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Past Ecology Club Projects

First Green Fridays 2011

First Green Fridays:
The UH Manoa Surfrider Club, in support of the Rise Against Plastics Campaign (RAP) held First Green Fridays to increase the collective awareness of single use plastics. The aim of this campaign was to achieve a campus-wide ban of plastic bags. There were two main events in the Sustainability Courtyard on the UH Manoa campus on November 4th and December 2nd, 2011. Students encouraged patrons to sign a petition to ban plastic bags on campus, while collaborating with like minded people and having an all around good time!

Focus the Nation Event:
Focus the Nation helps student leaders and volunteers build Clean Energy Forums on their college campuses that cross pollinate academic disciplines and engage elected leaders, business leaders, and other leaders from your school’s surrounding community. Clean Energy Forums are set up in a student-led town hall style format, and educate attendees on energy issues in their communities as well as identify roadblocks and solutions to a clean energy economy.

UHM Earth Day 2010

Earth Day Celebration:
Students organized an Earth Day celebration event for community members to provide insight on current environmental issues that face our state. The objective of this community interaction is to educate the student body and the general public on reducing their environmental impacts, provide them with a means to become involved in sustainable practices, and further spread environmental awareness. Informational booths sent a sustainability message out and showcased environmentally friendly products. A film tent had several environmental films showing throughout the day for the public to view. The event also included sustainability workshops, live performances powered by solar power, an eco-fashion show, local green vendors, E-waste and recycling facilities, environmental film screening, and local, organic food.

Environmental Film Festival

Environmental Film Series:
Environmental documentaries were shown free to the public, as an effort to build better awareness of common environmental issues pertaining to our own lives, and especially in Hawaii. Concluding the movie presentation, members had a discussion with viewers about topics presented in the documentary, followed by a raffle where donated prizes were given away. The Student Activity and Program Fee Board awarded the Ecology Club with $499 to cover film licensing fees, food/beverage costs, and advertising costs.

CFL Exchange Program:
The club partnered with the Blue Planet Foundation to conduct a light bulb exchange. For every older light bulb that was received, we replaced it with a new, energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL). These CFL’s were made available to us, free of charge, as part of a fundraising initiative that the Blue Planet Foundation sponsored. Throughout the semester, we were able to exchange 1,000 older light bulbs for new CFL’s, and in the process, earn $400.00 for the UH Manoa Ecology Club. The Ecology Club used this money to put on an environmental film series and pay for various costs associated with coordinating this year’s Earth Day event on campus.

Students planting at the Environmental Center

Environmental Center “Adopt a Landscape” Project:
Throughout the year students expanded upon the native plant garden that was planted on campus by the UHMEC last year. Students learned about various landscape plants, proper planting and propagation techniques, and basic landscape design. Installed barrels for a rain catchment system, constructed raised garden beds, a compost bin and a worm bin.

Energy Audit of UHM Modular Buildings:
We received a grant that allowed the purchase of energy-auditing equipment to conduct an evaluation of energy consumption in the campus’ many portable buildings. The grant was through the Associated Students of UH (ASUH) on campus, and we were awarded $771.41 for the study. We purchased the necessary monitoring devices through Obvius Holdings, LLC, and the study is currently underway as part of a member’s senior Honors Program thesis. The idea is to measure electrical usage, apply various mitigation measures (use of sunlight as light source, utilization of trade winds in lieu of a/c, etc.), and then re-assess electrical consumption after these measures have been applied. This data will be quantified to show both the savings in kilowatt-hours, as well as the monetary savings from consuming less electricity. The goal of this modular building energy audit project proposed by members of the Ecology Club is to assess current energy usage in the over 30 portable buildings located on upper and lower campus and implement mitigation measures to reduce energy consumption. One outcome of this project will be to demonstrate relatively cost-free modifications that decrease energy consumption in these modular buildings and to quantify the monetary savings of these actions.

Planting at the East Maui Taro Festival

East Maui Taro Festival:
Several students traveled to East Maui to participate and volunteer in the 19th annual East Maui Taro Festival, an effort to incorporate the Hawaiian culture into the lives of undergraduate students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. This project helped integrate underrepresented students from different earth and life science disciplines and introduced them to protected area managers, and traditional and sustainable living strategies of a mostly Native Hawaiian community in the Hana District of Maui

10-10-10 Event:
In conjunction with the national group 350.org, students participated in the International Day of Climate Action. Students rode bikes together, to encourage fossil fuel independence, on their way to a beach cleanup.

Local restoration project in Manoa Valley:
The project goal is to restore a small area of forest near campus as a demonstration area and to encourage others to begin additional restoration projects.

Volunteered at a native plant nursery:
Eight members and friends visited the nursery and assisted with daily maintenance tasks, visited cultural and biological restoration sites, and learned proper native propagation techniques.

Summit for Sustainable Travel in the Hawaiian Islands:
Designed to address issues of environmental quality and visitor experiences, 10 UHMEC members and friends were involved throughout the organization and execution of the day long event attended by over 100 stakeholders.

Sustainable Tourism Pathways for Maui Nui:
As a related event to the Summit, 8 UHMEC members participated in a conference, attended the East Maui Taro Festival, and visited the restored sacred site, Hale 'o Pi'ilani Heiau, which is the largest temple in the Hawaiian Islands.

UHM Earth Day 2008:
Members hosted fifty Honolulu Waldorf School 6th and 12th graders to participate in landscaping a native plant garden at the UHM Environmental Center. UHMEC had a booth where members gave away free native plants, took surveys asking students what sustainability courses they would like to see offered at UHM, and provided literature on education for sustainability and ecotourism.

Environmental Leadership Program volunteers:
Members hosted outdoor recreation events for and conducted field site visits with 20 international participants on a program funded by the US State Department

East Maui Field Trip:
The purpose of the East Maui Ecology Field Trip was to inspire undergraduate students and aspiring graduate students to continue higher education in the field of ecology. The trip helped expand student knowledge regarding the conservation of endemic and native species, appreciation of Native Hawaiian culture, sustainable living, and protected area management strategies. UHMEC members camped throughout the trip in Maui first staying at Waihe‘e Beach, where they participated in the restoration of edible native limu (algae). Local Hawaiian Scientist Napua Brown led the group in species identification, use and different methods of algae restoration. Native algae (Codium spp.) were gathered, removed of invasive species (Hypnea musciformis), and entwined in natural fibers or secured to a piece of rock or coral. The fiber or rock with limu secured to it was placed back into the ocean wedge in the reef. Placement of the limu in this manner allows for the development of a holdfast and regeneration of edible native limu in the area. We then packed our tents and drove three hours past many waterfalls to East Maui Hana.

Arriving at Ohe‘o Gulch, we readied ourselves to assist the Kipahulu ‘Ohana with their lo‘i, taro (Colocasia esculenta) pondfield. The Kipahulu ‘Ohana are a nonprofit organization, and their farm known as Kapahu Farm is located within the limits of the Haleakala National Park. Kipahulu ‘Ohana is dedicated to educating residents and visitors on the “ways of old” through cultural demonstrations and hands-on activities. On our visit members were involved in weeding patches, preparation for the East Maui Taro Festival, pounding kalo into poi (a Hawaiian food staple) and learning about sustainable Hawaiian living. The proposed visit by members of the UHMEC initiates a long term effort on the part of students to play active roles in the control and elimination of invasive species, while at the same time supporting residents in the communities that are located in and adjacent to areas recognized as centers of biological and cultural diversity.

The trip concluded with a visit to National Tropical Botanical Kahanu Gardens (NTBG), known for their Polynesian ethnobotanical collection and for the largest heiau (sacred site) in Maui. The NTBG mission and purpose 
is to preserve a site, which holds a collection of plants of cultural and ecological significance. Invasive species in east Maui are continually spreading out (miconia, 
African tulip, snails) and our contribution of labor and 
understanding is critical to current efforts at eradication. UHMEC toured the grounds and was familiarized with native and indigenous species. After the introduction to the Gardens members pitched in to remove invasive species and clear the grown plants which where covering the Pi'ilanihale Heiau.

Beach Clean-ups:
Volunteered with the Manoa Chapter Surfrider in beach clean-ups around the island.