Environment & Ecology

Facing Climate Change, Part II

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Community Contributed

By Emillia Noordhoek

Editor’s Note: Emillia Noordhoek, executive director of Sust`ainable Molokai, traveled to Europe to attend the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year. This is the second in a three-part series about the Panel’s conclusions and how global climate change will affect Molokai and the world.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met at the end of last year as a collaborative effort between countries, scientists and policy makers to address growing evidence of real and serious global climate change and discuss a report on the latest findings. The day after the IPCC was released, activists from Swedish environmental group, PUSH Sweden, organized a demonstration to bring attention to the report and the lack of action they felt was being presented by the Swedish government.…

Birds for Bishop Museum

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Birds for Bishop Museum

Arleone Dibben-Young preparing taxidermy birds for Bishop Museum. Photo by Jessica Ahles

Hawaii’s native bird population is in peril, with 23 birds already extinct and more than 30 of the state’s avian species in danger of becoming extinct, according to a federal report.

However, fossil and sub-fossil discoveries and collections of specimens are providing a wealth of information that may save the birds. The first fossil findings took place on Molokai over 40 years ago, putting the island at the forefront of action and bringing in notable inquisitive scientists.

“It took millions of years for these birds to come to Hawaii and evolve into amazing species and once they’re gone, they’re gone,” said Molly Hagemann, the Bishop Museum’s vertebrate zoology collection manager.…

Monk Seal Births, Recovery Plan

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Monk Seal Births, Recovery Plan

Photo courtesy Eric Brown.

By Laura Pilz and Catherine Cluett

Even though youth of the human species aren’t permitted in Kalaupapa, babies of the Hawaiian Monk Seal persuasion are welcomed.  The peninsula has become one of the most popular spots for endangered monk seal births, with two so far this year.

According to Diane Pike, Molokai Response Coordinator for the Monk Seal Foundation, almost all of the monk seal births on Molokai occur in Kalaupapa. “Last year, we had 10 pups,” said Pike, “and all of them were born in Kalaupapa.”

Through tracking efforts, scientists have found that those females who come to give birth in Kalaupapa are not necessarily Molokai seals.…

Helping Out at Koheo Wetlands

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Helping Out at Koheo Wetlands

Aunty Arleone Dibben-Young holding the check presented by the Kula Kaiapuni o Kualapu`u Papa 4

Community Contributed

By Kumu Loke Han, Kula Kaiapuni o Kualapu`u

Students from Kumu Loke Han¢s fourth grade Hawaiian Language Immersion class at Kula Kaiapuni o Kualapu`u are learning valuable lessons in kokua and laulima.

Back in November, the students visited Koheo wetlands in Kaunakakai as part of their studies on the `ahupua`a land system. They learned that wetlands are a vital component to the healthy ecosystem of our island. They learned about native plants and animals that help to sustain our native bird population. They also learned about invasive plants and animals and how destructive these introduced species can really be.…

Advocating for the `Aina

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Advocating for the `Aina

In celebration of Earth Day, hundreds of attendees, young and old, examined taxidermies of the endangered native Hawaiian duck, learned how to check plants for invasive fire ants using peanut butter, and pinpointed areas of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, the most remote island archipelago in the world.

The community gathered at Molokai’s 22nd annual Earth Day festival at the Kaunakakai Ball Field last Friday evening to honor the values of aloha `aina and malama `aina. Kupuna Moses “Moke” Kim inspired island youth to malama `aina through the Hana Kupono program at Molokai High and Intermediate School. This year’s theme, “He Wa`a He Moku, He Moku He Wa`a; your canoe is like an island, an island is like your canoe,” is a testament to Kim’s mission to preserve Molokai’s natural and limited resources, according to event organizers.…

Rhinoceros Beetle Huge Threat

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, County Extension Agent, UH CTAHR

It moved around undetected for almost two years before it was found through a routine survey by University of Hawaii and USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine (USDA-PPQ) officials. The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) is one of the largest beetles to invade Hawaii and was discovered in an area surrounding Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. By that time, it was found in a one mile radius around the base. Red flags were raised in 2007 when it was first found in Guam, an island half the size of Molokai where a major U.S.…

Caring for Kalaupapa’s Cats

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Caring for Kalaupapa’s Cats

This cat, Spyder, is one of the many felines that make their home in Kalaupapa. Photo by Jessica Ahles

Feral cats living on the isolated Kalaupapa peninsula have become an attribute of the settlement, welcoming visitors and providing companionship for residents by lingering around homes and community buildings. But as the numbers of ferals continue to rise, gathering in colonies of 20 to 30 cats, it creates an environmental hazard to the settlement, according to National Park Service workers.

“In the last few months, a couple people have moved out and the cat colonies [they were feeding] have been abandoned,” said Paul Hosten, a terrestrial ecologist for the National Park Service.“…The health of those cats deteriorates and so they pick up diseases, they fight, they spread illnesses like cat leukemia and the problem becomes a health concern.”

According to Hosten, the settlement has experienced flea outbreaks and odor problems in the last year.…

Hundreds Testify on GMO and Pesticide Bill

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

More than 100 Molokai residents sat all day outside Molokai’s county offices last Tuesday, waiting to testify on a proposed Maui County bill aimed at regulating pesticide use and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

As currently written, the bill would establish mandatory disclosure requirements for commercial agricultural companies using certain quantities of pesticides, create buffer zones around schools, other public areas and bodies of water, and require public notification before pesticide applications. It also calls for the county to complete studies on the possible environmental and health impacts of large-scale agricultural companies that use pesticides and GMOs.

Introduced by Maui Council Member Elle Cochran, the bill resembles one passed into law on Kauai in November.…

Metal Recycling Services Are Here to Stay

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Community contributed

By David Powell

It seems that securing the proper place to store or dispose of materials made of metal on Molokai has been a challenge over the years. From Tuesday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., you’ll find Michael Diorec’s locally-owned, certified reclaimer company ready to assist you in any way possible. I found it a big relief when they aided me in cleaning up my little eye sores and junk areas. They have been at the Molokai Metal Facility for about a year now and their contract with the county runs for two more. We now have the means in place to do some serious clean-up in regard to all metal junk, year round, and for the next two years for sure.…

Maka`ala Molokai, the Little Fire Ant May Be Coming

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Maka`ala Molokai, the Little Fire Ant May Be Coming

Community Contributed

By Lori Buchanan, MoMISC

The stinging little fire ant has been detected on hapuu ferns being sold at several garden stores and big box retail outlets on Maui and Oahu, according to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (DOA) on Dec. 31. The ferns originated from Hawaii Island.

The Molokai/Maui Invasive Species Committee (MoMISC) continues to strongly urge Molokai residents not to import plants from Hawaii Island due to the current little fire ant (LFA)and coqui frog infestations there. Also to be aware that coqui frogs and LFA will hitchhike on other goods such as household items, vehicles and on you!…