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Pacific Resources for Education and Learning

Building Capacity Through Education

2011 PREL


Each plant, animal, and insect in the rainforest has a specific role. These organisms depend on one another for survival. This interdependence among the organisms, including man, has kept the rainforest in balance. As people settled and traveled to the islands, rainforests were replaced by agriculture, especially sugar, pineapple, and ranching. Other plants and animals also were introduced to the environment. Some of these plants and animals were invasive and became a threat to the balance of the rainforest.

Interdependence in Hawaiis Rainforest

Adaptations in Hawaiis Rainforest

Before people arrived, Hawaiis location made it difficult for many plants, animals, and insects to reach the islands. The islands are surrounded by ocean. The nearest continent is 2,400 miles away. Even those that dispersed well had a small target of land in the middle of the largest ocean on Earth. The few species that made their way to the islands found a huge range of opportunities to adapt to the different environments. As a result, some of the worlds most unique endemic organisms developed in Hawaii. Energy in a rainforest is passed on through the natural flow of energy among the organisms. The food chain shows how each living organism gets its energy from food, and then passes that energy along to other organisms. Human and animal activities and interactions with the rainforest have affected the quality of the flow of energy in the rainforests.

The Flow of Energy in Hawaiis Rainforest

2011 PREL


Interdependence in Hawaiis Rainforest Survival in Hawaiis Rainforest

Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii
Understanding the Hawaiian Rainforest

Hawaiian Forest Deities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 4

Understanding Interdependence in a Rainforest

Resources from the Rainforest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Energy and Food in a Rainforest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Interdependence of Organisms in the Rainforest

Interdependence Among Organisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 10

Where Have All the Rainforests Gone?

Alien and Invasive Plants and Animals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1114

Ka Nhou

Hawaii: Extinction Capital of the World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 16

Rainforest Factoids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1718 Sheila Conant and Norine Yeung Linking the Past, Present, and Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 20 Phana

Activities and Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 22

Reading for Information

Helpful Reading Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Hawaiian Words and Phrases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Resources and References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 28 Credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 30

2011 PREL

The contents of this publication were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.


He mau akua Hawaii o ka nahele

hia lehua trees stretch soundlessly toward the sun, their massive trunks covered in shaggy layers of moss and lichens. Raindrops slide down koa branches, glide over their sickle-shaped leaves, and fall silently unto the forest floor. Wispy clouds, gray with moisture, flow through the understory and over treetops, nudged ahead by a noiseless breeze. Ferns, like the kaha high up in the fork of tree branches and the hpuu down on the forest floor, quietly uncurl their fronds, revealing tightly coiled fiddleheads trying to stretch free. The air is cool, fresh, and filled with the breathing of green things growing.

Hawaiian Forest Deities

Now, through the stillness, comes a voice, chanting in the syllables of ka lelo Hawaii, the Hawaiian language, asking for permission to enter: Noho ana ke akua i ka nhelehele I lai ia e ke kohuohu, e ka ua koko E n kino malu i ka lani, malu e h e E hooulu mai ana o Laka i kona mau kahu O mkou, o mkou n,
Waikamoi Preserve

K and Hina

K and Hina are among the oldest of all the akua. K means to stand up, to rise, and Hina means to lie down, to settle. Both K and Hina each have many kinolau, a word that means many bodies, or multiple forms. K, for example, has many kuleana, or responsibilities, in the upland forest. As Kkahialaka and Kmauna, he is the god of the misty rains that sweep down through the trees, bringing much-needed moisture to all the thirsty forest dwellers. As Kmokuhlii, Kpaikee, Kpulupulu, Kholoholopali, Kpepeiaoloa, and Kpepeiaopoko, he oversees the canoe makers; spread-out district K; flaw-eating adze K; chipped wood K; cliff traveling K; long-eared K; short-eared K. Hina is present in the forest as Hinauluhia, lehua grove Hina. She cautions travelers with this advice: E nihi ka hele i ka uka o Puna, mai ako pua, o lilo i ke ala o ka hewahewa. Go carefully in the uplands of Puna, dont pick flowers, or youll get lost on the wrong path.

r t e k ab ouse elf a doo ayb Thin nds h yours self, m on the me? o e r e a fri d mak ce you ocking body h e home an noun , kn lo, any nter th bout in an call el a e you phone ng, H nge to d care i a ng shout eel stra pect an i f y s or b ldnt it you re ? ou eone ssion W mi om of s out per with

Abo t time ust w did nkut the las id youhjome? Ory mak-, hi o b .D

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Gods dwell in the forest Hidden by the mists and the low-lying rainbow Oh, you that live protected in the heavens, grant us peaceful entry Laka will inspire those that care for her It is us, indeed


Those who listen, travel softly, walk carefully, look quietly, and obey her advice, reach their destination safely. Wise travelers
Native Understory
2011 PREL

know to pick vegetation on the way down the mountain, never on the way up. Those who do not listen to the advice of Hinauluhia quickly find themselves caught up in an impenetrable grove of lehua trees, stuck on a confusing path, with no clear view ahead or behind. If you ever find yourself in this predicament, remember the goddess advice; calm down, go softly, and youll soon find your way back to where you intended to go.

Hawaiians feel this way, too, especially about the forest. The uplands are considered special because that is where the forest akua live, akua like K and Hina, Laka and Kapo, and Lea and Hiiaka. Lets get to know these akua a little better.

Laka and Kapo

Not only is the forest a valuable resource for canoe makers, it is also a precious treasure trove for hula practitioners, too. In the beginning of this section, we read an entrance chant used by hula people to ask their goddess, Laka, for permission to enter the forest. Laka is represented on the kuahu, or altar, of many hlau as a log of lama wood wrapped in yellow kapa fabric. Laka is the patron goddess of hula whose kinolau include aalii, ieie, and maile.

Lea and Hiiaka


When the kahuna klai waa, the expert canoe makers, go looking for the god K in the upland forest, they also go looking for the goddess Lea. Lea takes Kauai Elepaio the kinolau of an elepaio, a small brown and white bird with a sharp, black beak. As the kahuna klai waa walks carefully through the trees, looking for straight trunks, he also looks to see if the elepaio lands on any of the ones he likes. If an elepaio lands on a tree and starts to peck at the bark, then the kahuna klai waa knows to keep looking, because the pecking bird has told him that this particular trunk is full of bugs. In this way, Lea keeps an eye out for her kahuna klai waa by using the active elepaio bird. Unlike the other gods we have just visited, Hiiaka is not usually seen to take a particular kinolau. Instead, she is seen as being the protector of the entire forest ecosystem. Her job comes as a result of being the younger sister of Pele. When Pele covers the land with her fiery, burning kinolau, she leaves a barren, bleak landscape behind. Pele is both a creator and a destroyer. She relies upon her younger sister Hiiaka to soften the black rock with rain and the green growth of lichens, ferns, and grasses. Over time, Hiiaka nurtures the wounded land back to health, causing a rich forest to spring forth.

Laka is sometimes shown together in the forest with another goddess, Kapo. Just like K and Hina represent two necessary opposites, so do Laka and Kapo, who represent two sides of the same energy. Kapo is sometimes represented as a log of ohe wood, which is as dark in color as lama is bright.

Forest Understory

Its easy to see why Hawaiians have such a deep respect for the environment. By looking carefully, like Hinauluhia tells us to do, we are able to see the many gods present in the forest. K and Hina, Laka and Kapo, Lea and Hiiaka, all still exist today in the uplands of each island.


Forest Canopy

2011 PREL

Making Connections
Wainiha Stream

So, the next time you venture into the forest, be sure to take a moment to be silent, to listen, and to show respect. The gods are still there, living in the forest, waiting to welcome you to their lush, green world.

The forest was part of the Hawaiian ahupuaa. To the Hawaiians, the forest was a sacred source of life. They used the plants and herbs for medicine. Wood was used to build houses, canoes, and weapons. The organisms in the forest, such as birds, provided feathers for alii capes and helmets.

Resources from the Rainforest

Bird Catching

Extinct Mamo

To early Hawaiians, one part of the rainforest was known as the wao akua, the realm of the gods. It was a very sacred place and only certain people could enter after asking permission by doing an oli, or chant. Among them were the kia manu, the bird catchers. Kia manu were very skillful people who lived among the forest birds. Their task was to obtain feathers that would be used to make beautiful feather work for the alii. Feathered capes, cloaks, helmets, and khili were treasured by the alii. They were made by tying bundles of small feathers together and lashing them to a netting made of the strong olon fiber. Each feather bundle usually included six to ten feathers. Tens of thousands of feather bundles were needed for one garment. Most of these brilliantly colored feathers came from endemic forest birds. The red feathers of the iiwi and apapane were used most. The cherished yellow feathers were from the more rare and mamo birds. It is said that the cloak of Kamehameha I has around 450,000 yellow feathers. These feathers were from the mamo, which can only be found on Island of Hawaii. It was estimated that more than 80,000 mamo were needed because each bird only had a few yellow feathers.

To obtain these feathers, the kia manu needed to capture forest birds. They would do this in different ways using nooses, snares, or with their bare hands. One way was called kahekahe. The kia manu would remove most of the branches and flowers from hia trees. They would then add the sticky sap of the ulu (breadfruit) to the branch that still had flowers. Attracted by the hia flowers, the bird would perch on the branch and stick to the gum. The feathers were then carefully removed and medicine was added to help the bird heal. Another method was to use the sticky seeds of the ppale kpau trees. The sap of these seeds would not harden and would remain sticky for years. The plali, or glue, was applied to branches or long poles. The poles were nestled in places where birds visited. After plucking the feathers, the birds feet would be cleaned with kukui oil so that it would not stick again once released. Endemic forest birds, especially those that were rare, like the and mamo, were very sacred to the alii. Kamehameha I honored their value and forbade the kia manu from taking the life of a bird. The bird catchers could harvest only a certain amount each season. The birds molting season was the time when feathers were easily found. He did this because he wanted his future children also to experience the beauty of these wonderful birds.


out It Think Abory, The Menehune andothe p ed st

2011 PREL

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Makaala ke kanaka khea manu

Translation: A man who calls birds should always be alert. Explanation: The Hawaiian alii (chiefs) wore beautiful capes and headdresses crafted by weaving thousands of tiny feathers. The bird catcher would imitate bird-calls to attract birds, catch them, and pluck out a small number of tiny feathers before letting them go. Once he had called the birds, he had to stay alert and be prepared to catch them quickly when they came near. The saying advises one who wishes to succeed to be alert to any opportunity that should arise. (Pukui 2087, p. 227)

Canoe building
Rising above the rainforest canopy, the koa is one of the largest trees in the forest. It can grow more than 100 feet tall with a circumference of 25 feet. The endemic koa was the wood used for the Hawaiian canoe hulls. A special group of workers called the kahuna klai waa had a special role in the building of a canoe. The early Hawaiians knew that the forest first belonged to the akua, then the alii. Permission was needed from both before the koa trees could be cut. The kahuna klai waa carefully followed the different stages of canoe building, making sure that the right prayers and chants were used at the right time and the right materials were selected. This was also important because a canoe was built to last a lifetime. Therefore, the kahuna klai waa followed many rules from the time a tree was selected until the canoe set sail on its first voyage. The elepaio played an important role in the selection of the right koa tree for building a canoe. The Hawaiians considered the elepaio as the guardian of the canoe maker. If the bird pecked on the branches or tree trunk of the koa, the tree was not selected. You see, the elepaio was an insect-eating bird. If it pecked on a tree, the Hawaiians knew that the tree was full of insects and would soon rot. This was not suitable for a canoe.

Energy and Food in a Rainforest

The Hawaiian rainforest ecosystem is made up of organisms that interact with one another and their environment. In the ecosystem, every organism needs energy to survive and grow. The energy needed comes in the form of the sun and food that the organisms eat. Ecosystem: a community of living things and its environment Some organisms make their own food by using the energy of the sunlight. These organisms are called producers. Producers also absorb nutrients from the soil. All of the green plants in the forest are producers. The hia and koa trees, vines, and ferns, are examples of producers in the rainforest. Organisms that cannot make their own food are called consumers. They get their energy by feeding on producers or other organisms. Birds are consumers. Depending on their habitat, some of the birds are consumers of nectar and seeds. Others are consumers of insects. Scientists group consumers into the kinds of food they eat. Plant-eating consumers are called herbivores. Most of the insects in the forests are herbivores. Meat-eating consumers are called carnivores. The owl that feeds on birds is an example of a carnivore. Consumers that eat both plants and animals are called omnivores. Most of the birds in the rainforest are omnivores because they feed on seeds, plant nectar, as well as insects.


Pueo, A consumer

After a tree was selected and cut, the rough shaping of the canoe was completed in the forest. The unfinished canoe was carried down to a canoe house to be completed. The kahuna klai waa and his assistants completed the interior and exterior of the canoe. Before launching the canoe, the owner believed that his canoe was good if: 1) The dedication ceremony went well without any interruptions. 2) He was able to catch red fish on a fishing trip before the launch. 3) A pig that was placed in his canoe went to the prow, then jumped out of the canoe. These were signs that his canoe would serve him well.

Another kind of consumer is decomposers. Decomposers are organisms that eat non-living material, such as dead and decayed plants and animals. Some of the decomposers are microscopic. They release nutrients from these decayed animals and waste material into the soil. These nutrients help the producers (plants) to grow. Examples of decomposers are bacteria, fungi, and worms that live at the floor of the rainforest.

Making Connections

2011 PREL

After reading about the bird catchers and canoe builders, can you add other relationships that developed among organisms in the forest and man? Include these in the graphic that you created before reading the articles. Which of the practices followed by the bird catchers and canoe builders help to keep the forest healthy?

Interdependence Among Organisms

The rainforest ecosystem is like a community where all of the organisms, including man, depend on one another in different ways. Each organism in this community has special roles. These roles develop into special relationships among the organisms that help them survive and are important in keeping a well-balanced rainforest.

Mmaki Shrub, Home to the Kamehameha Caterpillar

The Kamehameha butterfly (Vanessa tameamea), also known as Pulelehua, is one of two butterfly species native to Hawaii. The butterfly is named after Kamehameha and was named the State of Hawaiis insect in 2009. Pulelehua may have come from pulelo, which means to float, and lehua, flower. The Pulelehua floats among flowers. Mmaki (Pipturus) is an endemic shrub found in the lower altitudes of the forest (1,2004,000 feet). The 4-inch long leaves have teeth-like edges. Silver with green, reddish, or purplish veins cover the underside of the leaf.

The Khuli Snail and the Mehame Plant

The khuli (also called pupu kani oe, which means shell that sounds long) snails are native to Hawaii. They may have been transported by floating logs or their eggs could have been carried in mud on the feet of migrating seabirds. The khuli lives under the leaves of the hia, mehame, or kopiko trees located at the elevation of 1,300 feet. It does not eat the leaves of the trees, but feeds on the fungi or algae that cover the surface of the tree leaves. This keeps the surface of the leaves clean. Without the fungi, the plant leaves are able to absorb more sunlight, which provides the energy for the plant to produce its own food. The snails can live up to 10 years. Unlike other snails that lay eggs, the khuli gives birth to one live snail every 4 months.


The Kamehameha butterfly lays its eggs on the mmaki leaf. It uses the leaves of the plant to protect its eggs from the birds. It creates a flap with the leaf, and then wraps the silk it produces around the flap and fastens it to the bottom of the leaf. Once the eggs are hatched, the caterpillars come out at night to eat the leaves of the mmaki, but return to their safe space during the day. The heads of the caterpillars resemble the cluster of mmaki flowers and serve as great camouflage for the caterpillar. The chrysalis is also disguised as a dried mmaki leaf.

Khuli Snail

Kamehameha caterpillar at home on the mmaki plant Kamehameha Butterfly Kopiko hia Lehua Tree

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The Kamehameha butterfly helps the mmaki plant by carrying its pollen to other plants, which is necessary for the mmaki plant to reproduce and continue to survive. Although the Kamehameha butterfly also feeds off the sweet sap of the koa for food, the mmaki has been its home.

Making Connections

Its your turn to make some observations. Select an organism that you can readily observe daily. Observe what the organism eats. How does it protect itself? Does it depend on another organism for its survival? How do other organisms depend on the organism you selected? Record your observations in your E Hoomau! journal.

2011 PREL

Alien Organisms

Almost none of the living things we see dailyin areas that are settled by people, in our yards and gardensare native to Hawaii. Most of the trees and colorful plants, birds, and insects we see are aliens. Aliens are organisms that were introduced by humans or arrived in Hawaii accidentally on ships, planes, or as pets. Most of these alien organisms are not harmful; however, some have endangered the native species in the Hawaiian rainforest. As a result, the native population in these forests are declining and quickly becoming extinct.

As terrible as they may seem, many invasive species are quite attractive. This is one of the main identifiable reasons why people bring them to the islands, because they look pretty. The khili ginger is a perfect example. It is a producer of fragrant flowers arranged like a Hawaiian khili. It adapts easily to wet areas and grows very easily. Its roots grow very closely together. This chokes out any plant in its path, not giving it adequate space to survive. The Australian tree fern is another invasive species that was brought into Hawaii because it was a pretty plant. This fast growing fern invades other slower growing native tree ferns, such as the native hpuu. At 40 feet tall, it is easily visible and towers over the forests. Its extremely large leaves act like huge umbrellas. These leaves block out the adequate sunlight needed for the plants below to grow. With the help of the wind, the Australian tree ferns microscopic seeds can spread as far as 7 miles away. The Australian tree fern not only hurts the environment, but also the economy. On Kauai, it can cost more than $50,000 to control its growth each year. Thats a lot of money! Due to isolation and time, these islands have created incredibly unique species found nowhere else in the world. Sadly though, Hawaii is known as the extinction capital of the world. We have lost more species to extinction than any other state. With a land area that makes up a mere 0.2% of the United States, more than 75% of the nations extinctions have occurred here. A main source for extinction is the introduction of invasive species.

Khili Ginger

Invasive Species

Khili Ginger

Hawaiis rainforests are fragile. Altering the forest affects all living things, their interrelationships, and the balance of the ecosystem. A rainforests balance may be affected by many things. Invasive species, for example, pose a major threat. Invasive species are alien plants and animals that are introduced into an environment and cause, or are likely to cause, harm to something such as the balance of the rainforest. If you think about it, before the arrival of humans, a single bird, plant, or insect established itself in these islands only once every 35,000 years. These species traveled to Hawaii on their own by wind, waves, and wings. Today, alien species are quickly and easily brought to the islands by humans on airplanes, boats, and cars. Approximately 20 to 30 species become established each year. Thats about one million times faster than our native species! Invasive species have several key characteristics. They grow quickly, reproduce rapidly, spread easily, adapt easily, and eat lots of food. When invasive species are introduced into the environment, natives struggle to survive. Invasive species quickly replace native environments and are at times uncontrollable. They live up to their name. They invade areas, such as our forests.

How can we help slow the invasion?

Here are some ways to prevent the spread of invasive species: Plant or purchase natives. Purchase plants and animals that are native to your area. Theyll be easier to raise and capable of surviving better. Ask your local nursery to show you what to buy. Protect our rainforests. Clean your hiking shoes, clothes, and bags before and after you enter a native area. This avoids the possible spread of unwanted seeds. Spread the word. Share what you have learned with your friends and neighbors.

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Australian Fern

2011 PREL

E ola koa.

Translation: Live like a koa tree. Explanation: Live a long time, like a koa tree in the forest. (Pukui 365, p. 44)

Ua elepaio ia ka hana.


Translation: The work has been spoiled by an elepaio. Explanation: Said of any task that has to stop before completion. The elepaio is always the first of the birds to awaken and call, thus telling the supernatural workers of the night, such as the menehune, that day approaches. Any incomplete work is then deserted. (Pukui 2776, p. 306)


Invasive Animals and Hawaiis Rainforests

As native species evolved over millions of years in our islands, they had no need to protect themselves from predators because there were no predators. Thorns, toxins, strong odors, and other protective mechanisms were unnecessary. Native species could thrive without any threats in unique and rich rainforest ecosystems. As people settled in the islands, non-native animals were introduced to Hawaii. These animals flourished in a virtually defenseless environment. Because of this, they eventually invaded rainforests. They now pose one of the greatest threats to Hawaiis rainforests. Wild pigs, goats, sheep, cattle, mongoose, rats, and ants are just some of the animals that can ruin native rainforests. Rats, wild cats, and wild dogs prey on native birds while introduced frogs and chameleons eat insects that are food for native wildlife. Often, one invasive animal creates an opportunity for another. This chain reaction eventually damages our environment. For example, one of the worst invaders in rainforests are wild pigs. These four-legged animals aggressively toss and turn the soil with their snouts and uproot native plants. This leaves deep pockets of soil that easily collect rainwater. Mosquitoes then breed in the standing water. Mosquitoes are carriers of avian malaria, a disease that can be fatal to native birds.
Pigs uproot plants and create pockets that collect rain water. Mouflon (Big Horn Sheep)

Once grazing animals invade a forest, they also create ways for invasive plants, such as the African tulip, khili ginger, and miconia, to grow. Most of these plants do not have natural predators to keep them in check in Hawaii. This allows the plants to easily and rapidly spread in areas cleared by grazers. As you can imagine, invasive plants then quickly take over, out competing and choking out natives. Native forests stand very little chance against invasives. They do not live side-by-side with their invaders; they are replaced by their invaders.


Pigs also quickly speed up erosion of our rainforests. When there are heavy rains, the uprooted soil flows into streams and eventually ends up in our ocean. The soil then acts as a huge brown cloud that smothers coral reefs and prevents sunlight from penetrating the water. This in turn kills the reef and marine life. It is astonishing to see how one type of invasive animal can affect an entire watershed from the mountains to the sea. Goats, sheep, and other grazing animals also cause great devastation to Hawaiis rainforests. As they feast on a plant, they do not stop at the ground; they devour the roots as well. This makes it practically impossible for plants to grow again. Eventually, the land loses vegetation that acted like glue, holding the soil in place. When the rains come, erosion is inevitable. Soil is quickly washed to sea and coral reefs suffer.

Invasive animals cause great devastation to formerly pristine native forests. It is because of these species that Hawaii is known as the endangered species capital in the U.S. With nearly 75% of the nations documented extinctions and 35% of all endangered species in the country, Hawaii has been greatly affected by invasives. It is important that we work together to stop further damage to our rainforests to prevent the future loss of our remaining endemic species. (

Banana Poka


Making Connections
Wild Boar

Were most of the organisms on the list you made aliens or native organisms? From that list, do you know which ones are invasive? What made you determine these were invasive?

2011 PREL

He io au, aohe ll kau ole.


Translation: I am a hawk; there is no branch on which I cannot perch. Explanation: I can go anywhere I please; I am chief. (Pukui 638, p. 72)

Puehu ka hulu o ka manu.

Translation: The feathers of the bird are scattered. Explanation: The person has gone off with haste. (Pukui 2711, p. 296)


Alien Species Threaten Hawaiis Environment

1961 Miconia was introduced to Hawaii as an ornamental plant. This alien plant is an invader of the native forests. Its large green and purple leaves block the sunlight from the native plants below. It grows faster than the native plants. Within 4 years, it grows into an adult tree and produces millions of seeds that are scattered by the wind, birds, and rats. With so many seeds and its speedy growth, miconia crowds out the other plants in the forest. It also has a shallow root system that does not hold the soil during heavy rain, causing landslides and erosion of the soil. Native to Central and South America, miconia was brought into Hawaii in 1961 because it was a pretty plant.

Miconia (Velvet-Leaf Tree) Crowding Out Native Forest

More than 75% of the Nations Extinctions Have Occurred in Hawaii. Before the Hawaiian islands were discovered, a species would make its way to the islands every few thousand years. Over millions of years, 750 species of land snails, more than 1,000 flowering plants, and 5,000 insects (Staples and Cowie, p. 1) developed into species that are found nowhere else on Earth. Many of these species are now extinct and many more are threatened.
Introduction of Alien Species and Habitat Destruction

Banana Poka 1926 Banana Poka, a native to the Andes, South America, was introduced to the islands because of its beauty. It is a vine with pink flowers. Its yellow fruit is filled with orange pulp and black seeds that are spread by humans, pigs, and birds. Its vines spread quickly and smother other plants in the forest.

Veiled Chameleon

Hawaii: Extinction Capital of the World

Strawberry Guava 1825 Who would have thought that the strawberry guava would be an invasive plant? The guava was introduced to Hawaii as a fruit. The plants abundant quantities of fruits are eaten by birds and animals that spread the fruit seeds everywhere. The seeds sprout quickly and cover the ground in many places.

Strawberry Guava


The plant also releases toxins into the ground that prevent other plants from growing.

Banana Poka

Once a Pet, Now Invasive! a The veiled chameleon is n tree-dwelling chameleo that can grow up to two , feet long. It changes colors y, from white to black, gra , brown, green, blue, orange be red, and yellow. It can a spotted or banded. It has eld large shark fin-like shi ge on its head and has a frin unrunning from its mouth der its body. Veiled chame apane s, but Ap leons prey on insect will also eat leaves, flowers Southern House Mosquitoes and buds, small mammals and birds. They reproduce 1826 quickly and can lay 30 to The southern house mosquito was accidentally introduced to 95 eggs, three times per the islands. The mosquito larva year. The eggs take about stowed away in water casks on 6 months to hatch. Veiled early whaling ships. It quickly chameleons can tolerate , spread and invaded the native living in all areas of Hawai forests up to the 4,000 feet eleva00 feet from sea level to 1,2 tion. It thrives in the water that elevation. the pigs created when digging di Native to Yemen and Sau out the fern roots. It transmits leons Arabia, veiled chame the parasite that causes avian were introduced to Hawaii malaria, the virus causing bird through the pet trade. pox, and other bird diseases.

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Waw ka menehune I Puukapele ma Kauai, puoho ka manu o ka loko o Kawainui ma Oahu.

Translation: The shouts of the menehune on Puukapele on Kauai startled the birds of Kawainui Pond on Oahu. Explanation: The menehune were once so numerous on Kauai that their shouting could be heard on Oahu. Said of too much boisterous talking. (Pukui 2920, p. 320)

Hahai no ka ua i ka ululau.


Translation: The rain follows after the forest. Explanation: Destroy the forest, the rains will cease to fall, and the land will become a desert. (Pukui 405, p. 50)


Why is the rainforest called the Earths lung?

The tropical rainforests are the greatest land source of the air we breathe. The forest takes in large amounts of carbon dioxide, the poisonous gas that organisms exhale. Then through the process of photosynthesis, the plants in the rainforest transform carbon dioxide into clean air.

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Two native mammal species19 alien mammal species 114 endemic bird species53 alien bird species 1,186 native flowering plants and fern species10,000 introduced alien flowering plants and fern species

How many mammals, birds, and plants have been introduced to Hawaii?

Who are the scientists you might find studying the rainforest?
An ornithologist is a scientist that studies birds. A mycologist studies fungi. An entomologist studies insects. A botanist studies plants.
land, vasiv s to the in . a lem mes bitat en isecies beco auses prob des the ha re: Wh en sp a a and c It inv lants li er An a s rapidly animals. vasive p birds ov in d ad nd s, an ibutes of spre ind a plant by w tr r s at othe year. seed hree top t ing their each eeds ant The ers er pl ion s Disp stances. eds p eral mill 1. se i d ny ev long g ma ses s . ducin ia disper ro lants 2. P icon tive p na The m r. n the yea r tha te per g fas rowin 3. G

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Not all. Many plants were brought to Hawaii to provide food and a source of income for the Hawaiian islands. For example, pineapple and sugarcane were brought in and became important crops that helped Hawaiis economy. The pineapple and sugarcane products were shipped as goods and sold to other states and countries. An alien species is bad when it spreads rapidly and crowds, displaces, or upsets the balance among the native species.


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Are all alien species bad?

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What are ungulates?

Ungulates were large herbivores. Ungulate refers to an animal with hooves. The common ungulates introduced to Hawaii were cattle, sheep, goats, deer, and pigs. These ungulates have been a threat to the rainforests. They not only destroy the native plants. Their hooves destroy the roots and cause erosion. The destroyed areas are then populated with alien organisms that grow faster than the native plants. As a result, many of the land destroyed by the ungulates have been taken over by alien organisms.


Sheila Conant and Norine Yeung Link the Past, Present, and Future
Q. What is the one famous quote you would like students to remember about the interdependence of organisms in a rainforest? Dr. Conant: The plants and animals of the rainforest need one another to survive and we humans need the forests to survive by catching and saving the rainfall for us to drink, water our crops, wash and cook our food, bathe, and countless other things. Dr. Yeung: The most important thing, not only in rainforests, is that EVERYTHING is connected. Every living thing whether a plant or animal needs the others to survive. Q. During the years of studying the rainforests, what do you consider the one thing or event that has had the biggest impact on the rainforest?

Lyon Arboretum, a living laboratory for Drs. Conant and Yeung

Q. What has been the most unique or extraordinary example of interdependence among organisms in the rainforest? Dr. Conant: I think there is an extraordinary interdependence among birds and the endemic lobelias (bell flowers70+ endemic species). The plants depend on the birds for pollination and the birds depend on the plants for food in the form of nectar. Dr. Yeung: I agree with Dr. Conant.

Q. Why is a balanced forest important to our students who live in urban areas? Dr. Conant: A balanced native rainforest is our only way to get clean water for drinking and many other things. Without water we cannot survive. Dr. Yeung: A balanced forest means a healthy forest. A healthy forest helps keep our watershed healthy. A balanced forest keeps our water and air clean!

Dr. Conant: The single most important negative influence on native rainforests is the presence of feral pigs that destroy everything on the forest floor and create breeding sites for mosquitoes that carry disease to native forest birds. Dr. Yeung: There are a couple of things that I think have negative effects on Hawaiis rainforest. One is habitat destruction. By building comfortable houses for us to live in, weve destroyed a lot of homes of animals. We didnt necessarily do this on purpose but unfortunately, there are now parking lots, shopping malls, condominiums and farms on land that animals and plants used to live on. Invasive species just like the examples Sheila gave are extremely harmful to Hawaii. A lot of non-native animals and plants are out-competing or harming native animals and plants in Hawaii. Many times we accidently bring them with us through trade and traveling.
Norine Yeung, Ph.D., is an assistant researcher at the University of Hawaii. She studies seabirds and native land snails in Hawaii. Dr. Yeung claims that she has just started her science career so is not famous for anything, YET! The most interesting and inspiring part of her work is understanding how organisms are related (using genetics and morphology). I get to visit many beautiful places (different countries, mountains, rainforests) for my job! Lastly, Im able to share my knowledge and experience with others. Thats the best part! 20

Sheila Conant, Ph.D., is a professor of Zoology, teaching courses in conservation biology, and doing research on endangered Hawaiian birds (for more than 40 years). Dr. Conants claim to fame is her 40+ years of advocacy for conservation of native Hawaiian plants and animals. She finds the life history studies of endangered song birds in the Northwestern Hawaiian islands the most interesting part of her work.

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Is there a plant, insect, bird, or snail in your yard or community that you cannot identify? Communicate with scientists at the Bishop Museum through their online forum for students, teachers, and the public. Through this forum, you could submit a picture of an unknown organism. A Bishop Museum scientist will help you identify it. Log on to

Ask a Bishop Museum Scientist

(Activities and Projects)

Have you ever observed the birds, insects, and other organisms that are found in urban (town, city, business) areas? Most of the organisms you see, such as the mynah, dove, or red-vented bulbul, were introduced by people.

Urban Dwellers

The Good or The Bad Wanted Posters!

Create a most wanted poster of an organism that is either good for or a threat to Hawaiis rainforest. See the list below. Include the following on your poster:

Select an area of your neighborhood where you can conduct daily observations (park, in your schoolyard, backyard). Record or take a photo of the sightings you make of these urban dwellers. Compare your sightings with others. What did you find out about the organisms that make their home in the city area?

Name Photo or drawing Common name, Hawaiian name if applicable Brief description Place of origin Why it is a threat or why it is good for the rainforest? Possible ways to fight, to control it, or to help it continue to survive

Whats Your Relationship with the Rainforest?

The Hawaiians depended on the rainforest for wood to build their canoes, and on birds to create the capes for the alii. Do you know how many products right in your home come from the Hawaiian rainforest? Look through your home, particularly the kitchen and bathroom. Make a list of all the products that originated from the Hawaiian rainforests. Select one product you are interested in finding more information. Find out about your product: 1. Where is the plant found? 2. Is it a native plant? 3. What part of the plant is used? 4. How is it processed? 5. Did the early Hawaiian people use the products also? Create a one-page advertisement of your product.

Names To Get Your Poster Started

Banana Poka Cannibal Snail Common Guava Common Honeybee Coqui Frog Flightless Crane Fly
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Happy Face Spider Hawaiian Coot Hawaiian Damselfly Hawaiian Goose Jacksons Chameleon Keeled Slug Koa Bug Kosters Curse

Little Fire Ant Miconia Oahu Tree Snail hia lehua

Picture-Winged Drosophila

Red-Vented Bulbul Small Indian Mongoose Wekiu Bug 22

Forest Day Mosquito Giant African Snail


Information and skills you are expected to know and demonstrate after you complete Interdependence in Hawaiis Rainforest
1. Describe the interdependence among organisms in the Hawaiian rainforest ecosystem. 2. Use the science and grade-level vocabulary words and word-part clues to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words. 3. Use text structures (cause and effect & compare and contrast) to help you understand what you read.

absorb v. to soak up; to take something in The roots of plants absorb the nutrients from the soil. abundant adj. having large amounts of something; plentiful Rainforests benefit from the abundant annual rainfall. adequate adj. having enough of something Plants need adequate sunlight for healthy growth. consumer n. an organism that eats other living things A carnivorous caterpillar is a consumer because it eats other living things, such as flies. decay v. to rot The leaves and fallen branches will eventually decay. decomposer n. a small organism, such as a fungus, that feeds on and breaks down dead plant or animal matter Fungi and bacteria are important decomposers in the rainforest. ecosystem n. a community of living things and their environment In the rainforest ecosystem, organisms interact with one another and the environment they live in. habitat n. an organisms natural living place or environment, which meets its needs to live and grow By protecting the rainforest, we preserve the habitat of the honeycreepers. identifiable adj. possible to know or recognize The iiwi has an identifiable curved salmon-colored bill that fits the flower tubes it feeds on. identify v. to recognize someone or something and say who or what it is Can you identify the birds in the forest by the songs they sing? invasive adj. invading, ability to spread easily The banana poka is an invasive species that can destroy the forest. microscopic adj. very small; only able to be seen through a microscope Microscopic organisms such as bacteria can be found in the soil of the forest. niche n. function of an organism in its habitat The niche of fungi is in breaking decaying material into soil nutrients to help the growth of plants. photosynthesis n. the process by which green plants use the sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into its own food A green plant produces its own food through the process of photosynthesis. producer n. an organism that makes its own food All plants in the rainforest are known as producers because they produce (make) their own food. source n. a place or thing from which something comes or starts The plants in the rainforest are sources of food for many organisms.

Helpful Reading Tools Understand Cause and Effect Text Structure:

Look for the authors text patterns and signal words that explain reasons or causes for an event or phenomenon.

Invasive species are alien plants and animals that are introduced into an environment and cause, or are likely to cause, harm to something, such as the balance of the rainforest. Look for text patterns and signal words that explain similarities of and differences among two or more ideas. Unlike producers that use the energy of the sun to create their own food, consumers feed on producers and other organisms to survive and grow

Understand Compare and Contrast Text Structure:

Word-Part Clues

1. Look for word-part endings: -able, -ible a. collectible, identifiable 2. Remove the word-ending to determine its base. a. collect / identify 3. Use the surrounding words and phrases in the sentence it appears in to determine the meaning of the word: Rainforest pictures on mailing stamps are collectible items. (Collectible items are items that can be collected.) In a rainforest, the koa trees are easily identifiable since it towers over all of the other trees. (Koa trees can be recognized because of their height.)

Science Words to Know

consumer n. an organism that eats other living things Even a tiny ant is a consumer. It eats the buds on the tip of leaves. decomposer n. a small organism, such as a fungus, that feeds on and breaks down dead plant or animal matter Bacteria and fungi are important decomposers in forests. They break up dead plant or animal matter that serves as nutrients in the soil. producer n. an organism that makes its own food All plants are known as producers because they produce, or make, their own food.

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alii n. a Hawaiian chief apapane n. a Hawaiian honeycreeper with crimson body and black wings and tail kaha n. a fern, sometimes called a birds-nest fern elepaio n. a Hawaiian flycatcher believed to be the goddess of canoe makers hpuu n. an endemic fern tree iiwi n. a Hawaiian honeycreeper with a scarlet body kahekahe n. one method of catching birds for their feathers khili n. a feather standard carried at the front of a royal procession, a symbol of an alii kahuna klai waa n. a guild (group that works together) of canoe makers kia manu n. bird catchers kinolau n. many bodies, many, or multiple forms kuahu n. an alter kukui n. a tree; symbol of Molokai kuleana n. responsibility lehua n. flower mamo n. an extinct Hawaiian honeycreeper with black and yellow feathers hia lehua n. a native forest tree olon n. shrub from which strong fastening cordage was made oli n. a chant n. an extinct native bird ppale kpau n. a native tree that produces a very sticky sap plali n. glue pulelo n. to float wao akua n. area of the forest where the spirits lived

Hawaiian Forest Deities Beckwith, M. (1970). Hawaiian Mythology. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. Pukui, M. K. and Elbert, S. H. (1971). Hawaiian Dictionary. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. Resources from the Rainforest Bishop Museum. (2010). Ahuula of King Kamehameha I. Retrieved October 17, 2010, from Groves, Melehina. (2010). Makalii An Eclectic Array. Kamehameha Schools. Retrieved September 5, 2010, from noeau_hulu_manu Kamehameha Schools. (1994). Life in Early Hawaii: The Ahupuaa. Honolulu, HI: Kamehameha Schools Press. LBD Coffee Times. (2006). Feathers Tickle Hawaiian Fancy. Retrieved September 5, 2010, from Ninauele, Mea. (2004). Feather Work Talking Story with Kahai Topolinski. Makalii An Eclectic Array. Kamehameha Schools. Retrieved September 5, 2010, from http:// Pukui, Mary Kawena. (1997). lelo Noeau. Honolulu, HI: Bishop Museum Press. Canoe Building Abbott, Isabella Aiona. (1992). Laau Hawaii. Honolulu, HI: Bishop Museum Press. Pukui, Mary Kawena. (1997). lelo Noeau. Honolulu, HI: Bishop Museum Press. Energy and Food in the Rainforest Department of Land and Natural Resources. Division of Forestry and Wildlife. (n.d.). Hawaii Forests and Wildlife. Retrieved October 13, 2010, from New Hampshire Public Television. (2010). Nature Works. Ecosystems. Retrieved October 10, 2010, from University of Hawaii, Hilo. (2004). Partnerships for Reform through Investigative Science and Math. Retrieved October 13, 2010, from

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Interdependence Among Organisms Krauss, Beatrice H. (1993). Plants in Hawaiian Culture. Honolulu HI: University of Hawaii Press.


Lagarus, Christina. KosmixTM. (20072010). Kamehameha Butterfly. Retrieved October 20, 2010, from Pealosa, Fernando. (2009). The Alakai Kauais Unique Wilderness. Rancho Palos Verdes, CA: Quaking Aspen Books. The Khuli Snail and Mehame Plant Hawaiian Forest.Com. (2008). Achatinella Fuscobasis in the Koolau Mountains. Retrieved October 15, 2010, from University of Hawaii. (2009). Native Plants Hawaii. Retrieved October 22, 2010, from Invasive Species (2008). [Electronic version]. Retrieved on September 26, 2010, from Hawaii Invasive Species Partnership. (2008). Retrieved on September 26, 2010, from Hawaii Invasive Species Partnership. (2008). Retrieved on September 26, 2010, from National Biological Information Infrastructure. (2010, July 20). Retrieved September 15, 2010, from National Biological Information Infrastructure. (2010, July 13). Retrieved September 15, 2010, from Pono Pacific. (n.d.). Conservation Services for Hawaii and the Pacific Region. Retrieved on September 26, 2010, from Ka Nhou (2006). Hawaiis Ecosystems. Retrieved October 23, 2010, from Staples, George W. and Cowie, Robert H., Editors. (2001). Hawaiis Invasive Species. Honolulu, HI: Bishop Museum Press and Mutual Publishing. Factoids Defenders of Wildlife. (n.d.). Invasive Species in Hawaii. Retrieved October 20, 2010, from
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Department of Land and Natural Resources. (2010). Hawaiis Most Invasive Horticultural Plants: An Introduction. Retrieved October 20, 2010, from (2005). Save the Rainforest. Facts about the Rainforest. Retrieved October 20, 2010, from Staples, George W. and Cowie, Robert H. (2001). Hawaiis Invasive Species. Honolulu, HI: Mutual Publishing and Bishop Museum Press. Phana Ask a Bishop Museum Scientist Online Plant and Animal Identification for Hawaii and the Pacific Region. (2008). Retrieved October 21, 2010, from Bishop Museum. (2008). Good Guys & Bad Guys. Retrieved October 20, 2010, from

Department of Geography. University of Hawaii. (1998). Atlas of Hawaii. Third Edition. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.


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Photo Credits Kamehameha Butterfly . . . . Douglas Okamoto, Harold L. Lyon Arboretum (Cover, pp. i, 9) Iiwi (p. i). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jack Jeffrey Photography ( Io (p. ii) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jack Jeffrey Photography Apapane (p. ii) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jack Jeffrey Photography Waikamoi Preserve, Maui (pp. 12, 3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Nature Conservancy Native Understory (p. 1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Nature Conservancy Hpuu Ferns (p. 2). . . . . . . . . . . Michael Durham, Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy Ieie (p. 3). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Harold L. Lyon Arboretum alii (p. 3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Harold L. Lyon Arboretum Wainiha Bottom Stream (p. 3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jon Faford, The Nature Conservancy Kauai Elepaio (pp. 4, 12) . . . . . . . . . . Mark Collins, Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy Forest Canopy (p. 4). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Harold L. Lyon Arboretum Iiwi on Mamane (p. 5) . . . Robert J. Shallenberger, Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy Extinct Hawaii Mamo (p. 5) .Scott Wilson/A. H. Evans, Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy Apapane on hia Lehua (p. 6). . . . . Jan Lepson, Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy Emergent Koa (p. 7) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Harold L. Lyon Arboretum Koa Tree (pp. 7, 11) . . . . . . . . . . . Grady Timmons, Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy Pueo, Hawaiian Owl (p. 8) . . . . . . . . . Jim Di Mora, Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy Kamehameha Caterpillar (p. 9) . . . . . . . . . . . Douglas Okamoto, Harold L. Lyon Arboretum Kamehameha Butterfly (p. 9) . . . . . . . . . . . . . Douglas Okamoto, Harold L. Lyon Arboretum Mmaki Flower (p. 9) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Douglas Okamoto, Harold L. Lyon Arboretum Achatinella Tree Snail (p. 10) . . . . .Richard Dewey, Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy Kopiko Flowers (p. 10) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Courtesy DLNR-DOFAW hia Lehua Kauai (p. 10) . . . . . . . . . Jim Di Mora, Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy Kahili Ginger (p. 11) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Courtesy of Forest & Kim Starr Australian Fern (p. 12) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Courtesy of Forest & Kim Starr Pig Wallow, Kauai (p. 13). . . . . . . Phil Spalding III, Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy Mouflon or Big Horn Sheep (p. 13). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Nature Conservancy Io Hawaiian Hawk (p. 13) . .Scott Wilson/A. H. Evans, Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy Feral Pig (p. 14) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Nature Conservancy Banana Poka (pp. 14, 16). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Nature Conservancy papane with Mosquito (pp. 14, 15) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jack Jeffrey Photography Miconia (pp. 14, 15) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Grady Timmons, The Nature Conservancy Strawberry Guava (p. 15) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Courtesy of Forest & Kim Starr Veiled Chameleon (p. 16) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Courtesy of Maui Invasive Species Committee Mmaki Tree (p. 19) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Courtesy of Michael Q. Ceballos Understory (p. 19). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Courtesy of Michael Q. Ceballos Mmaki Tree (p. 20) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Courtesy of Michael Q. Ceballos Coqui Frog (p. 21) . . . . . . Robert J. Shallenberger, Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy

Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) President and CEO Sharon Nelson-Barber Creative Producer Michael Q. Ceballos Evaluators Andrew Sahalie Chuck Giuli Executive Producer Ormond Hammond Curriculum Developer Ellen Miyasato Cultural Advisor Keikioewa Kapua, Kamehameha Schools Production Assistant Frances Oshiro Written Contributions Anita Bruce Winona Chang Joylynn Paman Karen Victor AJB Resources Pacific Resources for Education and Learning Curriculum Writer Science Teacher, Ke Kula o S. M. Kamakau LPCS Line Producer Kaira Resch Artist Bryson Luke Curriculum Advisors Susan Hanson Cheryl Taitague

Special Thanks To Christine Antolos John Camac Sheila Conant Javier Elizondo Lissa Fox Sam Gon Myra Hasegawa Amber Inwood Ross Inouye Jack Jeffrey Michelle Gorham Jones Hedy Kaneoka Terry Kelly Scott Kunihiro Susan Kusunoki Jill Laughlin Kai Lono Marylin Low Forest and Kim Starr Corinne Misaki-Wingert Roger Osentoski Jennifer Padua Lori Phillips Casey Primacio Lee Ann nuenue Pnua Liane Sing Sean Soon Pamela Suga Grady Timmons Melissa Torres-Laing Norine W. Yeung

Bishop Museum Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife Hahaione Elementary School Hawaii Audubon Society Hawaii Department of Education

Kamehameha Schools Harold L. Lyon Arboretum Maui Invasive Species Committee The Nature Conservancy, Kauai Program The Nature Conservancy, Hawaii