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Showing posts from November, 2011

Clidemia hirta and sakau ceremony

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The SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany class went on a search and destroy mission seeking out the dark curse, Clidemia hirta, deep in the forest across the road.

Anthony points out a spreading patch of evil.


Mary Ann.


Barnson addes to a garbage bag held by LillyAnn.

LillyAnn and Maylanda.

When the class first sees a few small baby plants, they are initially convinced that their instructor has exaggerated the threat. When they encounter their first serious patch they suddenly comprehend the true threat that Clidemia presents.

Dana with Clidemia hirta.

Dana wraps up with a in-forest lecture.

On Thursday 01 December 2011 the class held their sakau ceremony at Nihco marine park. This was the first term the ceremony followed the Clidemia hirta pull. This arrangement worked better, cementing the ceremony as the capstone, term wrap activity prior to the final. This arrangement is planned to be retained in future terms.

Images of the ceremony were for the most part blurry.


In a change from previous t…

Floral litmus solutions

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Physical Science SC 130laboratory thirteen collected flowers and boiled them to generate floral litmus solutions. Some flowers generate solutions that function both as red and blue litmus paper simultaneously - that is they change to two different colors when a base or acid is added to the floral litmus solution.


John adds acid to his floral litmus solution, Merna Keller on the left. The laboratory uses a variety of local key limes as the known acid. Baking soda is the known base. Chemistry is a quick run from proton and electrons, basics of atomic structure, hydrogen to oxygen, and then the structure of hydrogen and hydronium ions, providing an attempt at a segue into this laboratory. This material always reminds me that physical science is a bizarre course, an assembled beast that has way too much material in it.


Brend adds acid to Spathoglottis plicata. Flowers that work as floral litmus solutions tend to turn magenta in the presence of acids. In the presence of bases the solution…

Kosraean thatched hut build

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On November 11 and 13 the Kosraean community assisted the Kosrae Student Organization in the rebuilding of their thatched hut.

Kosraeans traditionally use dok as both needle and thread for thatching. Dok is a tall grass from high in the mountains that is neither Saccharum spontaneum nor Phragmites karka. I have yet to see the plant, let alone identify it. Neither S. spontaneum nor P. Karka can be be used for this. Thin strips are cut from the outer layers of the tall grass.


The fronds of Nypa fruticans, fahsuc, are used for thatch by Kosraens. They are always laid in pairs, except for rare expert thatchers who can handle three at one lay.


The fronds are wrapped around loa (Saccharum spontaneum), although here the women are using ac (Phragmites karka), but they do not usually use ac. This was a supplier communication error. In addition, there was insufficient dok for thatching. This is probably because the youth group who worked on gathering the supplies apparently did not realize that…