East Hawaii News

Stewardship at the Summit Programs Seeks Volunteers

December 31, 2015, 4:00 PM HST
* Updated January 6, 10:23 AM
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Volunteer removes ginger choking out native kōlea lau nui tree (1)Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is looking for volunteers for its “Stewardship at the Summit” programs to ensure the future of the Hawaiian rainforest at the summit of Kīlauea volcano for the next 100 years.

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

The programs start Jan. 2 and will extend through June 2016: January through June: Jan. 2, 8, 15, 23 and 30; Feb. 5, 13, 20 and 24; March 2, 11, 19 and 26; April 1, 9, 15, 22 and 30; May 6, 14, 18 and 28; and June 3, 11, 17 and 22.

The programs begin at the Kilauea Visitor Center at 9 a.m. and end at noon on each of these dates.

Participants should wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools will be provided.

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No advance registration is required, there is no cost to participate; park entrance fees apply.

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To commemorate the park’s 100th anniversary in 2016, a special centennial After Dark in the Park program titled “What Makes a Species Invasive” is scheduled Tues., April 26, at the Kīlauea Visitor Center at 7 p.m. The event is free; park entrance fees apply.

“Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park marks its 100th birthday in 2016, and we encourage all who care about our public lands to lend a hand in making sure its natural and native beauty is around for future generations to enjoy,” said project leader and volunteer Paul Field. “It’s fun and fairly easy work. We have people who range in age from eight to over 80 helping out.

Volunteers have dedicated more than 5,000 hours of their time and have restored more than 35 acres of native rainforest within the national park since 2012. Countless Himalayan ginger, faya, strawberry guava and other invasive, non-native plants that threaten the native understory near the summit of Kīlauea volcano have been removed.

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In their place, once-shaded ‘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 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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