Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No Event in December!

Yellow Track will be off and there are lots of other competing events in December. So there will be no event in December. Have a great, happy, and healthy holiday season Tree Huggers! See you in the new year.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mokauea Island - November 10, 2012

Saturday, Nov 10, 2012 the Tree Huggers went back to Mokauea Island to help restore the native plants. They were part of a larger group doing many projects on Mokauea Island that day from various organizations including HPU, New Hope, Farrington High School and UH.

After paddling over to the island, the Mililani Middle School Tree Huggers listened to Auntie Joni and Auntie Kehaulani discuss the history of Mokauea Island.

Then, they planted cuttings around the fishpond from seedlings grown by 7th graders back at the school campus.

The Tree Huggers used the Big Gulp technique, taught to us by Bruce Koebele, author of the book A Native Hawaiian Garden.

After finishing the planting, we took a walk around the island. We couldn't explore the reef because the tide had already come up.

It was a great day and a lot of great work was done by the Tree Huggers. We'll come back soon to take off the cups to look at survival rates of the plants. We hope for 100%!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pouhala Marsh - October 20, 2012

Saturday October 20th, the Tree Huggers teamed up with Hui Malama o Mililani from MHS for a workday at Pouhala Marsh. The marsh is the largest remaining wetland habitat of Pearl Harbor and The Hawaii Nature Center is working with community groups and state organizations to restore the habitat.

Pouhala Marsh provides habitat for the endangered Hawaiian Stilt and other native waterbirds. On our field trip we saw stilts, coots, and ducks, among other organisms.

After a brief introduction about the history of the marsh and surrounding area, students worked very hard to remove invasive cattail and mangrove from the marsh. They all got very muddy in the process and not a single complaint was heard.

Good work everyone!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Next Field Trip October 20th!

On Oct 20, 2012 we will be doing habitat restoration at Pouhala Marsh. Please attend a brief meeting in G202 after school on October 4, 2012 to get permission forms.

This should be an exciting event! Thanks to Mililani High School Science Learning Center for providing us with bus transportation to the site. We'll be meeting at Mililani High School Gym parking lot for drop-off and pick-up.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Beach Clean-up Saturday September 15th -- Hui Malama o Mililani

Tree Huggers! The MMS-side of the International Coastal Clean-up is not going to be possible due to teacher availability. However, Mrs. Sandy Webb of Hui Malama o Mililani at the high school has invited any interested tree huggers to join their group at Ali'i beach on Saturday, September 15, 2012.
Mrs. Webb says: interested kids/parents can check in with us by our gathering to the west side of the two story brown building - we have a plan green pop-up shelter.

Please see below for details:

Join us for the annual “Get the Drift and Bag It”

BEACH CLEAN UP & Data Collection!

Saturday, Sept. 15th


Ali`i Beach Park
Sponsored by The Ocean Conservancy and The Kokua Foundation

The Plan
. 8am SHARP – meet at the gym parking lot to
catch our buses
. 8:450am – 9:15 orientation/safety/get
. 9:15am-11:00am clean the beach
. 11:00am-noon lunch, weigh in and prizes
. Noon-1:30pm – swim (by the lifeguard tower
only), relax, enjoy
. 1:30 return on buses to school

What to Bring/Wear
. Bring rubber or work gloves
. Wear MHS dress code shorts/t-shirts/tank tops
(swim suit underneath?)
. Bring sunscreen, hat, towel, dry clothes
. AT LEAST 1 liter of water
. Sack lunch
. Pencil
. Inhaler if you have asthma!

Transportation - If you are not riding the bus of have to leave early – read here:

. If you want your parents to pick you up from the beach clean up you must:

1) sign out at our lunch/first aid station with a parent and

2) work at the Ali`i Beach Park site

Our next official Tree Huggers event will be in October. Please be on the look out for meeting signs in the various school buildings.

Have a great break Yellow Track!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wai'anae kai hike and service project

Saturday September 1, 2012 marked the kickoff of Tree Huggers year two. With a fresh and large group we headed to the Wai'anae kai forest reserve with the Wai'anae Mountains Watershed Partnership folks, Uncles Paul and Caleb and Auntie Mikayla.

The goals of the trip were to do weed control, particularly of strawberry guava in a cultural restoration site, and to collect seeds of native plants that would be grown at our school's shade house and then be out-planted back into the forest. The plants we would grow could be harvested by hula halau and la'au lapa'au practitioners.

As we hiked into the forest area, the cloud cover and light drizzle helped to keep us all cool.

The tree huggers worked incredibly hard at the strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum) removal that we did not have much time to hike further and do seed collection.

Instead, we stayed near the restoration site and picked Papala kepau (Pisonia sp.). The fruits of this plant are sticky and were used for harvesting feathers from birds for capes and other feather-decorated objects. Pisonia is a genus with two endemic and three indigenous species in Hawai'i, having an Autral, Indo-Pacific origin. The seeds most likely originally arrived in the islands stuck to the feathers of birds.

Next time we will have to focus on getting further up to the trail to collect more seeds to propagate. However, the trip was very successful and the students doubled the pile of strawberry guava that had been cut by a previous group.

Thanks to all the new and returning tree huggers as well as all the parents who came out to support us! It was awesome to see parents and students working together to accomplish the task! Working with the Mililani High School group (Hui Malama o Mililani) was also great! Thanks to all that came out. Your energy and excitement were inspiring.

See you next trip tree huggers!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Palehua - Palikea Trail

Saturday June 2, 2012 was the Tree Hugger's finale outing for the school year and it was awesome! Uncle Anu from Palehua Ranch led the hike, giving his mana'o about the trail, the history of the mountain range and surrounding areas, and Hawaiian culture. Uncle Anu met us at the gate and, very handily, removed a fallen tree from the road with his chainsaw. Thank goodness he had it so we could drive all the way to the trail head.

After the oli and has Uncle Anu chanted us in towards Mauna Kapu the wind was strong and and intense as we got our first peak at Nanakuli, one of many gorgeous views of the day.
Auntie Aurora came on the hike to share all her botanical skills with us. It was great having her along to help us identify native plants.
Andrew felt the papery leaves of the a'ali'i.

The lehua were in bloom and looking beautiful!!

We went off trail on to Ka'aikukae Trail to check out some amazing weathered pohaku.
Uncle Anu shared the legend of Maui and Pu'u Heleakala.
Snails were abound, too.

At the end of the trail we could see the sea in all directions.

It was a beautiful view and Andrew and his mom enjoyed it while eating lunch.

But, we made sure to get a picture of the group with Mililani in the background.

See you next school year!

Friday, April 27, 2012


On Monday April 23, 2012 the Tree Huggers, along with many honorary members and members-to-be traveled to Palehua Ranch and learned a lot from Uncle Anu, the forest ranger who resides at the site. Auntie Kehau from Mokauea Fishermen's Association has been working with Uncle Anu and invited us to visit the site to do some service learning, learn about the site, and do some hiking.

The view from Palehua is beautiful. Uncle Anu said on a clear day you can see all the way to Mauan kea on the Big Island of Hawai'i.

Although we had to hold off on the hiking until another date due to time constraints we were able to learn a lot about the Honouliuli Ahupua'a and Palehua as well as remove some invasive Christmas Berry (Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi) and Lantana sp.

Palehua was likely a site where warriors trained in the martial art of Lua. Palehua means "lehua enclosure." Lehua were highly respected as the first warriors to die battles and the enclosure we visited was likely a training ground for those warriors. Although lehua tends to be used as a name for females it was traditionally a name for males.


The corner stones of the enclosure represent the cardinal directions of North, South, East, and West. They, and other stones, when lined up with geographical markers, stars, the moon, and the sun, were useful in telling time, marking seasons, and as indicators of knowing when it was time to voyage to other islands in the Pacific.

There are also stones within the enclosure that may have been used to learn about navigation around the island as they are shaped like and may be representative of islands in the Hawaiian archipelago.

This was a great day with a great group of students and we cannot wait to return! Hopefully our next hike will be with Uncle Anu in May.