My Intern Nohealani & the Girl Scouts Hydroponic Space project



My Intern Nohealani Benicarlo, who is a junior in Nanakuli High and Intermediate School is part of the Girl Scouts Design It! Build It! Launch It! program

Oceanit Mentors Oahu Girl Scouts Team to Reach New Heights

DateFriday, March 1, 2013 at 5:21PM

The group’s experiment is headed to the space station for observation.

By Marcie Kagawa, Star-Advertiser, pg. A-17, 3/1/13

The Girl Scouts team works on its lab experiment, headed for the International Space Station, examining hydroponic plant growth in space.

The International Space Station is about to get another commercial shipment, including a hydroponic lab experiment from a team of eight Oahu Girl Scouts.

The California company known as SpaceX was set to launch its unmanned Falcon rocket this morning, hoisting a Dragon capsule containing more than a ton of food, tools, computer hardware and science experiments.

The local Girl Scouts from public and private schools across the island are part of the first high-schoolers in the state to send a Microlab — an automated, self-contained science lab in a 4 1⁄2-by-2-by-2-inch module — to the International Space Station, said Gail Mukai­hata Hannemann, CEO of Girl Scouts of Hawaii.

“I think it’s amazing for us to be the start of this,” said Jordan Feeley, a Punahou senior and team leader for the project. “I think everyone should know about this. We’re just eight girls but we’re doing this. More people should be doing this, too.”

The experiment, which will look at the variable growth of hydroponically grown arugula in microgravity while the team performs a control experiment on Earth, is scheduled to head for the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 5:10 a.m. today Hawaii time. It will be among 12 experiments sponsored by high schools and organizations from around the nation to go to the space station aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft as part of a commercial resupply mission.

“We decided to do something that would contribute to research on growing produce in space,” Feeley said. “We also wanted to connect it back to Hawaii and focus on sustainability because sustainability is a big thing and it’s a 21st-century problem. Doing this hydroponic plant experiment was a good fit.”

The experiment will be plugged into a space station rack that will supply power to the experiment and transfer data for 30 days, said Bella Githere, membership and program services manager at Girl Scouts of Hawaii and the project team’s adviser. It might be brought back to Earth on a Russian Soyuz return voyage in April.

NASA astronauts will send data, such as temperature, humidity and photos taken every four hours by a digital camera installed in the Microlab, to the team every three days so the girls can monitor progress in the experiment.

Renting space on the International Space Station and flying the experiment up there doesn’t come cheap. Hannemann said that would have cost the organization about $10,000, but a grant from the Marguerite Gambo Wood Foundation, private donations and project fees made it affordable for Girl Scouts of Hawaii to participate in the project.

Work on the experiment started in September, with the girls meeting weekly to design, program and build the module with help from local mentors who volunteered their time and expertise.

“The way the project is designed, it’s meant to be very student-oriented, and the girls were making all the decisions,” Hannemann said. “But community support and help from mentors played a big role in this project. It’s not just on the financial side, but the girls really appreciated the help (from mentors) and recognized that these people didn’t have to show up, but they did.”

With his knowledge of LEDs and hydroponic planting, Kent Koba­ya­shi, associate professor in the University of Hawaii-Manoa Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, helped the team create the optimal environment in which the arugula could grow.

“I got to really like the project, and I thought it was fascinating,” he said. “The opportunity for the girls to do something like this is great, and it’s something we all learned from.”

Other professionals and local businesses also contributed to the experiment, including Nalo Farms, which donated the arugula seeds for the experiment, and Oceanit, which provided use of its facilities and helped the team build components for the experiment using a three-dimensional printer. (Senior Scientist, Leslie Au, mentored the Girl Scouts).

Hannemann said Girl Scouts of Hawaii is participating in the International Space Station project, started by San Jose, Calif.-based Valley Christian High School in 2010, to involve more local girls in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, programs.

“We know most girls want to make a difference in the world; they have strong personal aspirations but don’t necessarily know how STEM issues can fulfill those aspirations,” she said. “We’re trying to introduce STEM to girls to connect to things they’re really interested in doing. We felt the best way to do that was through a project like this.”

Feeley, who has been interested in programming since middle school, added, “I’m excited because I’d always wanted more hands-on (programming) experience, and the idea of putting an experiment in space sounded amazing. I was always the only girl or just one of two in engineering and other STEM classes at Punahou, so it’s nice to be in a group of all girls and prove that we can do this.”

This will be the third space station visit for SpaceX, formally called Space Exploration Technologies Corp., which is the creation of Elon Musk, who previously was known for founding PayPal and Tesla Motors.

NASA is paying the company to supply the orbiting lab; the contract is worth $1.6 billion for 12 delivery runs.

If launched today, the Dragon should arrive at the space station Saturday morning. Astronauts will use the station’s robot arm to grab the Dragon and attach it to the orbiting complex.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ISS Girl Information Sheet
ISS Brochure

2013-2014 ISS Program Details

Enrollment Period: Stay tuned for more details about how to get involved in the ISS Program for the 2013-2014 school year.

Enrollment Requirements: Participants must be enrolled in either grade 9, 10, 11 or 12 during the participating school year.

Fee: The program fee is $550 per girl. Financial aid is available based on need. For inquiries about the program, including financial aid, please contact Bella Githere at (808) 675-5509 or

Meeting Days and Times: To be a member of the ISS Team, girls must be committed to the yearlong project. Weekly scheduled workshops will be held at the Girl Scouts of Hawai`i office, located on the second floor of the Ala Moana Hotel. Additional hours, as well as visits to other various locations on O`ahu may be required.

DAGS special use permit form



In order to hold events on certain state grounds, such as the Capitol rotunda (open courtyard area on ground level), persons must complete an application for a Special Use Permit (SUP) and submit it to the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS). The SUP application is included for your reference, and you may also contact DAGS for the application. 

The SUP application should be submitted to:

State of Hawaii

Central Services Division

729 Kakoi Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

Attn: James Hisano

FAX: 831-6750


PHONE: 831-6733


Click on images below to enlarge and download


U.S Navy Recognized for its Hawaiian Cultural Stewardship and Renewable Energy Initiatives

L-R: Jeff Pantaleo, Cultural Resource Specialist, Cory Campora, Natural Resource Specialist, Patricia Coleman, Environmental Outreach Coordinator, Victor Flint, Joint Base Community Plans and Liason Officer, Master-At-Arms Chief James Wooten, Joint Base Volunteer Coordinator, Captain Nicholas Mongillo, Commanding Officer, Pacific Missile Range Facility, Captain Jeff James, Commander, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Rear Admiral Frank Ponds, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii

Front row, L-R: Sen. Clarence Nishihara, Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, Cory Campora, Jeff Pantaleo, Tom Clements, Master-at-Arms Chief James Wooten, Captain Jeff James (Commander, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam), Rear Admiral Fernandez ‘Frank’ Ponds (Commander, Navy Region Hawaii/Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific), Captain Nicholas Mongillo (Commander, Pacific Missle Range Facility), Victor Flint, Patricia Coleman, Sen. Ron Kouchi, Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, & Sen. Jill Tokuda.  Back row, L-R: Sen. Gil Kahele, Sen. David Ige, Sen. Laura Thielen,  Sen. Malama Solomon, Sen. Mike Gabbard, Sen. Wil Espero, Sen. Kalani English, Sen. Suzanne Chun-Oakland, Sen. Michelle Kidani, Sen. Brian Taniguchi, Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, & Sen. Sam Slom.  [Click photos to enlarge

My Speech Honoring the Navy:

Aloha and good morning!

Today I am honored to recognize the United States Navy for their achievements in promoting environmental and Hawaiian cultural stewardship in the State of Hawai`i, and leading the way to energy security through a number of renewable energy initiatives.

The Navy is thankful for the cultural sharing opportunities available by gratefully accepting invitations to and attending the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo virtually every year since 1964. They also host Makahiki events at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam which the Navy has co-sponsored with the O`ahu Council of Hawaiian Civic Clubs for the past ten years.
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam partnered with City, State, Local Legislators, Army Corps of Engineers, Private Businesses and Community Based Organizations to mitigate flooding in Nanakuli and Kapolei, and to reduce dust and prevent fires in the area of Lualualei.

They continue their partnership with Ka`ala Farm, Nanakuli High School, and Kamehameha Schools in clearing brush from Ni`oi`ula Heiau. They have rendered it visible and accessible, and allowed for the education and cultural awareness of the many students whose kupuna have lived there for generations.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam partners with the community, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, Hawaii Air National Guard, military and Department of Defense families in the annual National Public Lands Day event. The group maintains the Halealoha Haleamau Burial Platform and removes invasive Pickleweed, and outplants native Hawaiian plant species at Ahua Reef.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam also partnered with various groups to beautify many areas surrounding Navy property, including the Pearl Harbor Bike Path, Nimitz and White Plains Beaches in Kalaeloa, and Pouhala Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam further promotes environmental stewardship by utilizing photovoltaic arrays to lower energy costs in support of U.S. Navy and Department of Defense initiatives, and operating a fuel oil reclamation facility to reduce disposal costs and dependence on foreign oil. They were recently recognized as best in the Navy for energy and water efficiency.

The Kauai Pacific Missile Range Facility (or PMRF), and its partnership with Ke Kula Ni`ihau O Kekaha sustains the educational display of habitat types that existed on the Mana Plain prior to western contact. The partnership also supports educational programs that include remotely piloted water craft and model rockets developed by Kaua`i students.

PMRF has managed light sources to reduce potential for harm to the Newell’s Shearwater and Hawaiian Petrel, both listed by the Endangered Species Act. They have combined wildlife protection and energy savings by replacing light fixtures that reduce both energy consumption and harmful distraction to birds. PMRF continues its partnership with numerous agencies and volunteers to enhance the survival of Laysan Albatross populations located at the facility.

The essence of “Aloha Spirit” is epitomized by the selfless efforts and leadership of our honored guests here with us today. On a personal note, I was raised in large part by my step-grandfather, Fred Calkins. Both he and his son, Fred Jr., served in the Navy for many years. So I am especially greatful for this opportunity to give much deserved recognition to the excellent community service provided by our Navy.

Will the special guests please stand when I announce your name to be recognized, and I ask the audience to please hold their applause until the end of all the introductions:

1) Rear Admiral Frank Ponds, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii

2) Captain Jeff James, Commander, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam
3) Captain Nicholas Mongillo, Commanding Officer, Pacific Missile Range Facility
4) Master-at-Arms Chief James Wooten, Joint Base Volunteer Coordinator
5) Victor Flint, Joint Base Community Plans and Liaison Officer
6) Patricia Coleman, Environmental Outreach Coordinator
7) Cory Campora, Natural Resource Specialist
8) Jeff Pantaleo, Cultural Resource Specialist

I ask my colleagues in the Hawaii State Senate and the audience to join me in applauding our Navy’s representatives for their dedication to preserving and protecting the environment and culture of Hawaii.

And now I yield the floor to the Chair of the Senate Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs Committee, Sen. Will Espero.

New Links:

Navy’s Hawaii Webpage

Garden Isle article regarding the Navy being honored at the Senate

Link to Senate Majority Flickr Album for more photos: 

Defending Asset Forfeiture Bill SB 1342


Many people have raised concerns about SB 1342, the asset forfeiture bill I introduced:

Here is a link to one of the articles that criticizes the bill:

The idea for the bill formed for a variety of reasons, such as hearing from frustrated constituents who call DLNR to complain about hunters shooting bullets near their neighborhoods and people stealing truckloads of sand. DLNR is sometimes unable to respond since they have suffered funding cuts and reductions in hours for their enforcement officers.

In addition, I met a DLNR DOCARE officer who shared that DLNR lost some of its ability to forfeit assets due to a court ruling. The officer said this has made their job even harder since asset forfeiture is sometimes the only effective way to stop law breakers.

Here is further information about asset forfeiture from DLNR:

From: Jason K Redulla/DLNR/StateHiUS
Date: 02/21/2013 10:25 AM
Subject: Tribune-Herald Forfeiture articleThe use of asset forfeiture by Law Enforcement is not a tool used indiscriminately against all violators. Historically, DLNR-DOCARE has only used asset forfeiture against incessant or the most egregious violators. When asset forfeiture is used, the case is not looked at from the perspective of how the Department would benefit financially, but from the perspective of ceasing the illegal activity by depriving the violator of the tools and proceeds used in the commission of the crime.

It should be noted that the asset forfeiture process provides due process that government must follow, in order to insure that the forfeiture of the petitioned items is proper. This process also allows for owners and other persons with interest in the property to explain any mitigating circumstances.

In short, the asset forfeiture process provides appropriate due process for all parties involved, and remains an effective tool in preventing and deterring criminal activity.

Jason K. Redulla
Acting Enforcement Supervisor
State of Hawaii Dept of Land and Natural Resources
Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement
Division Administration Office
Work Phone: (808) 587-0074

Although SB 1342 is “dead” for this year, it is technically still alive until next session, which runs from Jan-May 2014. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on this subject. My contact information is below:
Aloha ,

Senator Maile Shimabukuro
District 21

(Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Ma`ili, Wai`anae, Makaha, Makua)
State Capitol, Room 222
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
808-586-7793 phone
808-586-7797 facsimile

Facebook: Like or Friend Me

Twitter: @SenMaile



Who: ALU LIKE, Kamehameha Preschools, Keiki O Ka Aina, INPEACE and Partners In Development staff, program children and families.

What: Rally at the Capitol

When: Thursday, March 14th 9:30-11:30 in the rotunda with constituent visits in offices from 11:30-12:30

Why: To support funded early learning in our state


march 14 rally flyer