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.