After a long week of rain, sunshine blessed us on the morning of Pahoa’s Christmas Parade. It was a good occasion to table along side the road at our Malama O Puna environmental resource center, talk to people about the forest work, and recruit additional volunteers. It was our third year to do outreach for this event; it is becoming an enjoyable tradition to support the local community and build more bridges between the people. Many of Malama O Puna board members were present!
A Keau’ohana Forest restoration event was successful in the forest 0n Saturday afternoon, with a group of Hawaii Community College service-learning students helping to clear an open area invaded largely by erichtites, a relatively new weed in the forest that spreads like wild fire in the understory. The group was facilitated by group leader Alison, HCC Service Learning Coordinator. Students were enthusiastic and effective at completing the goal in three hours of time.
We were pleased to offer the Hawaiian Paradise Park Center for Spiritual Living an educational tour of the forest on Sunday November 16th. Our most dedicated volunteer, Masa Sumida, assisted us on this event. We began our time with a pule at the ahu which overlooks a beautiful view of the native forest, and there shared an overview of the project as well. After a question and answer period we walked one of the trails. Participants were eager to learn about the invasive species to be pulled along the way; young Alohi was most enthusiastic and helpful!
This Fall Equinox Volunteer Work Party recruited 17 lovely participants. After a brief Hawaiian pule and orientation, volunteers proceeded to hand-pull invasive species in the west volunteer loop of the Keau’ohana restoration site. The summer heat and rain brings much growth to both native and invasive species.
We were very fortunate to enjoy together a full day of sunshine as we built numerous compost piles in the general region. Dominant weeds included the usual clidemia, erichtites, and thimble berry, but we also conquered two substantial patch of arthrostema which fortunately thus far, we have managed to control before any wide spread invasion has occurred in Keau’ohana; we hope to completely eradicate this very undesirable species in the forest by persisting in the few areas it has been located.
We were pleased to encounter many of the recently planted Ohe trees and took the opportunity to liberate them from encroaching weeds, and fertilizing them. A number of ha’iwale plantings were monumental. It was very exciting to see and care for such prosperous endangered specimens!
My outreach coordinator, James Elston and I, tabled our third annual Ohia Festival at Imiloa on Sunday August 25th. We recruited 25 new volunteers and engaged in many activities and discussions. In preparation for this event we created a deck of plant species cards. Children and adults both enjoyed picking a card to answer whether the plant they chose was invasive or native plants. We also created stickers to give out as prizes. Prior to the event we also developed some black and white native species cards for children to color.
It was a very successful event, where parents and children learned more about Rapid Ohia Death (ROD) and ways to support our local environment. Tragically, ROD has been spreading very quickly throughout the island of Hawaii. Ohia is the most prominent native canopy tree in the State of Hawaii from the mountain to the sea. The loss of this key species reflects a deepening state if environmental collapse, as increased light conditions invite the further spread of invasive species and eventual replacement of native plant communities.
A big thank you to the ten volunteers who participated in the 2019 Summer Solstice Work Party this Sunday June 23rd!
As a part of every Sunday volunteer work party, after a brief Hawaiian pule in honor of the ancestors, Jaya starts the day with an orientation to new-comers on native versus invasive plant species, and on the restoration strategies used in the management of Keau’ohana. Invasive plants were pulled and compost piles established in the West volunteer loop. Many thousands of Mamake seeds were broadcast in open areas in need of shade and native plant assemblage in the larger surrounding area.
Fire ant testing was also conducted by Ann Kobsa, our cherished native plant nursery manager. Good news: Keau’ohana continues to be free of fire ants. Regular monitoring is essential because fire ants are prevalent across the highway and have been detected on private properties south of the reserve.
During a Saturday night event at the Sovereign Tea and Books in downtown Pahoa, Hawaii Environmental Restoration HER) presented the Keau’ohana video, and power point presentation on ways to care for Hawai’i lowland environment as well as its precious remaining rainforest.
Engaging and educating the local community in becoming empowered around plant choices and issues is an important step in improving the environmental crisis of our day. What we choose to plant in our own back yards has tremendous implications to the future of Hawaii’s environment.
A big thank you to Carmen Ka’ana’ana for hosting the event!
If you would like us to give a presentation to your group or at your event please contact us.
(please click on the thumbnails below for larger photos.)
We had the pleasure of presenting to groups of 50 students from UCLA on two separate occasions at the Pahoa Community Center. Through a multimedia presentation and Q&A session, these groups of international students learned about conservation concepts which could be applied in their communities and environments. For instance the importance of of taking a conscientious role in supporting the native plant environment by learning to distinguishing between native species and invasive introductions. Students had great questions, and engaged discussion followed both the Keau’ohana video and the power point presentation on ways to become more sustainable and caring for the our precious planet.
Come help restore Hawaii’s largest and most intact native lowland rainforest by hand-pulling invasive species and planting native ones Sunday June 23.
Our volunteer work opportunity is scheduled from 10:00 to 3:00.
Please bring long clothes, hat, gloves, sturdy shoes/boots, rain gear, mosquito repellent, water and snacks.
Parking for this event is located between mm 16 and 17 on Highway 130, at the intersection of Pahoa-Kalapana Rd and Upper Puna Rd, just above Black Sands subdivision. If it is your first time, please be there for orientation at 10:00am.
A further collaboration began with individuals from the Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP), the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), and the Volcano Rare Plant Facility (VRPF), to officially begin monitoring known wild populations of Ha’iwale in the Keau’ohana Forest site, to collect leaf samples from each cluster for the propagation and preservation of this endangered species. A site visit to most individual cluster occurred and discussion was shared about Keauohana restoration strategies working group efforts. Discussion and collaboration between community professionals is an essential part of protecting and preserving our precious resources.