East Hawaii News

Several Big Island Residents Honored During HISAW

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Several Big Island residents were recognized as part of the 4th annual Hawai’i Invasive Species Awareness Week.

A ceremony was held in Governor David Ige’s office on Friday to place a spotlight on people and organizations who have helped fight invasive species in the state.

HISAW is done in coordination with the United States National Invasive Species Awareness Week and regional Pacific Invasive Species Awareness efforts.

The yearly event promotes sharing and public engagement. Events included a proclamation from Governor Ige, an award ceremony, a student video contest, community presentations, and numerous opportunities throughout the state.

Kay Howe received the “Community Hero” award for her dedication to increase public awareness and education on the dangers of rat lungworm disease. Through a Go Fund Me campaign  called “Help Stamp Out Rat Lungworm”, Howe began a program to educate students at five K-12 schools on the Big Island about the disease.


The “Hawai’i County MVP” award was earned by Judith Houle for her community efforts and work to control invasive species on the Big Island.

Houle has worked to address invasive species issues that plague residents of Hawaiian Paradise Park. HPP also suffers from infestations of coqui frogs and little fire ants, impacting the lives of its 12,000 residents.

Houle was the first to bring BIISC’s community empowerment program for Albizia control to HPP by working to promote training workshops and supports residents in getting the resources they need to address problem trees in their neighborhoods. She works on these issues as a volunteer and commits her own time and money to supporting her community and addressing invasive species that threaten the health and well-being of her neighbors.

Young Brothers, LTD. was recognized as a “Business Leader” for the company’s initiative and response to stopping the spread of Rapid Ohia Death.


The company stopped shipments of ohia products from the Big Island. These actions showed foresight and understanding to the implications of the statewide spread of ROD.

J.B. Friday, Flint Hughes, and Lisa Keith were recognized with the “Greatest Hit” award for their efforts regarding the combat and research of ROD.

The team has worked to address ROD and made great efforts to explain and update conservation professionals and the community about this serious issue.

Their research of ROD continues to yield more information and identify management challenges that the team is meeting head-on.


Laura Hew was recognized as the “Hottest Pest Report” award winner for her efforts related to the reporting signs of the giant day gecko to the DOA.

The “Maui County MVP” award went to Dr. James Leary for his efforts in controlling the spread and impact of invasive species in Hawai’i. Dr. Leary is known for his innovative methods of weed control and developed Herbicide Ballistic Technology.

Paul Zweng was named the “Oahu MVP” for his efforts in leadership and cooperation in regards to controlling invasive species.

The “Kauai County MVP” award was earned by Trae Menard for his efforts in protecting watershed areas and controlling the spread of invasive species on the island.

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