New Podcasts Reveal Hidden Stories of Hawai‘i

September 18, 2019, 8:54 AM HST (Updated September 18, 2019, 8:54 AM)
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A new podcast series takes listeners on an acoustic voyage to discover tales of extinction, invasion, volcanic eruptions and ancient navigation through national parks in Hawai‘i. Natural sounds bring to life these stories and the urgent conservation challenges of these tropical and isolated islands.

Throughout the six-part Voices of Science series, listeners are transported to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park to learn about traditional navigation by the stars, the survival of bird species, the invasion of a loud frog, coral bleaching and threats to native methods of fishing.

The series culminates to the sound of lava and gases roiling within the former lava lake of Kīlauea volcano’s summit crater and surface lava flows making their way to the ocean.

Both the people and the natural areas of Hawai‘i are in a constant state of change, adapting to invasive species and cultural shifts, among other factors. Staff from the National Park Service (NPS) and Montana State University’s Acoustic Atlas program traveled to Hawai‘i Island in search of these compelling stories to share with the rest of Hawai‘i and the world.

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One of those stories is shared through the deafening cacophony of invasive coqui frogs that are not only changing the natural soundscape of Hawai‘i, but are a serious threat to native insects and arthropods like the endemic happyface spider.

NPS “coquistador,” biological resources technician Kim Dillman, is passionate about evicting coqui from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, according to a Sept. 18, 2019, NPS press release.

“I’m trying to protect this legacy for the people who appreciate it, or who haven’t been able to experience it yet,” said Dillman. “I want them to be able to experience as much of it in a natural state as possible. A native, natural state.”

National Park Service staff work rigorously to address these pressing ecological challenges. The recordings in this collection share the processes and methods that natural resource experts use to conserve our national parks.

Listen to the Voices of Science podcasts at go.nps.gov/vos.

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