2016 Hawa’ii Expedition


28110147230_682411e73c_oMy 2016 global Earth Expedition field experience was to discover and evaluate the elements of conservation, environmental stewardship and ecology that inspire community inquiry. I arrived 5 days prior to my Global Field Earth Expeditions Hawai’i: Saving Species course on 7/15/2016 to acclimate and embrace the beauty of this tropical island independently(Project Dragonfly at Miami University, 2018). I planned to rest, read and rejuvenate along the volcanic rock coast. During my first sunrise excursion I was greeted by a sea turtle departing the lagoon heading back to the Pacific. I was watching the sun coming up over this stunning scene. Mauna Kea to my left, the palm covered volcanic coast to my right of this beautiful lagoon when what appeared to be a large rock started moving in the deep clear pool. No it was sea turtles, it took my breath away, having never seen this amazing creature in the wild. This would be my morning ritual while in Hilo, greeting the day with sea turtles heading out to sea. 

As our immersion in the environment and culture progressed we would meet many passionate groups working to preserve the natives of Hawa’ii . The 28340506080_ed72759353_o‘Ohi’a was one of the first native species introduced this pioneer tree grows on lava rock. This species is currently threatened by a deadly fungal disease.

Hawaii has a plethora of invaders from plants to vertebrates such as deer, rabbits, pigs and mongoose.These species once established have no predation or competition causing trophic cascades in the environment. Invading species such as the Albizia, a an Indonesian tree which can be full grown in 8 28336077591_2b2c92ce00_oyears, threatens native species forever changing the habitat. This tree not only threatens the wildlife ecosystems, the rapid growth with a lack of root structure in this windswept location has anthropocentric impact as well collapsing electrical lines at an astounding rate. The Big Island Invasive AlbiziaSpecies Committee (BIISC.com), a project of the University of Hawa’ii, provides environmental education, workshops, target species and many other community conservation outreach programs (Niemiec, Ardoin, Wharton, & Brewer, 2017).  

Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge was formed to protect endangered

species and restore the native forest (Camp, R.J., Pratt, T.K., Gorresen, P.M., Jeffrey, J.J., & Woodworth, B.L., 2010). Our group was privileged to stay onsite in the University of Hawaii educational facility. At this high elevation rainfall is decreased as the majority of cloud cover is below 4,500 feet. This creates  habitat for many diverse and endangered plants, birds, insects, and mammals are found such as the Hawaiian Hawk, Hawaiian Creeper, and Hoary bat. The night skies are amazing as the Milky Way is within grasp and what about a sunrise over the clouds, amazing.

alalaOur journey included a trip to Keauhou Bird Conservation Center whose goals are to restore the forest to its original grandor including the Ohi’a and Acacia Koa species. They are also working to re-establish several endangered bird species and the native crow, the ‘Alala, who is extinct in the wild. This effort was tried yea

This immersion in the Hawaiian culture was very spiritually restorative for me. The Oli (Hawaiian Chant) to ask permission and/or blessings of our activities was a reverence centered moment that solidified our connection to the land or Inha was palatable. When entering the ground to replant the forest with the Pono Youth Conservation Corp we chanted our Oli were greeted with the response and during the traditional pause the NeNe called 28495612486_85ed857b99_oout and a large breeze washed over us as if the island approved of our activity. This deep connection to the land is more of an acceptance that we are all a part of nature not separated from it. If our communities would embrace just a portion of the native Hawa’iian land ethic our environments would be conserved and protected as they require. Community Based Conservation in Hawa’ii is a given not a concept to be taught and embraced (Dudley, 1993) 

27809658654_7654eedf30_oThe ability to ignite curiosity and caring I believe is a cosmopolitan condition inspired by skilled educators.  The goal of my continued education is to discover the key factors that inspire communities to develop environmental stewardship via conservation or ecological knowledge, or simply the joy of discovery.  To instill the knowledge that science is as Myers et al states “Science is not a spectator sport.” in a world where denial of scientific facts is pandemic (Yager, 2009). It is the crucial job of educators to instill this curiosity and caring in future generations.


Camp, R.J., Pratt, T.K., Gorresen, P.M., Jeffrey, J.J., & Woodworth, B.L. (2010). Population trends of forest birds at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Hawai’i. The Condor, 112(2), 196–212.

Culliney, S., Pejchar, L., Switzer, R., & Ruiz-Gutierrez, V. (2012). Seed dispersal by a captive corvid: the role of the ’Alalā (Corvus hawaiiensis) in shaping Hawai“i”s plant communities. Ecological Applications: A Publication of the Ecological Society of America, 22(6), 1718–1732.

Dudley, M. K. (1993). Traditional Native Hawaiian Environmental Philosophy. In Ethics, Religion and Biodiversity (pp. 176–182). The White Horse Press.

Niemiec, R. M., Ardoin, N. M., Wharton, C. B., & Brewer, F. K. (2017). Civic and natural place attachment as correlates of resident invasive species control behavior in Hawaii. Biological Conservation, 209, 415–422.

Project Dragonfly at Miami University. (2018, January 1). Hawaii. Retrieved October 1, 2018, from https://www.earthexpeditions.org/hawaii

Yager, R. (2009). Inquiry: The Key to Exemplary Science. NSTA Press.


Solar Eclipse 8/21/2016

Don’t miss the total Solar Eclipse on 8/21/2016 @ 11:39am. Partial Eclipse starts at 10:10am these are approximate times for the Charlotte viewing area.  The best views are in between the blue lines. GD = Greatest duration and GE = Greatest Eclipse.


Get all the information from NASA: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2017Aug21Tgoogle.html

Information on other eclipses visit: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEdecade/SEdecade2011.html

Night Sky watchers check this outhttps://www.lightpollutionmap.info



Don’t Miss the Eclipse Monday 8/21/2017


Get your Eclipse Info HERE: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/

Watch the eclipse with NASA here: https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive

When and where? Check out the Carolinas map: http://americaneclipseusa.com/see-the-2017-eclipse/usa-eclipse-states/north-carolina/

Want a Guide? Visit Gorges State Park one of North Carolina’s most beautiful parks

On August 21st at 2:38 p.m., the solar eclipse will travel a path of totality over Gorges State Park in western North Carolina. It will be the first time in nearly 100 years.

Gorges State Park, along with several other state parks including Carvers Creek SP, Dismal Swamp SP, Falls Lake SRA, Hammocks Beach SP, Haw River SP, Jockey’s Ridge SP, New River SP, Stone Mountain SP and Weymouth Woods-Sandhills NP will be hosting solar eclipse events.  NC State Park Link

Here is what you need to know to prepare if you plan to watch the eclipse at Gorges State Park:

  • Arrive early. We are expecting a record crowd and encourage you to be in your viewing location by 11 a.m. The park gates will open at 5 a.m.

  • Come prepared. You will be at the park for several hours. Bring food, water, sunscreen, chairs, and anything else to keep you comfortable. No alcohol is allowed in the park.

  • Be prepared for changes in the weather.

  • Bring and WEAR your eclipse glasses. Looking directly at the eclipse without proper eye protection can cause permanent damage to your eyesight. Make sure your eyewear meets the    ISO 12312-2  international standards.



Great Class

Study birds with the comprehensive ornithology course from the Cornell Lab using the Handbook of Bird Biology, 3rd. Edition as your guide. Read each chapter in the Handbook, explore in more depth using the online materials embedded in this course, then take the exams to earn your badge and certificate.


Great Christmas Nature Gift idea

Check out the SC State Parks 12 Deals of Christmas


Each day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas, we will offer a deal that will be valid for ONE DAY ONLY!

Deals will kick off on Wednesday, December 14.

Day 12 – Wednesday, December 14
’Tis the season for 20% off all online merchandise (excluding Parks Passports), free shipping, and a free gift with purchase at SCParkStore.com!  Use promo code DAY1216.

Day 11 – Thursday, December 15
Purchase a $50 state parks gift card for ONLY $35.  This deal runs from 8:30 a.m.  until 5 p.m. ONLY on December 15. To get this deal you must call 803-734-0156.  There is no limit on the amount of gift cards you may purchase.  Gift cards must be purchased in $50 gift card increments.

Day 10 – Friday, December 16
Enjoy 25% off camping reservations at the following parks:  Andrew Jackson, Barnwell, Calhoun Falls, Devils Fork, Dreher Island, Hamilton Branch, Keowee-Toxaway, Lake Greenwood, Lake Hartwell, Myrtle Beach, Oconee and Sadlers Creek. Call 1.866.345.7275 or visit SouthCarolinaParks.com today to reserve.  Must enter or mention code DAY102016.  Valid towards new reservations only.  Cannot be used with any other discount.

There are more visit http://southcarolinaparks.com/things-to-do/stories-features-ttd/default.aspx?cat=2&id=48