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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Life on a Remote Island -- No access!

Aloha kakou!

Sorry there haven't been posts in a while -- internet service has been out at Tern Island for about a month now, is likely not to be restored until December, when two technicians will ride out with us to Tern, to fix the satellite dish.  Unfortunate for those of us waiting on the blog -- tougher on those living on the island!

We want to take this time to thank the folks out there -- Meg Duhr Schultz (manager), Scott Sturdivant (volunteer) and Erin Kawakami (volunteer).  They have been working like mad without a break since June, and will remain on-island until December.  The lack of internet makes life on Tern seem much more remote than otherwise.  They still can contact their families and others via satellite phone.
From left to right:  Erin Kawakami, Scott Sturdivant, and Meg Duhr Schultz.  They've been working very hard to revegetate areas that have been denuded by human traffic.  They've also ramped up our native plant propagation facilities, working on methods to increase our native plant community and shrubs on the island.  This work is extremely important in providing adequate nesting sites and cover for young chicks.

We also thank their families for their patience, understanding, and for sharing these three folks for a six month stint on Tern.  Its always a challenge for loved ones -- We appreciate your sacrifice so that they can do all the good they are doing out there.

They have let us know that they are doing well, and the first kaʻupu (black-footed albatross) have shown up on Tern this week!  The first mōlī (Laysan albatross) should return in the next week or two.  Soon they will have thousands of albatross returned to find their mate, dance their dance, and begin nesting.  A very exciting time!
Ka'upu (black-footed albatross).  Photo by Sarah Youngren (2011)

Meg, Scott and Erin have been busy with native plant work, but also rescuing Hawaiian monk seals trapped behind the seawall, reinforcing the seawall, doing regular seabird monitoring, figuring how to minimize loss of shrubs from turtle digging, and following Erin's white tern research.  We appreciate all their hard work, which will have an impact for years to come.

The next crew is beginning to gear up for the winter season, switching off with the summer crew in December.  This season will be very short:  December to March, because FWS is shifting their schedules from Dec-June to March-September.  We'll have lots of adventures during that time.  Starting next week, we'll begin following this crew's preparation for the island.  It will be the start of many long-term and new monitoring and research projects. 

We'll also be featuring the exploits of our Education and Outreach Volunteer, Barbara Mayer, our NOAA outreach partner Wes Byers, and our classroom partners.  Barb and Wes recently visited Lānaʻi High School, sharing some information about the Monument, talking story, and learning about the student's limu project.

We're lucky enough to work with some truly amazing Hawaiian classrooms, like ʻIolani Elementary School on Oʻahu, and Lānaʻi High School on Lānaʻi.  Our volunteers are matched with each class, and each has their own project -- from following bird nests, to designing artificial nests, to statistical analyses of data.  We're so happy to have this partnership, and the kids really inspire us (and teach us the value of sharing and enthusiasm).  Barb will tell you more about the Lānaʻi trip and our work with other classes as we go along this season.

We look forward to another season on Tern Island -- and more photos for the blog!

A hui hou!

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