Brittle Star :: Hawai’ian Nature Study

The tidal changes are not very distinct in Hawai’i. Despite this, we spent much of our time exploring the tide pools on many of the beaches while we were in Maui earlier this month. One of our most memorable moments was while we were strolling along Ma’alaea Beach north of Kihei. We walked along the boardwalk through Kealia Pond … observing the endangered Ae’o stilt birds. We then ventured out onto the beach first to find a cleverly hidden letterbox and then to enjoy the sunset.

While there, we came upon an exposed, flat rocky area (when we returned here later during our stay, this flat area was submerged below the water line). The kids delighted in exploring the little pools and nooks that provided protection to sea creatures. We observed many urchins and molluscs. The highlight was Buddy’s discovery of a very active brittle star. He had seen an arm protruding out of a small crevice and exclaimed, “I think I found an octopus!” as he bravely bravely stuck his hand in to gently remove the creature. When he brought his hand out, we observed immediately that it was not what he first suspected but an echinoderm. DH delighted in the discovery equally having not seen a sea star squirm about so actively.

We observed it briefly and then carefully returned it to it’s protective cove. When we returned to our condo later, I encouraged each of the kids to select one thing that was memorable to them. Buddy chose the brittle star. I’ve scanned his nature journal page for your enjoyment.

About Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥

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