and education.

For information on the Explorers Club Awards and other 2017 recipients, please click here.

Second Annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds Announced

Program dates for the Second Annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds have been announced as September 15 – 17, 2017 and will once again be headquartered at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The Festival program will feature expert guest speakers Jeff Gordon, President of the American Birding Association, and Kenn Kaufman, renowned author, artist and conservationist along with a trade show for outdoor and birding equipment, children’s corner, bird-themed arts and crafts fair, photography and painting workshops, a birding film festival, and time to interact with Hawaii Island naturalists and bird experts. Guided field trips on land and sea will be included in the program offering.

Birdwatching! Photo by Lance Tanino

Festival participants will be able to take part in guided birdwatching field trips along the newly created Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail, and in guided boat trips departing from Honokohau Harbor to observe seabirds.  The 90-mile Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail is a cross-island link from Kona (on the west coast) to Hilo (on the east coast) that connects diverse habitats from ocean to mountain top, rainforest to lava plains.  The self-guided Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail, modeled after similar North American trails, follows a network of sites so users can take in all or any part of the route along the way. Locating and observing birds is, of course, the main event on the Trail, but discovering Hawaii Island’s unique plants and trees, geology, history and scenic view points are also emphasized.

Palila photo by Jack Jeffrey

New this year will be a birding-focused film festival on Friday (September 15) with documentaries about Hawaiian birds showing on Friday afternoon plus a feature film playing outdoors on Friday night.  Saturday’s workshops will include an expert talk from Brian Sullivan, project leader for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for eBird.org, and a panel discussion by naturalists and biologists of their last sightings of now extinct Hawaiian birds.

Photo by Jack Jeffrey

Saturday’s program options include a hands-on Photography Workshop and an Art Workshop with materials provided.  Saturday night’s Gala Dinner will be headlined by Kenn Kaufman speaking on the significance of Hawaii’s unique bird life. Detailed schedule of events is available at birdfesthawaii.org

New American Birding Association Recognition

Following last year’s inaugural Hawaii Island Festival of Birds, members of the American Birding Association voted overwhelming to add Hawaii to the ABA Area. For birders, this is huge as it has the potential to add substantially to the official ABA Area Checklist. There are at least 320 bird species documented in the Hawaiian Islands, of which 30 endemics remain. “There’s so much to learn about Hawaii’s native birds,” said Rob Pacheco, founder of Hawaii Forest & Trail and a member of the Festival’s organizing committee. “And we’re thrilled that Hawaii is now recognized as part of the ABA Area by the American Birding Association. We look forward to welcoming ABA’s members, and birding fans in general, to Hawaii and the Hawaii Island Festival of Birds.”

Sponsors of the Hawaii Island Festival of Birds include Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii, Hawaii Forest & Trail, Destination Marketing, Hawaii Wildlife Center and Alaska Airlines.

Hawaiian Airline Pilots Ratify Contracts, Get Pay Increases

Hawaiian Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) announced today that the union’s membership ratified a 63-month contract amendment that provides significant compensation increases for the airline’s 670 pilots.

Pilots approved the contract amendment outlined in a tentative agreement reached last month between Hawaiian and ALPA. The amendment takes effect April 1 and its term extends through July 1, 2022.

“This contract amendment recognizes the contributions our pilots have made to our company, while allowing us to continue to grow and compete as a world-class airline,” said Jon Snook, Hawaiian’s chief operating officer and the company’s lead negotiator.

Hawaiian Airlines reached new accords in 2016 with three labor unions representing more than 2,200 employees. It is currently in negotiations with the Association of Flight Attendants, whose contract became amendable in January.

Hikianalia Launches from Hawaii to Reunite with Hokulea

Polynesian sailing vessel Hikianalia launched from the Marine Education Training Center at Sand Island today to meet her sister canoe Hokulea in Tahiti. This will be the crew’s final stop to share the Malama Honua message before sailing back home to complete the Worldwide Voyage.

The journey to Tahiti marks the inaugural voyage as captain for apprentice navigator Kala Baybayan Tanaka. Tanaka is an educator and apprentice navigator with Maui’s voyaging society, Hui o Waa Kaulua, where she teaches about  Polynesian wayfinding techniques to children and other interested learners. Tanaka draws her inspiration and connection to voyaging from her father and pwo navigator, Kalepa Baybayan, who will also be aboard while Kala captains Hikianalia to Tahiti.

“As a captain for the first time I’m reminded of the amazing teachers like my dad who I’ve learned from over the years,” said Kala Babayan, captain of Hikianalia. “It’s truly an honor to lead this leg on an epic journey that aims to inspire the world and our home here in Hawaiʻi.”

Hikianalia is the Hawaiian name for the star also known as Spica, which rises together with Hokulea (Arcturus) in Hawaii. They are sister stars because they break the horizon together at the latitude of the Hawaiian Islands. The 72-foot canoe Hikianalia is a modern Polynesian voyaging canoe and sister canoe to the Hokulea, uses sustainable solar and wind energy to combine the latest ecological technology with the heritage of the voyaging tradition.

The crews anticipate arrival at Tahiti around mid-April. They will travel throughout Tahiti and Raiatea to engage with the local community in ceremony and education outreach as they celebrate the message of caring for Island Earth at the close of the nearly four-year long voyage. Together, Hokulea and Hikianalia will head home to a welcoming ceremony on Magic Island in June 2017.

ʻImiloa Astronomy Center Announces First-Ever Endowment Gift

The legacy of the late educator and government planner Ilima Piʻianaiʻa is being celebrated through the establishment of a new endowment at the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo.

Gordon Piʻianaiʻa of Honolulu and Norman Piʻianaiʻa of Kamuela have made a gift through the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation to create a new permanently endowed fund to honor their sister and expand access to educational programming at ʻImiloa by K-12 students.

“Just as we are marking the 11th anniversary of our opening, ʻImiloa is thrilled to have our very first permanent endowment, a fund that will benefit the center in perpetuity and enable us to share our unique brand of programming with both current and future generations of young people,” said ʻImiloa Executive Director Kaʻiu Kimura. “We are humbled by the Piʻianaiʻa family’s vote of confidence in ʻImiloa and excited about what this will mean in our second decade and beyond!”

UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney added, “This wonderful gift will benefit the children of Hawaiʻi for years to come.”

About Ilima Piʻianaiʻa

Born and raised on Oʻahu, Ilima Piʻianaiʻa (1947–2006) pursued a noteworthy career in the public sector, starting with her service as a Hawaiʻi County planner helping to develop a general plan for the island. She later served with the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority and worked on the Kakaʻako Improvement District, among other projects.

Ilima Piʻianaiʻa

She lectured in geography and planning at UH Mānoa from 1980 to 1984, administered the Task Force on the Hawaiian Homes Commission from 1982 to 1983, then held appointments as Hawaiʻi County deputy planning director, director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, director of the Office of International Relations and Affairs, and deputy director of the state Department of Agriculture.

Norman Piʻianaiʻa commented about his sister, “Even though Ilima was from Honolulu, she loved the Big Island and its people. She moved here around 1970 and mentored in the planning department under Director Raymond Suefuji during the days of Mayor Shunichi Kimura, a time when things were in a process of great change in Hawaiʻi. With ancestral roots firmly planted here, we are confident that Ilima would be pleased to know she has in this way returned and will continue to help nurture and contribute to the future education and development of Hawaiʻi Island youngsters.”

A longtime friend of Ilima, Deanne Lemle Bosnak, remembers her as “a perfect embodiment of ‘aloha.’ She personally represented Hawaiʻi’s beautiful blend of cultures, its warm hospitality and its welcoming aloha spirit. She was also a diplomat who worked hard to build bridges between disparate communities and cultures, demonstrating in everything she did a deep respect for the land and the values of its people.”

Annual distributions from the Ilima Piʻianaiʻa Endowment will support access to ʻImiloa by local elementary, middle and high school students, and may include subsidized admission and or transportation to the center, subsidized fees for ʻImiloa programs, and/or program outreach to rural parts of Hawaiʻi Island and the state.

To make a gift to the Ilima Piʻianaiʻa Endowment please visit the UH Foundations website.

DBEDT Recruiting Hawaii Companies for 2017 Tokyo International Gift Show

For the sixth consecutive year, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) is promoting Hawaii-made products through a special Hawaii Pavilion at the autumn 2017 Tokyo International Gift Show (TIGS).

During Sept. 6-8, 2017, at the Tokyo Big Sight venue, the Hawaii Pavilion will be home base for up to 70 Hawaii companies seeking to export locally made gift products.  TIGS is the largest international trade show in Japan with more than 4,100 exhibitors showcasing personal gifts, consumer goods and decorative accessories.  Show organizers anticipate more than 200,000 buyers, wholesalers and distributers to attend the three-day trade show.

“The Tokyo International Gift Show provides the opportunity to showcase Hawaii’s unique products to an international audience,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “This helps us grow our trade sector and add value to the Hawaii brand, which is recognized around the world, especially in Japan.”

At last year’s Tokyo International Gift Show, 62 Hawaii companies reported projected sales of more than $15 million.

A sampling of Hawaii-made products showcased at last year’s gift show included:

  • Fashion: casual and resort wear and accessories
  • Specialty food and gift products: many of which are only found in Hawaii
  • Cosmetics and nutraceuticals: derived from our natural ocean and botanical resources
  • Agricultural products: such as candies and fruit jams, jellies and preserves; fresh Maui-grown pineapple and onion; Big Island macadamia nuts, papaya and coffee.
  • Locally designed jewelry
  • Wood products: utilizing koa and specialty woods.

Funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant, the Hawaii Pavilion at TIGS is part of a series of initiatives DBEDT has undertaken to increase the export of Hawaii’s products.

Export-ready Hawaii companies interested in participating in the 2017 Tokyo International Gift Show should email dbedt.tigs@hawaii.gov to receive an exhibitor’s packet or apply online at invest.hawaii.gov.

Deadline to submit application forms is Friday, April 7, 2017.

Hokulea Departs from Rapa Nui for the Pitcairn Islands

The crew of Hawaii’s legendary Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea yesterday departed from Rapa Nui as they continue on their Malama Honua voyage and head to Pitcairn. Hokulea returns to the Pitcairn Islands for the first time since her voyage in 1999, when the canoe sailed around the Polynesian Triangle.

While in Rapa Nui, the crew worked alongside the Nahiku Student Delegation to help fulfill the mission of the Worldwide Voyage by connecting with the local community and representing Hawaii. The Nahiku Student Delegation and Hokulea crew activities included meetings with both the Governor and Mayor of Rapa Nui, a visit to the Kupuna (elders) of Hare Koa Tiare Care Home, and a tour of Museo Rapa Nui. Hokuleawas honored with a traditional landing ceremony on Anakena Beach, the site of historic seafaring welcomes for the small island community of Rapa Nui.

“Returning to Rapa Nui and reconnecting with our ohana and other community members is an important milestone for Hokulea and the Worldwide Voyage, marking our return to the Polynesian triangle and the deep history of Polynesian voyaging,” said pwo navigator Bruce Blankenfeld, captain of the Hokulea. “This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our shared commitment to preserving traditions, values, and environment, but also to discuss the challenges that we face in light of changes to our ocean and well-being as island people.”

The Pitcairn Islands are a cluster of volcanic islands and atolls in the southern Pacific Ocean forming the last British Overseas Territory in the Pacific. The area around Pitcairn Islands is one of the most pristine places on the Earth.

Following Pitcairn, Hokulea will head to the Marquesas Islands and to Tahiti, where she will be greeted by the local community in mid-April.  From Tahiti,  the crew will continue their journey home to Hawaii and will be welcomed at Magic Island, on June 17, 2017.

Hawaiian Airlines Joins Global Climate Change Monitoring Effort

Hawaiian Airlines has become the first U.S. carrier to join an international scientific project that enlists commercial airlines in the research of climate change and air quality worldwide. Hawaiian partnered with the In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS) venture by recently equipping one Airbus A330-200 aircraft with an atmospheric monitoring tool that will collect valuable data throughout the airline’s far-reaching network covering the Pacific, Asia and North America.

Hawaiian’s A330 aircraft, bearing registration N384HA, arrived at Honolulu International Airport over the weekend after spending weeks in Brisbane, Australia, where technicians installed IAGOS instruments under its cockpit that will be attached to probes in the front-left fuselage. The probes will autonomously perform atmospheric air samples from take-off to landing and record key high-altitude greenhouse gas measurements. They will also retrieve information about icing conditions that may be useful in aircraft safety studies. The system is expected to be operational around April following FAA certification.

“We are honored to lend our support to IAGOS and help assess the health of our atmosphere and measure climate change,” said Captain Ken Rewick, Hawaiian’s vice president of flight operations.

“We are excited to see Hawaiian Airlines becoming a partner in IAGOS. Instrumenting commercial airliners is a cutting-edge approach and cost-effective for obtaining large amounts of high quality data about our atmosphere,” said James Butler, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Global Monitoring Division, and chairman of the IAGOS Science Advisory Board. “Scientists around the world will increasingly use data from IAGOS flights to help improve weather forecasts, climate models, and our overall understanding of the Earth system. This is a great step forward for science.”

Scientists expect Hawaiian’s system to produce valuable metrics thanks to the carrier’s unique central Pacific location and network of non-stop flights extending from Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, and Tahiti in the South Pacific, to China, South Korea, Japan and the United States (including 10 western U.S. gateways and New York) in the North Pacific. According to IAGOS, commercial aircraft are uniquely positioned to collect highly relevant observations on a scale and in numbers impossible to achieve via dedicated research aircraft or satellites. All information will be transmitted after each flight to the IAGOS data center in France and shared with the scientific community within a few weeks.

Based in Brussels, the European-funded IAGOS is a not-for-profit association whose members include leading research organizations, universities and weather services from Germany, France and the United Kingdom. The program observes atmospheric data to better understand transcontinental pollution and validate air quality and climate models. Its information is used by about 200 universities or institutes in Europe, the United States, Japan, South America, India and China.

Hawaiian’s participation in IAGOS aligns with the carrier’s ongoing commitment to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment. Hawaiian is investing in fuel efficient aircraft by adding 18 new A321neos to its fleet starting later this year. Last year, the airline also conducted two demonstration flights to Honolulu from Brisbane and Auckland using a series of gate-to-gate environmental best practices outlined by the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE).

For more information, please visit IAGOS at iagos.org.

Hōkūleʻa Arrives at Rapa Nui (AKA Easter Island)

Crewmembers aboard Hōkūleʻa have arrived to Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, a journey that’s expected to take about two and a half weeks.

“Rapa Nui signifies a major cultural return for Polynesian navigation and our Worldwide Voyage as we re-enter the Polynesian triangle, the birthplace of our wayfinding heritage,” said master navigator Nainoa Thompson.

The crew will stay on the island for approximately a week before sailing on to French Polynesia.

After voyaging approximately 1,900 nautical miles over six days, Leg 28 crewmembers landed in Rapa Nui and we were greeted by long time friends and family that have been close to Hōkūleʻa for decades. Because Captain Archie Kalepa needed to depart the evening crewmembers arrived, the group expedited a visit to Tongariki, where 15 Moai stand guard to the east.

The arrival to Rapa Nui was suddenly made real as the crew stood in the shadow of these wonders that have been witnesses to the incredible changes that this place has seen. Crewmembers are using this time for quiet reflection after finishing the epic voyage from the Galapagos.

Hawaiian Airlines Welcomes Public High School Students to Inaugural Ka Ho‘okele Mentorship Program

Hawaiian Airlines is opening its doors to public high school students in a new mentorship program that provides hands-on learning about all aspects of the airline industry.

The carrier’s Ka Ho‘okele “The Navigator” Explorers Program, developed with the Aloha Council Boy Scouts, features more than 20 Hawaiian Airlines employees from diverse sectors of the company who volunteer to mentor high school students in aviation careers.

In a recent visit to Hawaiian Airlines’ maintenance facility, public high school students practiced sheet metal skills as part of the carrier’s Ka Ho’okeele mentorship program.

Earlier this week, the inaugural class of 19 students from nine O‘ahu public high schools, including Castle, Farrington, Kailua, Kalāheo, Kalani, Kapolei, Mililani, Moanalua, and Pearl City, took part in their first afterschool tour of Hawaiian’s maintenance operations. Students were given a safety briefing, practiced sheet metal skills such as cutting, bending and fitting, studied aircraft electronic systems and observed quality control checks.

“Ka Ho‘okele provides youngsters in our community a window into the multiple facets of the airline business, introduces them to a large array of skills and showcases exciting career options available for them to pursue,” said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, Hawaiian’s director of community relations.

“Aloha Council, Boy Scouts of America is proud to partner with Hawaiian Airlines in providing a high-quality career-oriented Explorers program. The students will gain invaluable career skills through the mentoring provided by Hawaiian Airlines,” said Jeff Sulzbach, scout executive and CEO of Aloha Council.

Participants will spend the next 10 weeks immersed in Hawaiian’s operations as employees share their expertise in areas ranging from cargo to flight and airport operations, among many other fields. Throughout the program, the group will also be introduced to Hawaiian’s culture of Ho‘okipa (Hawaiian hospitality), learn about educational requirements to achieve successful aviation careers, and practice key job skills such as interviewing, presentation and teamwork.

Prior to an exam and graduation in May, the class will participate in a weekend community service activity alongside Hawaiian’s Team Kōkua volunteers.

The Ka Ho‘okele program is the latest addition to the airline’s growing education outreach efforts in the community. Over the past several years, Hawaiian has conducted popular Keiki Tours for preschool and elementary students at Honolulu International Airport and it recently launched a mechanic apprenticeship program with the Honolulu Community College’s Aeronautics Maintenance and Technology program and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union. Last year, the Hawaiian Airlines Foundation donated $50,000 to Maryknoll School’s new high school Mx Scholar Program for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) & Aerospace.

For more details about the Ka Ho‘okele program, please visit https://scoutingevent.com/104-ExProgramHawaiianAirlines.