Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kamehameha Butterfly Considered as State Insect

Kamehameha Butterfly (Pulelehua or Vanessa Tameamea). Photo: Bishop Museum

Rep. Blake Oshiro introduced House Bill 135 on behalf of Pearl Ridge Elementary School students. The bill proposes to name the Kamehameha Butterfly as Hawaii's state insect. The students not only researched the subject and came up with the recommendation, but they came down to the State Capitol this morning to testify in favor of the bill.

Here are excerpts from their testimony:

From Jenna Yanke:
"I have never seen a Kamehameha Butterfly in the wild but in my studies I found it a small but beautiful insect that was little in population and in need of help. The more I learned about this wonderful insect, the more I fell in love with it. I believe if it became the state insect it would get more respect and its population will thrive again."

"The Kamehameha Butterfly also represents King Kamehameha who united our islands. Then the Kamehameha Butterfly will also symbolize unity between the islands."

From Kristi Kimura:
"We were studying the ecosystems of Hawaii. When we got to the forest ecosystems, we noticed that there were a lot of insects. That made us wonder why Hawaii doesn't have a state insect when it has a state sea mammal, state mammal, state tree, and state flower. We decided to pick a state insect for Hawaii."

From Robyn-Ashley Amano:
"The Kamehameha butterfly has a reddish-orange wingspan with a black border, which represents the colors of the Ali'i, which is the chief. It also contributes to the beauty of our islands by pollinating our flowers. Lastly, it is named after King Kamehameha, the one who brought our islands together."

From Toshiro Yanai:
"Other people may think that the happy-faced spider would be a good choice for the state insect. However, two-thirds of happy-faced spiders don't have happy faces on their bodies. Also not many people like spiders because it scares them. Lastly, the Kamehameha butterfly is prettier and better represents Hawaiian people. The happy-faced spider eats other insects while the Kamehameha butterfly helps pollinate flowers which is like spreading aloha."

From Jennifer Loui:
"This buttefly is very helpful because it helps to pollinate flowers so they grow again, keeping our island a greener place. Kamehameha Butterflies usually eat mamake plants, but since there are less mamake plants, there are fewer butterflies."

From Alexander Wong:
"I, Alexander Wong, supports the passage of HB135 which will designate the Kamehameha Butterfly as the state insect. Because the state of Hawaii does not have a state insect and the Kamehameha butterfly gets it's name from King Kamehameha. Thank you for the opportunity to submit this testimony in support of HB135."

"I think that this is a great opportunity for the students, their parents, and their teachers, to get a personal, first-hand experience of our legislative process while trying to make a meaningful impact," said Rep. Blake Oshiro, "Their project reinforces civic participation and education outside of the classroom."

Although Hawaii has named a state bird, marine mammal, mammal, and plant, there is no current designation for an official state insect. Only nine other states do not have an official state insect, including Delaware, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada and Oregon.

During the 2006 Legislative Session, Rep. Oshiro sponsored similar legislation requested by students that re-established the Rectangular Triggerfish - - better known in Hawaii as the humuhumunukunukuapua'a -- as our official state fish. The proposed legislation successfully became law and was enacted as Act 67. The original statute that established a state fish in 1985 was repealed automatically in 1990 without much public notice.

The Kamehameha Butterfly, pulelehua in Hawaiian, is one of two species of butterflies endemic to Hawaii. This beautiful roaming member of the Lepidoptera order, with its graceful movements and brightly colored wings, is often seen fluttering around Koa trees during the late months of winter.

After the hearing, Tourism Chairman, Rep. Joey Manahan, thanked the students for coming to the Capitol on a Saturday. He assured them that while the committee did not have a quorum today in order to take a vote, the members would vote on HB135 on Monday, and that he was confident that the bill would pass his committee.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How good to hear about all the work our students are doing :)