Twenty of our 7th and 8th grade students will be on Big Island May 14-16 to attend National Geographic’s 2015 Bio Blitz at Volcanoes National Park. During that time, the park will also host a Biodiversity and Cultural Festival, featuring a variety of lectures, demonstrations, and performances. The Bio-Blitz is a 24-hour event where teams of scientists, students, teachers, rangers, and cultural practitioners work together to conduct a comprehensive biological survey of the park. That is, they work hard to find and identify as many of the animals, plants, fungi, and other organisms that they can! During this event, it is not uncommon for species unknown to the park to be discovered. This will be an opportunity for Star of the Sea students to participate in authentic scientific field work while exploring the park’s fascinating biodiversity and unique volcanic landscape. The trip leader, middle school science teacher Ms. Cristina Veresan, has partnered with Kumu Toni Bissen to provide students with relevant cultural knowledge. The students are learning entrance and mahalo chants, as well as other cultural protocol to enhance the experience and show proper respect for the sacred place. The theme of this year’s Bio Blitz is I ka nānā no a ‘ike (by observing, one learns), and Star of the Sea students are sure to learn a lot!
Star of the Sea School BIO-BLITZ .. ready for take off!
The Star of the Sea School Bio Blitz group had an amazing time exploring the natural and cultural resources of Big Island’s Volcanoes National Park May 14th-16th. To start their trip, they worked on a service project, clearing invasive ginger from native rainforest. Students also had a chance to hike on lava fields, observing first hand how pioneering ʻōhiʻa lehua and ferns bring life to barren rock. In the Bio Blitz Student Inventories, students classified plants, arthropods and birds of the rainforest alongside scientists and alakai’i. Groups of students also participated in different Bio Blitz Public Inventories; one group investigated rainforest snails, one group successfully searched for happy face spiders, and one group discovered five species of fungus new to the park! Students also had a chance to hike the Kilauea Ike crater by day and hiked to the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater overlook to check out the glow by night! At the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival, students made traditional Hawaiian crafts, talked to local scientists about their research, and earned their degrees from “Biodiversity University.” The trip was a powerful learning experience, and all participants not only learned a lot about Hawaii’s unique biodiversity but also were inspired to protect it.
Link to Bio Blitz website: