Around the world, no matter in what city or country you find yourself, loved ones, friends and family gather together to celebrate the gifts of the season. Thanksgiving, more than any other holiday, is about just that—giving thanks for all that life has blessed us with. [...]
November 26, 2014
November 20, 2014
November 18, 2014
For centuries in the Pacific Islands, families have paid close attention to their part in maintaining a balance with nature’s abundance, abiding by the laws of give and take in order to preserve all the species involved. Subsistence fishing—the feeding of one’s family, one’s ‘ohana—was never taken to excess, ensuring that only enough fish were taken to feed the family with perhaps a slight reserve for future days. Survival may have relied as well on selling a small number of fish, tending small-scale agriculture, and other work. [...]
November 18, 2014
November 18, 2014
For the toxophilites of Oahu, there are a few archery range options to practice shooting.
Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park (CORP) Archery Range
The Central Oahu Regional Park is a spacious 269-acre public park that has almost everything a sport enthusiast could desire, including an archery range. The Patsy T. Mink COPR Archery Range, also referred to as the Waipio Archery Range by some, is located off Kamehameha Highway in Waipio. This 20-lane archery range has bales ranging from 10 to 110 yards and is open from sunrise to sunset every day. The range is free to use, but you must bring your own equipment. The area is quite exposed, so it’s a good idea to bring water and sun protection along with your archery equipment.
Pu ' u O Kapolei Archery Range
The Pu ' u O Kapolei Archery Range sits just off Makakilo Drive at the Kapolei Regional Park, which was once known as Fort Barrette, an old WII compound. The City and County of Honolulu now owns the land, but a local group called the Bushwhackers Archery Club maintains the range. It’s open from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as some holidays. Admission is free, but they do ask for a $1 donation per day to offset the cost of targets. You also have the option of joining the Bushwhackers Archery Club for $30, one benefit being that you can use the archery facility any time of the week. The range is comprised of four parts: a FITA range, an indoor range, a static range and a 3-D course. The Kapolei Archery Range occasionally holds tournaments, schedules clean-up days and has club meetings. BYOE (Bring Your Own Equipment)
(CLOSED) Kapiolani Archery Range
Sadly the Kapiolani Archery Range at Queen Kapiolani Regional Park in Waikiki has been closed since April 2012 due to safety concerns. A patron playing on the tennis courts near the range found an arrow that had been launched over 500ft by a novice shooter. Over two years ago the Department of Parks and Recreation said the range will be reopened, but with limitations. One regular shooter at the Koko Head range said, “It doesn’t look promising,” as it hasn’t happened yet and most of the signs, bales and bulletin board have been removed. A letter dated April 2014 from Mayor Kirk Caldwell stated that he has tasked his “…staff to develop a plan that will consider the re-opening of the archery range without sacrificing any safety concerns for all users of Kapiolani Park.”
Koko Head Shooting Complex
Oahu’s only public shooting range is the Koko Head Shooting Complex located just outside of Hawaii Kai. A variety of firearms ranges are open variably and the self-policed archery range is open every day from dawn to dusk. Eight bales are provided and you may bring your own target faces. Some archers hang old body boards to shoot at. This free of cost archery range is entirely exposed, but provides a beautiful background of Koko Head. A hat and water is recommended and BYOE.
November 17, 2014
November 14, 2014
Chameleons are one of the world’s most notably charismatic reptiles, and they've become synonymous with that biological disappearing act―camouflage. But connoted as an unwanted invasive species? That’s not a good color on them. [...]
November 13, 2014
A Gentle Giant Big, blotched, and beautiful, the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the world’s largest fish. And reaching lengths of nearly forty-feet long and weighing, in excess of twenty-tons, it’s rightfully so. Coincidentally, the second largest fish species is also a filter-feeding Jaws of sorts, the basking shark. But at just a “mere” twenty-five feet on average, its feeding gape is dwarfed by that of the whale sharks.
Nomadic by nature, whale sharks occupy the tropical waters of the world, encompassing the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. But despite their gypsy-inclined tendencies, they do exhibit what marine biologist called “residency migratory habits.” And, quite simply, patterns are temporal-sensitive times where otherwise migratory animals will reside in one area for an extended period—sexual reproduction and feeding events are often the catalyst for such lengthy residencies. Here’s an allusion that may ring-clear to the masses: Celebrities are often portrayed by our tabloids and social media outlets as always on-the-go, happily living out their days at cruising altitude. But occasionally, such a celebrity will take-up residency at a ritzy Las Vegas casino: Cher, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Carlos Santana... the list goes on. Got it, get it?
Hawaii offers-up quite the ecological gold-mind for these open-ocean dwellers. The plankton-rich waters off the coast of Hawaii allow these animals to reside comfortably during their stay. And what’s interesting enough is that the animals that reside in those waters appear to be mature or adolescent sharks; no newly-born animals have been recorded. What does this imply, exactly? Well, this factoid may very well represent a pivotal-point in a whale shark's reproductive cycle. These residential animals are more than likely taking full-advantage of the copious amounts of sustenance to support the matting patterns that take place in the open ocean. A whale shark mating’s never been recorded in the shallows of our world’s oceans—but they’re obviously reproducing. And viviparously, mind. Most sharks produce oviparously via fruited eggs that are known as “mermaid purses,” later hatching into miniature versions of their parental units. Female whale sharks, on the other hand, produce up-to a thousand unfertilized eggs that will later be internally fertilized by a suitable male; granted, not every egg will be fertilized. Once gestation has ran its course, the female will give birth to the viable young, populating the nomadic open oceans.
Big Shark, Big Business Docile and curious by nature, whale sharks are a treat to see on a whale-watching odyssey. In the island state of Hawaii, most animals can be seen frequenting the channels between Lanai and Molokai, as well as the Penguin Banks. Some animals will often approach a sea-going vessel to “greet” its sea goers, providing an unforgettable experience. When was the last time you were nonchalantly approached by a thirty-seven foot fish that, if it could communicate with our species, would utter, “Oh, hey guys. What’s with the legs?” And being that whale watching often nets an annual revenue of nine-million dollars for Hawaii, it’s a big business.
Whale sharks are considered a “Vulnerable” (VU) species by the IUCN Red list. And sadly, many whale sharks meet their end at blades of a passing boat propeller. Be mindful, be present—invest in a propeller guard. “Big, blotched, and beautiful [and thriving],” let’s try to keep it that way.
―IUCN Red List Contributor and green journalist, Matthew Charnock
November 12, 2014
Birds embody boundless freedom, a creature capable of gliding on air stream currents toward new, foreign destinations. But a few avian species weren't so anatomically blessed—they couldn't fly from their presentable problems. And in the end, it became too much for two of Hawaii’s endemic birds—the Hawaii and Laysan rail. Here’s the story behind how they ran into the guardrails of sustainability.
The Birds of an Island's Past
The Laysan rail (Porzana palmeri) is a flightless bird species, only endemic to the small island of Laysan. Laysan was not only home to this uniquely flightless bird, but the island represented a keystone habitat for migratory seabirds as well; it’s often be noted as one of the most important sea birding colonies in all of the United States. And not only were these dorsally brown colored rails flightless—they were also diminutive inside. Averaging no more than half-a-foot in length, Laysan rails were noted for scurrying about the island’s forest floors where they would feast on small to medium sized invertebrates, i.e. blow and brine flies.
Hawaii’s state-named rail, the Hawaii rail (Porzana sandwichensis) was once found on the “Big Island,” as opposed to being endemically found on a smaller off-shore island. And being that there were distinctly different morphological populations, speculation arouse that the Hawaii rail wasn't just a single species—it quite possibly may have contained three genetically distinct populations. Between the different color mutations that have been documented and the sizable variations of “same-“species populations, it’s likely that factoid would've held-up, had these birds not later became extinct. Like their smaller kin, Hawaii rails occupied the same habitat niche as Laysan rails; they were, first and foremost, small insectivorous birds that resided on the forest floor.
Off the lane and into the guard rails In a world where man’s ever-present shadow looms over every biotic being, it’s an all too common consequence of living in the ecology name “anthropocene era,” the age of human facilitated extinction. And unfortunately, the rail birds of Hawaii didn't fair too well. And it was myriad human footprints that lead to their descent into extinction’s heavily-occupied past. Both species of now-extinct rail birds were brought to extinction's knee-caps by one of our darkest practices—the introduction of alien species. Because of the near presence of food competition and high-tiered predators, feral dogs and established populations of European rats were most to blame for the extinction of the Hawaii and Laysan rail birds.
As with any great tragedy, there’s a lesson to be taken away. And that lesson, in this context, couldn’t be clearer—the establishments of invasive species often come at the cost of the endemically found ones. Be mindful of where you keep your animals, never shying away from housing them indoors. Be mindful, we live in a shared world. And some animals can’t simply fly far away from our mistakes.
November 10, 2014
You are walking through a jungle or other less-traveled area on one of the Hawaiian Islands. Not expecting to find a structure in these lush lands, you are surprised to stumble upon one, perhaps simply low walls or outlines, largely of stone. It can be the size of a field where teams might compete, or no more than a rectangular or square, sometimes round or crescent-shaped, placement of stones. There is no doubt that this creation was purposeful. You come to understand it is a place of worship—a shrine for gods and goddesses, a sacred place for commoners, a refuge—possibly dating back over 800 years. [...]