Posted on October 8, 2017
The grade 3/4 students are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to learn and also make a difference to our precious water supply. Mr. Corey Yap, a scientist from the University of Hawaii specializing in our fragile ecosystem, shared some background knowledge in preparation for our upcoming stream work. Our 4th graders gave him a hearty welcome since they so enjoyed working with Kumu Corey last year, along with Kumu Marion.
During our last field trip to He'eia Stream, we learned that the health of our streams in Hawaii does indeed affect our drinking water since runoff from our streams makes its way to the ocean, and via the water cycle, makes its way back into our underground aquifers. While the majority of students were well-aware that garbage, chemicals, pesticides, and debris contribute to the decline of our streams, we are now wondering WHY and HOW invasive species also affect the health of our streams.
Kumu Corey taught us (myself included) that our streams are only meant to have a few endemic plants and animals in them (I knew the o'opu was one but I didnt know there were 5 types of o'opu!). He also shared that through his work, he has found all sorts of invasive plants and species that do not belong in our streams and part of our giving back to the community this year will entail visiting Mānoa Stream to catch some of the invasive species.
Upon his return to Mid-Pacific on 10/18 and 10/19, he will be teaching us the process of catching the invasive species as we perform a dry-run on land. The 4th graders informed the 3rd graders that some of us will be making noise to scare away the invasives while others of us will be using nets to catch the invasives. Since this is a new process to me, I am quite intrigued to see how it works. The 4th graders assured us that it not only works but that it's also fun. Kumu Corey will bring his equipment for us to pracice with on land before we enter the stream. He further shared that he has a variety of sizes of tabis for all of us to wear since they must have a rubber sole and not a plastic sole to enter the stream.
In his slide-show, he shared what the 5 types of o'opu look like along with some of the invasives we might comes across. He brought one variety of o'opu for us to see and will bring more upon his next visit so we can distinguish between them. You can see in the two photos I took that Ms. Farwell's class and my class are thoroughly engrossed with his slide-show and the students are taking many notes. Kumu Corey is a dynamic speaker with a wealth of knowledge. We all could have listened and asked questions for much longer than our brief 45-minute visit.
After his visit, we had a short time to review and summarize and come up with questions thus far:
Why do people dump invasive species in streams?
Do the invasives eat the food meant for our endemic species?
How do the invasives affect the ecosystem of the stream?
Can invasives and endemics mate and create a new species?
How do we catch the invasives and what do we do we them?
Why do we only hear about the danger to sea turtles and monk seals and not o'opu?
As you can see, this a good starting point for our research. We are all very excited to sink our teeth into some research. And we can already envision some advocacy happening once we learn more about our streams and its precious animals. More infomation will be forthcoming about the date of our visit, what to bring and how many chaperones are needed.