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Volunteers Sought to Restore Hawaiian Rainforest

Posted December 30, 2016, 11:00 AM HST
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A volunteer frees a native pa‘iniu (Astelia menziesiana), a member of the lily family, from a patch of invasive ginger. NPS photo/J.Ferracane

Help ensure the future of the Hawaiian rainforest at the summit of Kīlauea volcano by volunteering for “Stewardship at the Summit” programs in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Stewardship at the Summit will run from January through March, 2017, from 9 a.m. to noon: Jan. 6, 14, 21 and 27; Feb. 3, 11, 18 and 20 (Presidents’ Day and fee-free); and March 3, 10, 18, 25 and 31.

Volunteers help remove invasive, non-native plant species that prevent native plants from growing.

Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center at 8:45 a.m. on any of the above dates.

Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, rain gear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided.

No advance registration is required, and there is no cost to participate, but park entrance fees apply. Visit the park website for additional planning details.

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Volunteers have dedicated more than 7,500 hours of their time, and have restored more than 61 acres of native rainforest within the national park since 2012. Countless Himalayan ginger, faya, Australian tree fern, strawberry guava, and other invasive, non-native plants that threaten the native understory near the summit of Kīlauea volcano have been removed.

In their place, once-shaded ‘ōhi‘a trees, ‘ama‘u and hāpu‘u tree ferns have re-emerged, and pa‘iniu, kāwa‘u, and other important native plants are returning to the stewardship plots.

“Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has entered its 100th year of stewarding this fragile ecosystem, and we need everyone’s help in making sure the Hawaiian rainforest remains intact beyond the next 100 years,” said volunteer and project leader Paul Field. “We invite the community and visitors to join us. In addition to giving back to the land, you’ll learn to identify native and invasive plants, how to safely control invasive species, and how to avoid spreading other pest species, including Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death.”

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park provides numerous ways for visitors to connect with and appreciate Hawaiian culture, active volcanoes and native plants and animals. It is a designated World Heritage Site (1987) and International Biosphere Reserve (1980).

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