Betty Nagamine Bliss Memorial Overlook

While at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge, Joe Schwagerl, Project Lead for USFWS Oahu/Maui NWF Unit,  told me about the Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge and the planned commemoration of the Betty Nagamine Bliss Memorial Overlook on Dec. 1st. I had only seen these wetlands on the map and caught an occasional glimpse as I run the Pearl Harbor bike path. I was surprised and pleased to know there is an effort underway to make these areas a bit more accessible to the public.

Here are a few photos of the commemoration ceremony for the Betty Nagamine Bliss Memorial Overlook. Betty Bliss was a teacher at McKinley High School back in the 1970's who spend many long hours convincing the Federal government (FAA) to preserve wetlands that were being destroyed by the building of the Honolulu International Airport. Through her tireless efforts and with help from Herman Bliss, who was head of the FAA in Hawaii at the time, the US Fish & Wildlife Service designated several areas around Pearl Harbor as wildlife refuges. More than 40 years later, she is being memorialized in the construction and dedication of the overlook.

As I came to realize, not only is the overlook a way to provide better public access to the area for viewing and appreciating Hawaii's wetlands, it is also part of a plan to extend the bike path from Pearl Harbor all the way to Nanakuli. I stumbled upon this Leeward Bikeway plan produced by R.M. Towill Corp. for the Dept of Transportation.

As I follow my curiosity, I'd like to find out when a large section of "bike path" from Waipahu Depot Road, where Pouhala Marsh is located all the way to West Locke Estates, is slated for completion. More to come...

James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge

Thanks to the Pacific Office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Hawaii Science Writers Association, I recently got a chance to visit the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge to view habitat for wetland birds and spend time with Jason Graham to learn about the endangered yellow-faced bee.

As many of you know, I am working with UH researchers on an National Science Foundation project called ʻIke Wai, to study Hawaiʻi's freshwater aquifers. This gives me a unique opportunity to get back outdoors into nature and the environment, and to reconnect to a personal interest of mine, Aloha ʻAina.

The James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge is part of the ahupuaʻa that starts with the watershed in the Koʻolau mountains and results in freshwater springs that feed the wetlands of the refuge.

I believe in the interconnectedness of everything so you will find, in addition to the tech and open data topics, posts here about the watershed, wetlands, native ecosystems, birds and whatever interesting corners my curiosity leads me. Mahalo for joining me on this journey.

Apple #iPhone7 ships direct from China

UPS Tracking Info
Just got a notice on my front door that UPS could not deliver this package because I was not home to sign for it. After checking the tracking route I was surprise to find that it originated from China. The estimated arrival of my iPhone7 was not until Sept 21 so I was quite surprise that Apple processed and delivered it so quickly and from China no less. Unfortunately UPS won't come back out on Saturday afternoon so I opted to pick it up from the main pickup point on Monday. Time to backup my iPhone6.

A Snap at a time

I've been wondering what to do with Snapchat stories that disappear after 24 hours. None of mine are really worth saving but if I did want to save it, can I post it to my blog? This is an attempt to try that. So what you see is a drive over to Ford Island. I got a chance to visit the Pacific Aviation Museum to learn about an astrophotography workshop the museum puts on for 5th - 8th graders. Afterwards, since I was in the general vicinity, I stopped into the Forty Niner restaurant. I've lived in the area all my life but have never eaten there. My choice, hamburger steak, a local favorite.

The next leg of the journey for @SolarImpulse #futureisclean

Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard
The pilots and support crew for the Solar Impulse are back in Hawaii preparing for the continuation of their around-the-world flight, a flight made purely on solar energy. Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard looked refreshed and ready for second half of their trans-Pacific flight. Last year in July, they flew a marathon 118 hours non-stop from Nagoya, Japan to Honolulu. On that trip the batteries were pushed to their operational limits and overheated. As a result the Solar Impulse team had to reassess how they would proceed: re-engineer the battery insulation and risk the delay and changing weather or postpone the mission until 2016. The decision was obvious. IMG_7775Andre Borschberg told me that the batteries themselves were okay, it was the insulation that prevented them from cooling. As a result the team re-engineered the insulation housing in January. The green tubing in the photo is part of the cooling system necessary while on the ground. After landing, if the batteries aren't cooled the batteries run the risk of damage. The weather pattern will determine the next leg of the flight. During their time in Asia, the team learned that having multiple airport options can make or break a flight plan. Recall, Solar Impulse was supposed to fly from Nanjing, China to Honolulu but instead detoured to Nagoya, Japan. As of this writing, there are four possible West Coast options, Vancouver, British Columbia, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Phoenix, Arizona. There will be two stops in the U.S., one in the central U.S. and one in New York. The plane then continues to Europe and ending its around-the-world flight in Abu Dhabi. There will be two public viewings here in Honolulu. One on March 26 and April 2, 2016. Viewing times are from 10am to 4pm. Consult the Solar Impulse website for details. You can find more photos from today's viewing here. The Si2 is parked in the University of Hawaii hanger at Kalaeloa Airport. The planned departure is on April 15, 2016. In the meantime the crew continues with preparations, taking the plane out for test flights. Earlier this week test pilots (not Andre or Bertrand) flew the plane for 16 hours. We're all excited about this next leg of their journey. Hawaii benefits twice for having the Solar Impulse land here and then eight months later begin its journey from here. Solar Impulse and its theme of #FutureisClean brings attention to Hawaii's clean energy goals which are the most aggressive in the country. Very serendipitous!

Unconferenz 2016 #UNZ16

Unconferenz_Logo On Saturday, March 5, 2016, in it's 9th year, the Unconferenz will bring together individuals from across the community to foster sharing and interaction amongst its participants. The Unconferenz is attendee driven and is all about your participation. The Unconferenz is a crucible for brainstorming ideas, its mantra is to Create : Collaborate : Catalyze. This year the Unconferenz will have a strong civic tech focus as we are holding it in conjunction with Code Across America and International Open Data Day. Our grand plan is to introduce our government partners to civic technologists and engage citizens to reverse pitch, collaborate and co-create solutions for a 21st century government. We use the Unconferenz to catalyze a movement and would love to have you be a part of it. Feel free to join the conversation and suggest your session topics for 2016. Eventbrite - Unconferenz 2016

STEM gets a $6.8M boost from USA Funds

UH President David Lassner, Sen. Michelle Kidani, USA Funds Executive VP Carol D'Amico, Hawaii Gov. David Ige, and Project Lead The Way Senior VP David Dimmett
Back on October 28, 2015, USA Funds announced a $4.6M grant to the University of Hawaii, to help build Hawaii's innovation economy, boost the STEM workforce pipeline and reverse the "brain drain" of talent leaving the state. Today's announcement included the $4.6M to UH and an additional $2.2M to the non-profit Project Lead the Way which provides project-based learning experiences for K–12 students and teachers across all 50 states. The grant to PLTW will help at least 48 Hawaii high schools implement programs in computer science, engineering or biomedical science. Also as a part of the initiative, Project Lead The Way will provide professional development support to teachers and work with local partners to ensure the materials and programs are culturally relevant. USA Funds’ grant of $4.6 million to the University of Hawaii Foundation will support several initiatives, including the following:
  • Develop models of statewide industry, government and higher education collaboration to determine current and future workforce needs.
  • Create a continuous academic pathway in STEM education.
  • Support economic development and high-quality job creation in innovation and STEM areas of the state’s economy through just-in-time workforce development.
  • Enhance Hawaii’s student information system to inform students and advisers of the most efficient education pathways, especially for STEM degrees.
  • Create best practices in statewide workforce and education data collection and integration to help drive decisions by policymakers, education leaders and other stakeholders.
  • Create a STEM Center for Excellence that will serve as a resource to sustain STEM-related activities across the state.
With a workforce development pipeline, STEM curriculum development and the data to assess our progress, the hope is that Hawaii will be able to be competitive in the high-wage and high-demand science, technology, math and engineering fields.

Co-working space opens on Maui

Flyer_Maui There's a new co-working space opening up on Maui at the Maui Research & Technology Center (MRTC). If you are on Maui or planning a trip there on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, you can catch the open house at 590 Lipoa Parkway from 4pm - 7pm. Robbie Melton, Executive Director and CEO of the High Tech Development Corp (HTDC) will kick off the evening with a talk on New Money for Your Business. She is making an island hopping informational tour to promote a new HTDC program called the Neighbor Island Innovation Initiative (NI3), that will offer business, technical help and mentorship not readily available to technology-related small businesses on the neighbor islands. The goal is to help accelerate efforts in product development, sales or investment in those companies. She also plans to announce three new grant programs including:
  • Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research (HSBIR) grants to develop new technologies and innovations. The state’s grant fund is expanding Phase II and Phase III awards to match up to 50 percent up to $500,000.
  • Manufacturing Assistance Program (MAP) grants that offer a 20 percent reimbursement, up to $100,000, on purchasing manufacturing equipment, training and energy-efficiency projects.
  • Hawaii Office of Naval Research (HONR) grants that offer up to 50 percent matching funds for alternative energy research and development projects.
This is an ideal opportunity to not only check out the new co-working space but to also learn about these new funding programs. For more information please visit HTDC.Org.

iLab opening soon at UH Manoa

  IMG_7017 What was once the headquarters for the Information Technology Services group on the University of Hawaii, Manoa campus, Building 37 is soon to become the iLab. Inspired by Stanford University's D.School, the iLab will be a hub for innovation and design thinking on campus. Back in July 2015, this video was produced to provide a virtual tour of what the iLab would look like. The iLab is still under construction so what you see here will change over the next few weeks. I was fortunate to get a quick tour of the facility this past week. When completed, there are plans to hold classes, build a maker space equipped with 3D printers and provide a space for interdisciplinary innovation. The intent is to also include commercial business collaborations to help solve real world problems. In conjunction with the iLab, a design thinking course is going through curriculum approval for the UH Manoa campus. Design thinking isn't something new to Hawaii. Back in 2011, local R&D company Oceanit spearheaded the adoption of design thinking concepts in Hawaii's Department of Education. This spread from the DOE to government departments, UH departments, commercial businesses and even the non-profit sector. This however is the first time an actual credited course in design thinking will be offered at UH. A tentative date of January 20, 2016 is the target for the grand opening of the iLab. The closer we get to the date, the more I am hearing people talk about it. We've scheduled an upcoming interview with the course developer and a professor from the College of Engineering to talk about the iLab and how it will be used. Tune into Bytemarks Cafe on Hawaii Public Radio on Dec 23rd to catch that conversation.  

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