A Collaborative Kāhea (Call): MCC Networks in Action and in the News

For Manager Climate Corps in action and in the news for our current host agreement (since October 2019) visit the news and events pages.

MCC Retrospective

July 2019: MCC Congratulates Newest Graduate and the Research Team’s Video Release

Planting corn
Graduate student Joanna Norton planting corn at her research site in East Hawaiʻi.

The Manager Climate Corps congratulates Joanna Norton and her team on completing her master’s research project through UH Hilo’s Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program and on releasing a film that gives a 6-minute overview of this co-produced research effort. Farmers, invasive species experts, and researchers worked together to develop and test a climate-smart agriculture method of compost application utilizing an invasive species: albizia. Joanna’s research was co-led by Springer Kaye (Big Island Invasive Species Committee), Becky Ostertag (UH Hilo, Biology), Flint Hughes (Ecologist at the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry), and Bruce Mathews (UH Hilo; College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management). The team worked to address climate change mitigation and Hawaiʻi’s contemporary lack of food sustainability which is a subject of much concern locally, both because of the under-utilization of available land for agriculture and the vulnerability that dependence on long-distance shipping brings to the food supply through climate change impacts. Additionally, albizia (Falcataria moluccana) is a public safety concern and drives ecological disruption, particularly on Hawaiʻi Island. The massive canopies pose a major threat to infrastructure during severe storm events, such as Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014 when albizia treefall accounted for the majority of over $10 million in damage and left many households in Puna cut off from services for weeks. Albizia also displaces native forest and deposits large amounts of carbon and nitrogen into soils, which drive further invasion. This project investigated whether albizia can replace chemical fertilizer and store carbon in agricultural lands in East Hawaiʻi. A key finding of the research is that in a cassava trial (Manihot esculenta), the albizia compost produced equal yields to the chemical fertilizer and had similar costs, emissions, and carbon storage. Congratulations Joanna!

August 2018: MCC Congratulates Two Graduate Students and Celebrates the Completion of their Manager-Driven Research Project

Two women interviewed
Graduate students Kamala Anthony and Cherie Kauhi enjoying a moment to talk story with a video production team about their efforts as both researchers and kiaʻi loko (fishpond caretakers) at Honokea Loko Iʻa.

The PI-CASC Manager Climate Corps program fosters networking and collaboration as a mechanism to build adaptive capacity to climate change impacts through manager-driven research projects and interactive forums. In summer 2018, two more graduate students from the current MCC cohort successfully defended their research and completed their degrees through UH Hilo’s Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program. Kamala Anthony and Cherie Kauahi worked with managers (Hui Mālama Loko I‘a, Hui Hoʻoleimaluō), researchers, and community in each of three loko iʻa (traditional Hawaiian fishponds) in Keaukaha, Hawaiʻi to map layers of depth, temperature, and salinity at the surface and at the bottom of the loko iʻa, and stratification within them. These maps will be utilized by kiaʻi loko (fishpond caretakers) to plan for future inundation, identify different habitat zones within the fishponds for management considerations, and maximize water sampling strategies in the future. Models were also developed to predict how climate-driven changes in rainfall and sea level will alter the productivity of these loko iʻa. See the Final Report from Kamala and Cherie’s research team. Also please see the story immediately below for an episode of Voice of the Sea (local television program), which focused on their work.

July 2018: MCC Loko Iʻa Research Project Showcased in Local Television Program

Voice of the Sea Interview
Kanesa Seraphin, host of Voice of the Sea, interviews UH Hilo graduate students Kamala Anthony and Cherie Kauahi at Honokea Loko Iʻa.

University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant developed a science television program called Voice of the Sea. Check out the most recent episode, Adapting Culture to Climate Change, which aired on July 7th and 8th and highlighted three PI-CASC-funded research projects involved in community-based management. One of the projects showcased is led by graduate students Kamala Anthony and Cherie Kauahi and Associate Professor of Marine Science Steven Colbert (all from UH Hilo). Their collaborative research project supports the restoration and management of three loko iʻa (traditional Hawaiian fishponds) in Keaukaha, Hawaiʻi. Staff from the PI-CASC’s Manager Climate Corps were also interviewed in this episode to shed light on the program’s overall vision, which helped develop the research project. Kamala, Cherie, and Steve’s collaborative research project works closely with kiaʻi loko (fishpond managers) to examine the impacts of climate change on loko iʻa conditions by examining salinity effects on algae growth and nutrient variability through groundwater influx. Beyond their research project, Kamala and Cherie are a part of a larger effort that manages and restores multiple loko iʻa in Keaukaha and involves hundreds of other kiaʻi loko, owners, workers, supporters, and stakeholders in a statewide hui (network) called, Hui Mālama Loko I‘a. Much of the Voice of the Sea Episode takes place at Waiuli (Richardsons Beach Park) and Honokea Loko Iʻa, which is managed by Hui Hoʻoleimaluō. Such community-based efforts strengthen experience of place and connections across diverse communities and worldviews, thereby building adaptive capacity through times of change. The episode won a Bronze Telly Award in May of 2019 for excellence in telling stories of scientific and cultural work in the Pacific which motivate the local community toward engagement with environmental and societal issues. The Telly Awards honor creative and distinguished local, regional, and cable television programming.

June 2018: New Paper Published on UH Hilo’s Manager Climate Corps

We are excited to announce that Environmental Management has published a new paper on our Manager Climate Corps program (MCC) within the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center. The paper outlines the MCC’s step by step development engaging partnerships with a diverse group of scientists, resource managers, policy professionals, and cultural practitioners. The central tenant of the paper is showcasing an on-the-ground example of collaboration and knowledge coproduction in action, while supporting existing professional networks to build communities’ capacities for adaptation, resilience, and sustainability in the face of change (i.e., climate change impacts, land-use change, cultural change, invasive species impacts, etc.). The paper follows our process thus far, beginning with local manager interviews across Hawaiʻi Island, which established the MCC’s foundation, the initiation of four manager-driven graduate research projects, our Climate Change Boot Camp, and additional interactive forums in local, regional, and national arenas that strengthen and expand in-person networks across multiple scales.

Laursen S, Puniwai N, Genz AS, Nash SAB, Canale LK, and Ziegler-Chong S (2018) Collaboration across worldviews: managers and scientists on Hawaiʻi Island utilize knowledge coproduction to facilitate climate change adaptation. Environmental Management, 62(4): 619-630.

May 2018: MCC Congratulates Graduating Students and Celebrates their Manager-Driven Research Projects

Rose hart presenting in classroom with audience members seated.
Rose Hart giving her defense presentation in UH Hilo's new cyberCANOE data visualization facility, which also broadcasted her presentation live online via social media. Photo Credit: S. Laursen.

Through a partnership between the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center, the Manager Climate Corps fosters networking and collaboration as a mechanism to build adaptive capacity to climate change impacts through manager-driven research projects and collaborative forums. In spring 2018, the first two graduate students from the current MCC cohort successfully defended their research projects and are completing their degrees through UH Hilo’s Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program. Rose Hart led the first project, which utilized remote sensing and historic photos to estimate coastal erosion and inundation rates driven by sea level rise to inform county setbacks on Hawaiʻi Island. Louise Economy led the second project, which investigated climate driven shifts in Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA in Hilo Bay for water resource and land management solutions. See the Final Reports from Rose Hart’s team and Louise Economy’s team. Both research collaborations offer local managers practical tools and cutting edge information that expand their capacities to adapt to climate change impacts presently and into the future.

February 2018: New PICCC Film Released on Keaukaha Loko Iʻa Restoration Efforts involving an MCC Research Project

Honokea loko fishpond with still waters reflecting the sky surrounded by coconut trees and containing an island with hala trees on top.
A serene morning at Honokea Loko Iʻa. This traditional Hawaiian fishpond restoration led by Hui Hoʻoleimaluō is the union point of not only a number of different ecosystems, but also of community, cultural practitioners, and researchers; all constantly adapting to the shifting conditions that characterize this distinct, longstanding practice in food security. Photo Credit: Jeff Orig.

The Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC), the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center’s LCC partner, just released new resources developed through their Hawaiian Islands Terrestrial Adaptation Initiative (HITAI). This release features 6 short films on climate change adaptation efforts. One film is focused on an exciting collaborative restoration of loko iʻa (traditional Hawaiian fishponds) in Keaukaha. The restoration effort at Honokea Loko Iʻa is led by Hui Hoʻoleimaluō and is supported by a UH Hilo graduate research project led by Kamala Anthony, Cherie Kauahi, and Steve Colbert and funded through UH Hilo’s Manager Climate Corps (MCC). Learn more about this loko iʻa research project, related research projects within the MCC and the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program at UH Hilo, and collaborative manager/researcher experiences within the Manager Climate Corps.

October 2017: Big Island Video News Covers MCC Team Presenting their research on Staphylococcus in Hilo Bay to County Committee

MCC student Louise Economy presenting in conference room in front of panel of participants.
MCC graduate student Louise Economy presents her data to the Hawaiʻi County Council Environmental Management committee. Photo Credit: Big Island Video News

Researchers Louise Economy and Tracy Wiegner presented their research on rainfall driven shifts in Staphylococcus in Hilo Bay to the Hawaiʻi County Council Environmental Management committee. Big Island Video News reported the presentation and subsequent discussion between MCC scientists and committee members. A related story on this research project was posted by UH Hilo Stories.

Spring/Summer 2017: Interactive Conference Forums

Participants sitting around a table discussing at a conference.
Round table discussion at the Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference in July, 2017 facilitated connections within small groups of natural resource managers, cultural practitioners, policy professionals, scientists, community leaders, and graduate students. Participants learn about one another's worldviews while discussing needs, products, and collaborative strategies to adapt to climate change. Photo Credit: Sharon Ziegler-Chong.

Our first collaborative forums were the Climate Change Boot Camp (Aug. 2016) and the National Early Career Professional Training at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst (Nov. 2016), spanning highly local and national contexts respectively. Next during the spring and summer of 2017, the MCC led interactive knowledge coproduction forums at local, regional, and national conference sessions listed below. These forums utilized a variety of formats (film, panels, small group discussions, and presentations) and were opportunities for managers, policy professionals, community leaders, graduate students, and researchers to interactively participate in the collaborative process of uniting multiple knowledge forms and distinct worldviews through professional networking opportunities. By drawing diverse backgrounds, in-person forums such as these are unique opportunities for researchers and stakeholders to develop relationships, deepen understanding across worldviews, expand networks, develop actionable products, and, thereby, build upon human capacities of adaptation, resilience, and sustainability through times of significant socio-ecological change.

LocalHawaiʻi Conservation Conference, Honolulu, HI, July 18-20, 2017 (website)

RegionalUniversity of Guam Island Sustainability Conference, Tumon, Guam, April 18-21, 2017 (website)

NationalNational Adaptation Forum, St. Paul, MN, May 9-11, 2017 (website)

April 2017: New Boot Camp Film Release!!

Check out our new film that was produced from documentary footage taken during our August 2016 PI-CSC Climate Change Boot Camp! View the 10-minute documentary film, Resilient Voices: Adaptation Across Worldviews, below, or download from the USGS website . For additional background information on the experience, see our boot camp page.

October 2016: Climate Change Boot Camp Article in Pacific Pandanus

Participants gathered on the rim of Hāʻao spring where there is a deep rocky crevasse.
Camp attendees track freshwater flow, long utilized by human cultures in Kaʻū, from its mauka source at Hāʻao Spring (2,300 ft) to its entrance into the ocean. Photo credit: McClymont, USGS

The Pacific Pandanus, a joint newsletter from the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center and the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative recently published an article on the MCC’s Climate Change Boot Camp, which took place in Kāʻu over four days in August 2016. Our Climate Change Boot Camp article is on page 7 of the October 2016 edition of the Pacific Pandanus newsletter.




Scott Laursen
Climate Change Adaptation Extension Specialist