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Bat Appreciation Day

April 17, 2015

It’s BAT APPRECIATION DAY!!!

Celebrate with us with more than 40 bat species across all of our national parks for this special day. These bats contribute greatly to our natural world by eating insects, spreading seeds, and most especially pollinating plants.

The National Park of American Samoa has two fruit bats that are especially distinctive: they are renowned for being large (with a wing span up to 3 feet wide) and active both day and night. Pteropus samoensis (pe’a vao) is commonly called the Samoan fruit bat. It is presently found only in the Samoan Archipelago and Fiji. It once occurred in Tonga but is now extinct there. The other fruit bat, Pteropus tonganus (pe’a fanua), has several common names such as the Insular, White-naped, White-necked or Tongan fruit bat. It has a wider distribution in the Pacific, ranging from islands near Papua New Guinea to the Cook Islands.

During the daytime, our fruit bats form large roosting groups or colonies of hundreds to thousands of bats. These colonies are generally organized according to their reproductive status and may be composed of bachelor males, clusters of females defended by an adult male (suggesting a harem mating system), or groups of females and their young.

During the daytime, our fruit bats form large roosting groups or colonies of hundreds to thousands of bats. These colonies are generally organized according to their reproductive status and may be composed of bachelor males, clusters of females defended by an adult male (suggesting a harem mating system), or groups of females and their young.

In American Samoa, fruit bats can be seen flying, soaring, feeding, or just hanging in trees. Although individuals of the two species overlap in size (adults weigh 300-600 grams), there are ways to differentiate them from a distance. When silhouetted against the sky, the pe’a vao has a more triangular shape, with wings that are slightly scalloped and relatively dark and opaque. Their flight appears more relaxed, usually with slower wing beats and deeper wing strokes. It is not unusual to observe them soaring in the air in the day, taking advantage of rising currents of warm air (thermals) to seemingly float up and about without flapping their wings.

Join in the efforts to help #SaveTheBats! Visit bat conservation.org or their Facebook page, Save The Bats to learn more.

2015 Flag Day

April 17, 2015

Celebrating American Samoa’s 115th Flag Day!
“Honoring Our Military”

Celebrate International Dark Sky Week and #FindYourPark in the Dark

April 15, 2015

Have you ever visited Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park at night?

Share your photos with us on Instagram by following us @HawaiiVolcanoesNPS  and using the hashtags #HawaiiVolcanoesNP and #FindYourPark, or post them to our Facebook page!

Ranger Dean gazes at the stellar view above Halema‘uma‘u Crater. (NPS photo/Janice Wei)

Ranger Dean gazes at the stellar view above Halema‘uma‘u Crater. (NPS photo/Janice Wei)

Learn more about the Dark Sky efforts of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park here, and about International Dark Sky Week here!

Prawn Eats Snake !

April 14, 2015

While National Park Service biological technician, Anne Farahi, surveyed for freshwater animals in a stream in War in the Pacific National Historical Park on Guam, she came across an unexpected sight. A Tahitian prawn (Macrobrachium lar), presumed to be native to Guam, in the midst of eating an invasive brown tree snake (Boiga irregulars) which must have fallen into the water. These extremely invasive snakes are notorious for decimating the native birds of Guam. Watch this aggressive prawn defending its meal against other hungry prawns.

Marching together in the Merrie Monarch Parade 2015

April 14, 2015

Hawaiian hoary bats, Kamehameheha butterflies, feral pua‘a, ‘ōhi‘a & koa trees, and other cool creatures emerged from the Hawaiian rainforest and marched the streets of Hilo this past Sunday, April 12 in the annual Merrie Monarch Parade. About 50 Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park rangers, staff, and volunteers joined the forest dwellers, along with park partners, supporters and staff from Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park to encourage spectators to “Find Your Park” and raise awareness of the National Park Service and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park centennial anniversaries in 2016. Here are a few photos from the fun-filled day, enjoyed by thousands of local residents and visitors. Enjoy!

banner girls

The banners make their way down Bayfront Avenue! NPS Photo/Jon Christensen.

Uncle Charlie with keiki

Chief of Natural Resources, Rhonda Loh, shares park information from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park with spectators. NPS Photo/Jon Christensen.

Uncle Charlie and keiki

Charlie Hua of Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park greets keiki, adorned in cape and malo. NPS Photo/Jon Christensen

Volunteers in parks

Hawaii Volcanoes’ volunteer Jeanne works the crowd. NPS Photo/Jon Christensen

HAVO centennial logo

Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ new Centennial logo made its public debut on the park banner. NPS Photo/Rebecca Carvalho

Friends van

Everyone needs friends! Especially friends like Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, our supporting non-profit partners. Photo courtesy Ab Valencia

Friends and HPPA holding banner

Park partners Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Assocation and the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and youth rangers assemble for group photo, plus a few Hawaiian happyface spiders, a lava wolf spider or two, an endemic butterfly and a handful of Hawaiian hoary bats! Photo courtesy of Alan Lakritz

Fire crew pose

Andrew and Luke represent the heat from Hawai‘i Volcanoes Fire crew. NPS Photo.

Group shot pre-parade

You can’t rain on our parade! Just the pre-parade. Waiting for the start. Note the eco-bikes making the parade debut. Photo courtesy of Alan Lakritz

Marching in parade

Ranger Leinā‘ala (left) and Ranger Diana lead the charge as the group approaches the big right turn from Pauahi Street onto Kīlauea Avenue. Photo courtesy of Kimie Castillo

Ranger and bat

A Hawaiian hoary bat (Christa Sadler) and public affairs specialist Jessica Ferracane. NPS Photo.

banner and marchers

Aloha and see you next year!! Centennial Find Your Park banner carried by Kristi of cultural resources and Jessica, public affairs. Ranger Nainoa and Superintendent Cindy in the vehicle behind them. NPS Photo/Jon Christensen

Stations Everyone

April 10, 2015
Climate station install

A new RAWS climate station (above) was installed at Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site (PUHE) in January, 2015.

Climate and Weather Affect Everything the NPS Monitors  Climate and weather touch coral reefs through warmer ocean temperatures which affect coral growth; and permutations can affect whole reef ecosystems. Precipitation directly affects stream animals, plants, and water quality. Bird breeding cycles can be affected by the changes in seasons, and the list goes on. One of the primary goals of climate and weather monitoring is to determine the status and trends of weather patterns and long-term climate regimes so managers can make informed decisions about the conditions existing in each national park. Similarly, monitoring of weather and climate may provide an early warning of abnormal conditions. It is therefore very important to get accurate and consistent data from our weather stations. To be useful for statistical analysis, this generally means collecting data more than 85% of the days of the year (300 days or more). The importance of the permanent location of an individual weather station can’t be overemphasized either. All long-term (climate change) data is only of value if the station never moves. Climate/Weather Stations The Pacific Island Network Inventory & Monitoring Program (PACN) primarily relies on two kinds of weather stations, COOP (Cooperative Observer Program) and RAWS (Remote Automated Weather Stations). COOP stations are checked by specific personnel and gauges need to be read daily. We are grateful for the folks that do this work at the parks. RAWS stations send data via the GOES (NOAA geostationary server) satellite network to WRCC (Western Regional Climate Center) for validation and are then downloaded to the web, where we can retrieve it for specific analyses. Currently, all 10 PACN climate stations (RAWS) are operational and transmitting data every hour to WRCC. These data are then distributed via the internet to various agencies, and also to the public. RAWS data: http://www.raws.dri.edu/index.html COOP data: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/coop/wfo-rfcmap.htm

Pacn map

Map of the islands in the NPS Pacific Island Network.

Overview of Island Climate Climate is generally mild at our monitored national park sites in the Pacific islands. Weather patterns are largely controlled by island geomorphology and the surrounding Pacific Ocean. The ocean temperatures vary only about six degrees throughout the year, from lows near 73° in March to 80° in August. Because there are no continents nearby, weather systems are moderated by the ocean. Seasons are not strongly differentiated either. Two seasons prevail in Hawaii; summer (April through October) and winter (November through March). Dry and wet seasons somewhat correlate with summer and winter, respectively. The wet season in American Samoa is from October through April, and from July through November in the Marianas Islands (Saipan and Guam). Interestingly, in Hawaii, the coldest months are not December and January as they are in the continental United States, but February and March. Cold winds come from the Arctic but the lower temperatures arrive one to two months later due to the lag in the Pacific Ocean’s temperature.     –S. Kichman, NPS GIS Specialist (I&M)

Junior Rangers encouraged to “Find Your Park” at Hawai‘i Volcanoes as National Park Week begins

April 9, 2015
Junior rangers explore rainforest

Junior Rangers discover the rainforest in Hawaii Volcanoes NP/NPS Photo.

Fee-free weekend April 18-19 kicks off with Junior Ranger Day and International Day on Monuments and Sites

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park encourages keiki to connect with their national park and World Heritage Site by becoming a Junior Ranger on Sat., April 18 – Junior Ranger Day and International Day on Monuments and Sites.

The fee-free weekend and programs kick off National Park Week, April 18-26, 2015. This year’s theme, Find Your Park, celebrates the milestone centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park also celebrates is centennial in 2016.

A Junior Ranger station with handbooks and park information will be set up at Kīlauea Visitor Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Jaggar Museum observation deck. Keiki who complete an interactive junior ranger handbook will earn a Junior Ranger badge, a Junior Ranger certificate, and will be sworn in as a National Park Junior Ranger.

Saturday is also International Monuments and Sites Day, which marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and was the first World Heritage Site in Hawai‘i. The state’s other World Heritage Site, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, was inscribed in 2010, and representatives from both sites will share information at the Junior Ranger station.

Bigeye soldierfish at French Frigate Shoals in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. by Greg McFall/NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

Bigeye soldierfish mingle with pyramid butterflyfish at French Frigate Shoals in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, a World Heritage Site, by Greg McFall/NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

“Our Junior Ranger programs are a perfect way for families to discover their World Heritage Site and national park together,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “As the park approaches its centennial anniversary in 2016, our most important goal is to connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters, and advocates. Every keiki who becomes a junior ranger helps ensure the future of their national parks, which serve as the model for heritage sites worldwide,” she said.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes is one of five national park units on the island of Hawai‘i. Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is also free of charge April 18 and 19. Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, and the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail do not charge entrance fees.

Junior rangers getting sworn in at Hawaii Volcanoes NP

Keiki become Junior Rangers in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park/NPS Photo

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