State, feds to team up to protect Hawaii forests

The state this week expects to announce a partnership with federal agencies to help landowners and managers protect forest lands.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and William Aila, the director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, plan to sign an agreement on the issue at the governor’s office on Thursday.

Kathleen Dobler, the deputy director of natural resources for the Conservation Service Pacific Islands Area is expected to participate, as is Wesley Nohara, the president of the Hawaii Association of Conservation Districts.

Caitlyn Pollihan, the executive director of Western Forestry Leadership Coalition, and John Lindelow of Ahu Lani Sanctuary, are also due to sign the memorandum of understanding.

State, feds to team up to protect Hawaii forests – Hawaii News – Staradvertiser.com

Kou trees stolen from Big Island high school

A Big Island high school is stumped by the disappearance of five large trees, which police are investigating as a felony theft.

Five 20-year-old kou trees native to Hawaii have been stolen over the course of about a week, Waiakea High School principal Kelcy Koga said Wednesday.

When the first tree was taken early last week, school officials found it odd but when three more were taken later in the week, they called police. The fifth tree was discovered missing Tuesday morning.

“It’s really unfortunate that people would resort to taking from the school,” Koga said.

Koga has since learned that the wood is expensive, used to make items such as bowls, bracelets and canoe paddles. Hawaii police estimate the trees to be worth a total of about $4,500.

Before the thefts, “they were just trees on campus that our custodians took care of,” he said.

The school’s athletic director who does woodworking as a hobby told Koga about the trees’ value. “He’s definitely not a suspect,” Koga said with a laugh.

The Hilo school sits on more than 40 acres and four of the trees were taken near the student parking area, which is away from the main road.

Koga said he believes that 10- to 15-feet tall trees were taken during the night and were likely cut down with a hand saw that didn’t make too much noise.

Rare plants thrive in Big Island Forest preserve

The Nature Conservancy says rare native plants are once again thriving in a Big Island forest preserve now that a fence is keeping out pigs and mouflon sheep.

The animals, which are not native to Hawaii, destroy native plants and habitats by trampling on vegetation. The animals accelerate erosion and pollute the water supply with feces and diseases.

The nonprofit organization installed an animal-proof fence around its Kaiholena Preserve in Kau in late 2007. It took the conservancy and local hunters another year to remove all the pigs from the 1,200-acre lowland forest preserve.

The Nature Conservancy said Tuesday the nuku iiwi, a native vine traditionally found in Kaiholena, is among the plants that has returned. The vine’s reddish-orange flower resembles the curved bill of the iiwi honeycreeper.

Rare plants thrive in Big Island Forest preserve – Hawaii News – Staradvertiser.com

The Green Leaf» Grow aquaponics, Grow Hawaiian

The Green House is offering three workshops on Saturday, April 2.

How Does Your Garden Grow…Backyard Aquaponics
Environmental Engineer Jeremai Cann, aka Dr. Sustainability, will lead this workshop covering everything you need to know to start your own aquaponics system (organic gardening with fish and plants). Grow your own dinner and lessen your reliance on imported food!
The Green House
Saturday, April 2nd
10:00 – 11:30pm
Fee $20

“Turn used water into real savings” — Greywater Harvesting
Jeremai Cann will lead this workshop on how to create your own “greywater” catchment system. Greywater refers to the reuse of water drained from baths, showers, washing machines, and sinks for irrigation and other water conservation applications. Reduce your use of tap water while helping the environment and lower your monthly water bill.
The Green House
Saturday, April 2nd
2:00-3:30pm
Fee: $20

It’s Easy Being Clean…Natural Green Cleaning Recipes
Learn how to whip up a batch of handmade soap and explore simple cleaning recipes that are safe, effective, inexpensive. You may already have many of the ingredients in your kitchen cupboards. A booklet of natural cleaning recipes will also be shared.
The Green House
Saturday, April 2nd
2:00-3:30pm
Fee: $20

Advanced registration required for all workshops.

Go to www.thegreenhousehawaii.com to register online, or call (808) 524-8427.

Fight continues to spare rain forest from Big Island wild fire

National Park Service firefighters have spent the week trying to prevent the wild fire ignited by Kilauea Volcano from spreading through a protected rain forest that is inhabited by endangered Hawaiian plants and animals.

Nearly 100 acres of the 2,750-acre east rift zone’s special ecological area, an intact lowland rain forest, have already destroyed in the fire ignited March 5 by an eruption at the Kamoamoa fissure.

As of today, the Napau wildfire on the east rift zone of the Big Island’s Kilauea volcano has destroyed 2,000 acres approximately seven miles southeast of the Kilauea Visitor Center.

The area is the home of the endangered Hawaiian bat, Hawaiian hawk, and other uniquely Hawaiian plants and animals such as Hawaiian thrush, lama and sandalwood trees, happy face spiders, carnivorous caterpillars, and Hawaiian honeycreepers said Gary Wuchner, National Park Service fire information spokesman.

Mardi Lane, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman, described the area as “pristine.”

“It best represents what Hawaii was and is a seed source for plants and refuge for birds,” Lane said.

“It is a living laboratory of Hawaiian plants and animals.”

Firefighters will be working to keep flames from spreading beyond the 100 acres of the refuge

UH gardening gurus set invasive-species classes

Hawaii gardeners have the advantage of a year-round growing season that allows us to pick up plants any time of year and add them to our backyard collection. And local garden centers carry an abundance of ornamental shrubs, trees and herbs from which to choose.

The University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service wants to help home gardeners to be knowledgeable when choosing plant material. The UH Master Gardeners on Oahu have teamed up with the Hawaii Invasive Species Council to provide classes and demonstrations to the public. (See the Star-Advertiser’s Home & Garden calendar for class listings.)

What is an invasive species? Technically, according to HISC, an invasive species is an alien species — plant, animal, or microbe transported by humans to a location outside its native range — whose introduction has caused or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

Basically, foreign plant material that propagates at warp speed and those seeds or plant parts that can travel long distances to naturally forested areas are termed invasive. These plants often demonstrate rapid and aggressive growth, production of numerous seeds that are spread easily by wind, wing or water, and the ability to grow under many different soil and climatic conditions.

What is the impact of invasive species? It’s the plants whose “keiki” reach the natural forested areas that take the largest toll on our native species and ecosystems. They threaten native plant habitats, reducing the number of native plants and affecting plant biodiversity, as well as the insect biodiversity that depends on those plants.

Maui Association of Landscape Professionals

MALP Educational Meeting—Free to the public

Date: Tuesday March 22, 2011

Place: Maui Community Service Bldg next to CTHAR Extension Services (Map) on the UH Maui campus.

Time: Pupus will be served at 6:30 pm and the talk will begin at 7:00.

PLANT PONO

by Heidi Leianuenue Bornhorst, garden columnist for the Honolulu Star Advertiser and author of the book: Growing Native Hawaiian Plants.

Heidi’s presentation is entitled PLANT PONO , in which she will speak and show a PowerPoint about the new and upcoming Plant Pono website, a tool to help grow and nurture our green industry of Hawaii and our forests and natural areas as well, by growing, designing, planting and maintaining high value plants that are not invasive weeds.

Heidi’s credentials also include serving as Landscape Director at the Hale Koa Hotel; Director/Supervisor/Plant Propagator at the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, Nature Conservancy Hawaii Oahu/ Lanai Preserves Manager; Education Coordinator HPCC/National Tropical Botanical garden; Horticulturalist, Sustainable Landscape Designer & Consultant, Arborist, and VIP Tour Guide.

She specializes in native Hawaiian and drought tolerant plants, and sustainable and edible landscapes. Heidi is also a Founding and Board member of the Halawa Xeriscape Garden.

Maui Association of Landscape Professionals

New gardens director to infuse more native culture

KAHULUI The new executive director of Maui Nui Botanical Gardens wants to cultivate public interest in what she calls “a cultural gem in the middle of Kahului.”

Joylynn Jennifer-Nedine Mailemekalokelanionakupuna Nakoa Kaho’okele Paman took over as head of the 7-acre facility last week.

She succeeds Lisa Schattenburg-Raymond, who is teaching at the University of Hawaii Maui College, and Anders Lyons, who served as interim executive director.

Paman’s vision for Maui Nui Botanical Gardens may sprout partially from having studied Hawaiian language for 18 years.

“My vision here is to infuse the Hawaiian culture even more than it already is into this place. I come from a strong Hawaiian culture and language background, and so I just see the potential in sharing our Hawaiian culture with the community.

“The board wants to make sure that people know about this place. . . . It’s like a cultural gem in the middle of Kahului that we really need to share with everyone else.”

4 Hawaii land trusts merge, form statewide group

Four land conservation trusts from across Hawaii are merging to create a statewide organization dedicated to protecting land from development.

The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust officially begins operation on New Year’s Day.

It’s being formed by the merger of the Kauai Public Land Trust, Oahu Land Trust, Maui Coastal Land Trust and Hawaii Island Land Trust.

The groups said in a statement Friday the merger puts them in a better position to attract broad financial support and save more land.

The headquarters of the combined origination will initially be based on Maui. Existing offices will be maintained on Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii islands.

All employees are being retained, giving the combined group a staff of ten.

4 Hawaii land trusts merge, form statewide group – Hawaii News – Staradvertiser.com