Celebrate Oceans. Refuse Plastic.

Beach finds last week: Plastic toothbrush; plastic baby powder bottle; plastic hagfish (eel) trap; plastic coat hanger; and a sundry of unidentifiable bits and chunks of plastic in a rainbow of colors—none of it left behind by beach-goers but based on its snagged and worn condition, arrived by water. I imagine a fisherman up early,…

Endangered Species Have the Coolest Tongues

Albatross have pointy tongues. Humpback whales have tongues that are the size of Volkswagen bugs. The tips of Hawaiian monk seals’ tongues are bifurcated, a fancy word for split. Pretty cool, huh. And that’s just tongues. Wait until we get to the throats. Today is recognized as Endangered Species Day. The goal of the day…

Report from Ranger Rogers: From Blue to Brown

I recently traded blue for brown. And what a difference it has made. For the past eight-ish years, I’ve volunteered at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, wearing a blue t-shirt with just about any old pair of shorts or skorts or capris–in khaki, oatmeal, gunmetal, or green. I’d rove the northernmost point of the main…

Hatching Is Hard Work.

You’re having one of those days. Your laptop starts acting up, and you cannot send that all-important email. Your car inexplicably breaks down. You cannot get any work done, because your writing software keeps freezing, and, well, there’s one interruption and distraction after another, all saved up for the very same morning. Admittedly, it feels…

An Afternoon of Monk Seal—and People—Watching

By the time I get to the remote end of a North Shore beach where two Hawaiian monk seals are hauled out, there are already three naked people under the heliotrope tree where I usually sit. But they’re nice, offer me a piece of their Peruvian fruit, yacón, and report the seals galumphed onto the…

Independence Day for Kaloakulua

A month ago, when I was in Kalaupapa on Molokai, I spotted some dolphins swimming in the bay outside our kitchen window and called out, “Spinners.” Spinner dolphins are not listed as threatened or endangered by the Endangered Species Act. Because they forage far offshore at night and rest in sandy-bottom, near-shore bays during the…