Mutually Beneficial Science
Photo: Members of the “forest” group sampling leaf tissue of Wiliwili trees for analyses at Cornell University. (From left to right) Joe Simonis, Quinn Thomas, and Mark Manuel (UH Hilo student).
The Cornell students benefited enormously from sharing with the UH students, who understand Hawai‘i's landscape and environment from a deep-seated cultural perspective. The UH students shared a Native Hawaiian understanding of the environment—something the Cornell students had not had an appreciation for before. Because of their interaction with local students, the Cornell students entered the environments of Hawai‘i thinking differently about them. All of us involved in the course were ecologists who love the environment, but the Hawaiian culture takes this love to another dimension—it is quite moving. —Jed Sparks, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University and Senior Scientist with The Kohala Center
From January 3-16, eleven doctoral students from Cornell joined one post-baccalaureate student from the Marine Science Department and one master's degree student from Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science, both working closely with the Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center and Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo, to conduct field research in Hawai‘i Island's dry forest, coral reef, and anchialine pond habitats. The Cornell-Hawai‘i Graduate Field Research Laboratory builds on an earlier collaboration between Cornell and The Kohala Center, in which doctoral students at Cornell were provided with the opportunity to work with Hawai‘i Island scientific and cultural groups to develop field research projects in areas of interest to island communities and the scientific community. The Field Research Laboratory will continue to develop such research efforts and will work with the Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center to incorporate upper division undergraduates and graduate students from UH Hilo into the field research teams.
Photo: The “ponds” group at Wai‘iki anchialine pond at the Hualālai Four Seasons Resort. Students are filtering samples of algae from rocks at the pond bottom. (From left to right) Angela Early, Moana Ulu Ching (UH Hilo student), Cayelan Carey, and Sarah Collins.
After joining the research teams for two weeks in the field on Hawai‘i Island, UH students Mark Manuel and Moana Ulu Ching will remain in contact with their research teams by regular internet conferences. Later this spring Manuel and Ching will join the Cornell graduate students on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, New York, to analyze the project data, prepare manuscripts, and participate in scientific seminars. Publications stemming from projects completed on Hawai‘i Island will be co-authored by UH and Cornell students, and The Kohala Center will make the results of the research projects available to island communities on our Web site.
We are truly delighted to bring together our friends from the Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center at UH Hilo and the Graduate School at Cornell University for this innovative graduate research program. The doctoral students from Cornell will learn from the students at UH Hilo, and the students at UH Hilo will get to experience doctoral level research and publication. The fit is really good, especially since we all push hard for excellence in research and for sharing the knowledge gained from research with island communities. —Matt Hamabata, Executive Director, The Kohala Center
Read more on the back page.
Kumu pa ‘aika ‘āina Celebrates Its 5th Anniversary
By Alexandra Moore, Cornell EES Program Director
Photo: The 2009 cohort at Rainbow Falls in Hilo. This year’s participants (left to right) are Jen Ryan, Tiffany Walker, Alex Steiger, Beth O'Malley, Alex Moore (Professor), Brad Davis, George Dang, Salley Gould, Marissa Mnich, Bridget Hass, Grace Ha, Angelo Bardales, Victoria Wells, Claire Derry, Noah Slovin, Jackie Meyer, and Abrar AlAbbad. Photo by Erika Freimuth, EES Program Assistant.
Environmental science students from Cornell University are back on Hawai‘i Island! 2009 is the fifth-year anniversary of Kumu pa ‘aika ‘āina, the Cornell Earth and Environmental Systems (EES) Field Program. Since January 2003, The Kohala Center has worked closely to develop this undergraduate field science semester with Cornell University, which is open to qualified undergraduates from any university each spring term. This year we are pleased to welcome students from Washington and Lee University, College of the Holy Cross, Penn State University and Binghamton University, along with our new Cornell cohort.
The mission of Kumu pa ‘aika ‘āina is "to inspire stewardship of the Earth through first-hand experience with the power—and fragility—of Earth's interconnected systems." As we reflect on our five years here we note how much we have grown, and grown up. In particular we have worked to understand the role and responsibilities of humans within the environment that surrounds us, an understanding immeasurably enriched by our collaboration with The Kohala Center and all of our friends and teachers on Hawai‘i Island.
In 2009 we have two special initiatives interwoven with our formal curriculum. The first carries over from last year, when we joined a community-supported agriculture program, Adaptations Inc, based in Kealakekua, in order to eat local produce and support island-based small farms. This year we are hoping to add local eggs and meat to our menu! Second, we are committed to making our entire program carbon-neutral. We have calculated our travel and domestic energy use, and will plant trees in collaboration with several island groups in order to remove the atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by our activities here.
Earl E. Bakken Science and Engineering Scholarship Award
Photo: Dr. Bakken speaks on the occasion of his 85th birthday.
I’m still active and working to support organizations that improve the health and fulfillment of life for all people in a peaceful world.
—Dr. Earl E. Bakken
The Kohala Center is one in a family of organizations that noted philanthropist Dr. Earl E. Bakken helped to found, nurture, and sustain on Hawai‘i Island. In 2001 Bakken joined island visionaries to create The Kohala Center, an independent academic institute with a focus on research and education about and for the environment. Read more about TKC’s founding history.
The Board of Directors of The Kohala Center celebrated Dr. Bakken's 85th birthday on January 10, 2009, by establishing a science and engineering scholarship program for Hawai‘i Island high school students. The Earl E. Bakken Science and Engineering Scholarship Award will support gifted Hawai‘i Island students who attend high school science, engineering, and mathematics programs at universities affiliated with The Kohala Center, such as Brown University and Cornell University. Scholarships to the Brown University Environmental Leadership Lab and the CATALYST Academy at Cornell are currently available. Read our press release for more details.
This scholarship award allows talented Hawai‘i Island youth to learn with others from a select pool of young leaders in the national and international arena. The Kohala Center currently sends Hawai‘i Island high school students to summer engineering and environmental studies programs at Brown and Cornell, and we are negotiating with other universities for more world-class opportunities for Hawai‘i’s youth. —Matt Hamabata, Executive Director, The Kohala Center
Learn more about Dr. Bakken's life and work.
Summer Opportunities for Motivated Young People
Photo: Amber Datta, 2008 BELL Rhode Island scholarship recipient.
The two week BELL program I attended last summer included several ‘firsts’
for me. It was the first time I'd flown anywhere on my own, the first time I
had attended an overnight camp that lasted more than a week, and most
importantly, the first time I have ever had the chance to meet and get to
know people who come from such a variety of places. Despite the multiple
backgrounds of the students, all of us came together with a similar
interest: improving human interaction with the environment. It was inspiring
to see that this desire is shared around the planet, by people my own age.
From this experience I have gained lasting friendships with amazing people
and find myself more motivated than ever to pursue my interest in studying
and protecting the environment. —Amber Datta, currently a senior at Kealakehe High School.
Hawai‘i Island high school students are invited to attend the Brown University Environmental Leadership Lab (BELL Program) in Bristol, Rhode Island, or Cornell University’s CATALYST Academy in Ithaca, New York. In summer 2009, The Kohala Center, in partnership with Brown and Cornell, is once again offering generous scholarships for Hawai‘i Island students to attend these nationally recognized programs for high school age youth.
The deadline for both BELL and CATALYST applications is February 28, 2009. All application and scholarship materials should be submitted to The Kohala Center. Learn more about both programs.
The Joy of Communion with Nature
Photo: Hug a tree … hug a friend. Campers commune with an ancient ‘āla‘a tree on a field trip to the leeward slope of Kohala Mountain. Campers from left to right: Kento Komoatsu, Cyrene Andaya, Ben Purell, Jade Lindsey, Ayushi Purell, Wyatt Madonna, Kolika Lindsey, David Welch-Keli‘iho‘omalu, Jasmine Almoguera.
Although they live adjacent to pristine native forests and diverse marine habitats, most children in Waimea rarely have the chance to explore and play in nature. This has led to a youth population which is disconnected from the forests, oceans, and streams of Hawai‘i Island. Not only are these habitats home to unique native species, but they also provide us with clean air, water, and food. The goal of Waimea Nature Camp is to develop in our children an ethic of stewardship for our island’s natural resources by engaging their minds through natural science and touching their hearts with the power and beauty of nature. —Melora Purell, Waimea Nature Camp Director
Spring break camp will run from March 23- 27, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. Campers will be split into two groups of 10-12 campers each: an elementary group (grades 2-5) and a middle school group (grades 6-8). Both groups will combine to create our camp ‘ohana (family). Waimea Nature Park (Ulu La‘au) will serve as home base for the week-long camp, which will include offsite field trips to exciting natural places to explore. Applications will be available in mid-February at The Kohala Center Web site. Contact Melora Purell at 808-333-0976 or via e-mail at Coordinator@kohalawatershed.org for more information.
Photo: Auntie Eden and campers at peace in Ulu La‘au, home base for Waimea Nature Camp.
Dry Forest Symposium
Photo: Ka‘ūpūlehu mauka (upcountry) dryland forest restoration site. Native plants in this photo include Puakala in the foreground; Halapepe, center; Maiapilo, left center; and large Lama tree, right. Photo courtesy of Yvonne Yarber Carter.
Dry forests once dominated the leeward slopes of the Hawaiian Islands, but the impacts of development and overgrazing have decimated these fragile habitats. Join researchers and conservationists for a one-day symposium to learn more about how human habitation has affected Hawaiian dry forests. The 2009 Nāhelehele Dry Forest Symposium is on February 27, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Hotel in Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i.
Local, state, and federal experts will discuss efforts to stabilize and restore some of the rarest plants on the planet, which are found only in remnant tracts of Hawaiian dry forests. The Nāhelehele Dry Forest Symposium will highlight restoration projects on Kaua‘i, Moloka‘i, Kaho‘olawe, and Hawai‘i Island. Many of the presentations and discussions should be of interest to the general public, and everyone is invited to attend.
This year’s symposium will be preceded by three hands-on workshops on Thursday, February 26. Jill Wagner, coordinator of the Hawai‘i Island Native Seed Bank Cooperative, will discuss and show participants how to handle and preserve native seeds. Scot Nelson and J. B. Friday of CTAHR and others will discuss native plant pests and diseases, including examples of affected plants for participants to examine. Moloka‘i conservationist Bill Garnett, Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Coordinator Mike Donoho, and Kaho‘olawe Restoration Manager Paul Higashino will conduct a planting techniques workshop.
The fee for Jill Wagner’s seed workshop is $15 per person. The registration fee for the other two workshops is $25 per person. Space is limited and no registrations will be accepted after February 13. The fee for the February 27 symposium, including lunch, is $50. After February 13, the symposium registration fee increases to $65 per person.
Confidence to Move Forward
Photo: Noelani Arista taking a walk around Walden Pond in fall 2008.
The Mellon-Hawai‘i Fellowship has put me in a cohort of Hawaiian scholars whose work is outstanding. Also, the Mellon-Hawai‘i Fellowship has allowed me to meet and share my work with Hawaiian leaders in our community, namely the members of the panel who evaluated our applications and who attended our paper presentations at the November 2008 retreat. To have our work supported by these successful leaders of our community, who come from diverse professional backgrounds, has given us great energy and confidence to move forward. To be chosen for this award in its inaugural year has certainly been an honor. I hope that the connections we have forged over the course of this year remain for the rest of our lives. —Noelani Arista, 2008-2009 Doctoral Fellow
This is the second in a series of articles profiling the first cohort of Mellon-Hawai‘i Fellows. This month we feature Noelani Arista, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Brandeis University. In 2007 Arista accepted a position as acting assistant professor in the History Department at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa. In spring 2008 Noelani served on a hiring committee as the UH History Department recruited a second Hawaiian historian, a critical step in creating the only Ph.D. program in Hawaiian History offered in the world. Noelani is now one of two Hawaiian historians in the History Department at UH Mānoa. Learn more about Noelani’s life and her work.
The Mellon-Hawai‘i Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program was established in 2008. Fellows were selected on the basis of their leadership potential and their demonstrated commitment to the advancement of scholarship on Hawaiian cultural and natural environments, or Hawaiian history, politics, and society. The fellows were chosen by a distinguished panel of senior scholars and kūpuna (elders) comprised of Robert Lindsey Jr., Kohala Center Board of Directors; Dr. Shawn Kana‘iaupuni, Kamehameha Schools; Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center; Dr. Pualani Kanahele, Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation; and Dr. James Kauahikaua, U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
New Jewel Unveiled at Kohala Elementary School
Photo: Shawnea Pagat (left) and Gabriella Boyle (right) examine native critters in the newly renovated Kohala Science Resource Center. Learn more about the Hidden Jewels program at Kohala Elementary School.
In mid-December a completely renovated building at Kohala Elementary School opened its doors as the school’s new science resource center and the new home for the Hidden Jewels program. For the past three years, The Kohala Center has teamed with Susan Lehner, a science teacher who specializes in the integration of the arts and sciences, to design and implement the Hidden Jewels program into the school’s curriculum. Students in grades two through five learn science from Lehner and apply their understanding of scientific concepts to art projects designed by artist Peter Kowalke. The Hidden Jewels program sparked a school-wide effort to integrate science content into the overall elementary curriculum.
Hidden Jewels art teacher Peter Kowalke remarked that the center looks like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. The new science center is über-cool because it is stocked with all the equipment needed to really teach science. It's bright, colorful, with permanent displays for each grade level, including: models of everything from sea turtles to mantis shrimp, books, microscopes, Mr. Bones the skeleton, star charts, insects, planets hanging from the ceiling, posters, fossils, games ... you name it. Generous funding from program sponsors has allowed me to equip the room with science paraphernalia for every discipline: chemistry, physics, biology, geology, and more. The center will become the room in which to teach all the sciences. —Susan Lehner
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