Early each year, more than 12,000 humpback whales gather in Hawaiian waters to mate and give birth, and in March 2016, Bluecology will celebrate our partner Hawai’i Wildlife Fund ‘s 20th anniversary by offering a three-day trip that includes snorkeling, kayaking and whale watching.

single kayak whale

Hannah Bernard, co-founder of Hawai’i Wildlife Fund and an experienced marine biologist and conservationist, will lead the trip, sharing her vast knowledge of coral reef ecology, local marine wildlife – including green turtles — and the rich environment that sustains that life.

The humpback whales in the North Pacific are a conservation success story due in part to local groups such as the Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, which worked tirelessly to help establish the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

Captain Amy Venema, with the Keiki Kohola Project, will talk about her research with humpback calves and lead the whale watch excursion.

Hawaii Wildlife Fund also works to protect other threatened and endangered species, and works closely with Hawaiian communities on sustainability programs promoting traditional management, such as restoration of fish ponds and taro farms. This trip, based out of Olowalu, one of Maui’s most significant coral reefs and candidate for designation as a new Community Managed Makai Area, will shine a spotlight on why this area is so special.

This special anniversary trip will take place March 8-11. The cost is $890 per person for a triple or quad cabin at comfortable Camp Olowalu, six miles southeast of Lahaina on Maui. (See campolowalu.com). This is a great hands-on learning opportunity for families with children over the age of eight years.

The cost includes accommodations, most meals, group transport and two kayak trips. Kayaks will be provided, but participants must bring or rent snorkeling equipment. Airfare to Maui is not included.

Trip participants can extend their stay to participate in a three-day community service project on Maui, assisting with habitat restoration and planting native crops.

The trip is limited to 14 people, and the registration. To register, call 415-755-5174, register on-line, or email tripmanager@bluecology.org for more information.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-06-17 um 16.24.06

Hike, Explore, Restore with Mānoa Cliff Native Reforestation Project

The Mānoa Cliff Native Reforestation Project is an exciting opportunity that adds a positive spin on hiking! The project seeks to restore a small 6-acre area of forest, while giving the hikers a serene view to enjoy. The amount of native vegetation along the trail has been rapidly declining, which is why volunteers are asked to help remove alien weeds and replace them with native plants. The feeling of restoring the natural land was rewarding!
The trail is easily accessible, offers a breath-taking view, and is a nice work-out on a Sunday morning! It takes approximately 30 minutes to hike up to the area of forest. After helping to cut ginger plants and cinnamon trees for 2.5 hours, we all enjoyed lunch together underneath a cool, shady tree in the middle of the forest.
The entire Mānoa Cliff Native Reforestation Project team was extremely friendly and excited to share their wealth of knowledge with us all. During the day, you’re likely to come across chameleons, native birds, and other exotic animals. Throughout the hike, I learned a great deal about native Hawaiian plants, animals, and the local people. Join in on the fun! The group meets at the Mānoa Cliff Trailhead on Tantalus Drive at 9 AM, every Sunday, weather permitting.
For more information, check out their website or on travel2change.

Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea Community Planting Project

Read about Fahad’s experience here:
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~ William James
Excellent Experience in Saturday morning. The sky was blue and the sound of the ocean was my energy to save the nature. I made new friends, everybody was very nice, and everything moved smoothly. This was my volunteer experience when I joined Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea Community Planting Project. We installed the bamboo fence to protect the work area and attached the signs at Pupukea Beach Park. The atmosphere of this activity was friendly and I felt at home right away.
Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea is a volunteer-based North Shore non-profit. Its programs educate residents of Hawai’i and visitors to the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District about the importance of this special area’s marine life and protected status. Mālama Pūpūkea Waimea Community Planting Project allows volunteers to remove invasive weeds, plant native Hawaiian coastal species and help to improve rapid erosion on the west bluff above Sharks Cove. The activity was not only to get some experience, but it was also an opportunity to meet locals and make friends.

A day in Kailua with Hui o Ko’olaupoko

Our team member Doris volunteered in Kailua…

Eager to catch some sunshine, I headed over to Kailua. While there, helping out with Hui o Ko’olaupoko (HOK) to manage and protect water quality was an easy choice to make. Volunteers are always needed to help maintain the native plants in urban Kailua.

HOK’s mission is to safeguard ocean health by restoring the ‘āina: Mauka to Makai. HOK works with communities to improve water quality through ecosystem restoration and stormwater management. During the activities, you’ll become informed about the ecological benefits of native Hawaiian plants and issues of surrounding watersheds.
Afterwards, I enjoyed a rewarding, steaming chai latte at Kapala Wai Coffeeshop. Through the window, there were kite surfers making their way across the crystal waters. I couldn’t help but smile, as reflected on how fulfilling it felt to be a part of protecting the ocean’s well being.
Unite with Hui o Ko’olaupoko today! Volunteer opportunities are listed on travel2change or their website.

Planting a native forest on the North Shore of Oahu

Casandra helped planting a native forest in Waimea Valley…

11251001_928383017221988_1285175529149288481_nThe experience of hiking Waimea Valley’s restoration tour was fulfilling and educational. Planting native species for future generations is a wonderful cause and something I appreciate.
In order to gage the distance of the hike, I used my fitbit monitor. It is about 2 miles to the site of planting and weeding out and 2 miles back. At the beginning, everyone chants the Hawaiian chant asking permission to enter the valley. I found this to be very precious. The hike is exclusive and should only be attempted with the experienced guides. Laurent was a wonderful guide and made the trip unforgettable and fun.

The trail is narrow with turns and some steep ledged areas. There is loose rock as well. You get to pass some historic sites and things you normally never see at the tourist area of Waimea Valley. Wearing long sleeve shirts, pants, and proper hiking shoes is a must. There are a lot of plants you will brush up against. I wore hat and sun glasses to protect myself. I also had on sunblock and bug repellant. I didn’t want to get sun burned and I didn’t want to be eaten by bugs. The 2 liters of water were necessary. I found that I didn’t bring enough water. A 32 ounce hydroflask water bottle is not enough and I realized I needed more water. The planting and digging were fun. I brought gloves from home or my hands would have been the color of the red iron soil. I learned about different native Hawaiian plant species.

11400971_928382947221995_3620919963051420161_nWe had lunch under a giant mango tree. The vog was out on this trip, so it wasn’t easy to stay hydrated. I’m sure on other occasions you can feel the trade winds but there were none. The getting rid of invasive species was not so fun given the hot weather. Despite this being the least favorite part of the trip, I’d do it again. I learned a lot and had a really good time.

To join this activity click here.




A Week Off to Work Hard for Big Island’s Dry Forests

Christina had a week off and did some hard work:
My work is environment-focused but more likely to be in an air-conditioned office than outside.  I decvolunteer Christinaided to do something about this imbalance by requesting a week’s vacation and finding a conservation project that needed a volunteer.  Two weeks later I was on a flight to the Big Island headed to Pu’u wa’a wa’a (PWW).
PWW is a 35,000 acre State Forest & Park is managed by a very small, dedicated team from the State of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources.  The ahupua’a* is mostly dry forest but also has a wet forest bird sanctuary and coastline.
I lived in a cabin there and woke early every day to join the field team for 10-hour days of serious physical work on the land.  In my first hour they had entrusted me with the newest weed wacker and basic instructions on how to operate it.  By the end of the week volunteer Christinawe had cleared 1.5 acres of invasive fountain grass.  We wacked through rain, hand-numbing cold (ok, I’ve been in Hawaii over 10 years so 50 degrees feels cold), and hot sun.  During our short breaks we could see Mauna Kea’s new snow cover and Haleakala on Maui in the distance.
The last day they lightened the work load and let me help plant native Koa trees that had been nurtured from seed in their greenhouse.  Koas are the first to be planted when trying to restore a native forest.  With fountain grass cleared, fences to keep out feral grazers (goats, sheep, pigs or deer), and some Koa shade, a native forest can recover amazingly quickly.
It was one of the toughest week’s of work, but just what I needed to rebalance.  A few blisters and ouch-its-early mornings were more than compensated by the beauty of the land, generosity of the team, and satisfaction of helping a few more native plants grow strong.  I left with serious respect for Big Island conservation workers and an optimism about the future of this island.
Highly recommend for those who need a break from the grind, don’t mind physical work, and want to be inspired.
To learn more about PWW:
For regular volunteer opportunities (groups or individuals) and tours of a restored Big Island dry forest, Waikaloa Dry Forest Initiative is outstanding.
  *a summit to sea land division used by Hawaiians.

Join Sustainable Coastlines tomorrow

Happy Earth Day everyone! This weekend you have the chance to give back and help us keep this beautiful island healthy. It will be a day filled with entertainment, music and great food next to the clean up of Kailua´s beaches. The clean up begins at 9:30 am at Kailua Beach Park and the Earth Day Festival starts at Noon. There will be games for keiki, prize giveaways and free t-shirts while supplies last! Come join Sustainable Coastlines by signing up for free here.

26th Annual Food Drive – Help Hawaii End Hunger

Help those in need and leave a positive impact through volunteering with Hawaii Foodbank. We need your help in raising awareness and support for Hawaii’s hungry and underprivileged. Hawaii Foodbank needs enthusiastic volunteers to help raise donations and collect food contributions from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Volunteers receive a Hawaii Foodbank t-shirt. Multiple locations throughout Oahu are easily accessible by car or by public transportation.


Join this activity before the birds return

Feeling adventurous on a Saturday morning, I headed off to Freeman Seabird Preserve, a Wedge-tailed Shearwater colony. Located at Black Point, this single acre coastal property has long been a nesting area for the Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. What makes this habitat truly special is that it’s the only one of its kind remaining on Oahu’s south shore.


Hike and restore Hawaii’s native ecosystem

The Manoa Cliff Native Reforestation Project is an exciting opportunity that adds a positive spin on hiking! The project seeks to restore a small 6-acre area of forest, while giving the hikers a serene view to enjoy. The amount of native vegetation along the trail has been rapidly declining, which is why volunteers are asked to help remove alien weeds and replace them with native plants. The feeling of restoring the natural land was rewarding!