Invasive Species Awareness Week Highlights Voluneerism, Successes

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Little fire ants can deliver a painful sting and welts that can last for weeks. HISC photo.

Hawai‘i’s 5th annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week has begun with a series of volunteer opportunities and will end with a ceremony in Gov. David Ige’s office to recognize people and organizations who have been instrumental in the fight against invasive species.

One of the people who will be honored is Carolyn Dillon, who made outstanding efforts on Hawai‘i Island working to control Little Fire Ants.

HISAW is organized in coordination with the U.S. National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) and regional Pacific Invasive Species Awareness efforts. The event promotes information sharing and public engagement in what the Hawai‘i State Legislature has declared “the single greatest threat to Hawai‘i’s economy and natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of Hawai‘i’s people.”

Events included a proclamation from Gov. Ige, an awards ceremony, a student video contest, community presentations, and numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the state.

Volunteer Opportunities
As part of HISAW, partner organizations around the state are hosting volunteer opportunities for the public to help protect Hawaii from invasive species. This is a great chance to meet people working in conservation and learn about invasive species management. Full event details and contact information are available online. RSVP to reserve a spot.


Hawai‘i Island

  • March 1, 9 a.m.: Albizia control training and workday in Hawaiian Paradise Park, Puna. Organized by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee
  • March 1, 5:30–8 p.m.: Little Fire Ant Management Workshop in Kona, by the Hawaii Ant Lab and the County of Hawaii


  • Feb. 25, 8–10 a.m.: beach cleanup and invasive species removal at Kahili Beach Preserve, organized by Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
  • Feb. 25, 9–10 a.m.: Plant Pono workshop, organized by Kauai Nursery and Landscaping, Inc, and the Kauai Invasive Species Committee
  • Feb. 28, 9 a.m.–noon: Weed control and wetland restoration at Huleia Wetland, organized by Malama Huleia and the Kauai Invasive Species Committee
  • March 2, 8:30 a.m.: Invasive weed control in Kokee State Park with the Kokee Resource Conservation Program and the Kauai Invasive Species Committee


  • Feb. 26, 9 a.m.–noon: Invasive algae workday in Maunalua Bay, organized by Malama Maunalua and Pono Pacific
  • Feb. 27, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.: Trailwork and fencing at Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve, organized by the Oahu Native Ecosystem Protection and Management Program, Division of Forestry and Wildlife
  • Feb. 28, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.: Invasive weed control on Mt Kaala with the Oahu Army Natural Resources Program
  • Feb. 28: Invasive weed control in Waikane Valley, with the Ohulehule Forest Conservancy

2017 HISAW Awards

The Hawai’i Invasive Species Council recognizes Carolyn Dillon for her outstanding community efforts and her work controlling Little Fire Ants on Hawai‘i Island. Throughout 2016, Carolyn has diligently worked to organize her community in a coordinated effort to combat Little Fire Ants (LFA) in her community in Holualoa, West Hawai‘i Island.


Beginning in Late 2015, she became aware of the size of the infestation in her neighborhood and took it upon her to engage community members to treat this pest. More recently, Dillon has formed a LFA coalition on the Big Island consisting of members of the County Council and state Legislature, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Hawai‘i Department of Health, the Governor’s Liaison, and the Kohala Center, with the express purpose of furthering LFA education and training, as well as mapping the West Hawai‘i Infestations.

The coalition intends to train business owners on LFA best management practices in order to provide treatment services to homeowners. As a community organizer, Carolyn moved extremely swiftly to increase awareness and has brought many organizations to the table to work together. Her actions and continued dedication showcase the need for community involvement in the fight against invasive species.

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes the Community of Haiku Hill for their efforts to control coqui frogs on the Island of Maui. Haiku Hill is a small a suburb of 39 properties along the border of Maliko Gulch, the site of a major infestation of coqui frogs on Maui. Over the last decade, the Haiku Hill community has transformed from a group of concerned homeowners reporting frogs to partners in coqui control. In 2016 the community truly took matters into their own hands, building tanks, purchasing sprayers, cutting back vegetation and advocating to funders to address coqui on Maui. Residents sprayed over 1,600 gallons of citric acid on their own properties, facilitated a neighborhood citric and sprayer distribution center, and spent countless hours keeping the coqui from spreading from their neighborhood. Their effort not only reduce the frog density in their community but also helps to stop the spread of coqui to new areas. 

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Sandy Webb for her efforts to incorporate invasive species investigations into the Youth Envisioning Sustainable Futures Program. Webb has encouraged her students to delve deeper into citizen science by incorporating invasive species investigations into the Youth Envisioning Sustainable Futures program (YES! Futures). This interdisciplinary program she helped found with other Mililani teachers allows students to utilize the skills they develop in many of their classes to address problems in their community and build relevance into their educational experience. For the past two years, Webb has lead the Little Fire Ant (LFA) Hoike Activity independently in her classes; resulting in the submittal of 269 samples from the Mililani area in the past two years, with 134 samples submitted in 2016 alone. By incorporating invasive species into her teaching, Webb has encouraged her students to students learn about relevant issues relating to invasive species impacts, and become part of the solution.

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Kawika Winter for his efforts to protect priority watershed areas and control the spread of invasive species on the Island of Kaua‘i. As part of his role as the director of Limahuli Botanical Garden and Preserve, Winter has played a crucial role in the protection and preservation over 1,000 acres of priority watershed area on the North Shore of Kaua‘i. In addition, Winter aims to create a model of a functioning, 21st-century ahu pua‘a. This model focuses on a mountain-to-sea resource management strategy and includes both modern and traditional techniques. By incorporating landscape scale invasive species control efforts, native plant restoration, sustainable fisheries practices and community engagement into his management practices, Winter has demonstrated a lasting dedication to protecting and restoring key resources on the Island of Kaua‘i.


The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes The Pacific American Foundation for their efforts to reduce invasive species impacts to the Waikalua Loko I‘a. During 2016, the Pacific American Foundation (PAF) diligently worked to reduce the negative impacts of invasive species to the Waikalua fishpond. By positively engaging with the local community, the PAF has shown an outstanding commitment to the continued to protection and preservation this historic community resource.

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Serina Marchi of Seascapes Nursery for her efforts to minimize the introduction and spread of invasive species. Marchi is the owner of Kauai Seascapes Nursery on the North Shore of Kaua‘i. Seascapes Nursery is a family-owned business operating on Kaua‘i for over 30 years and is one of the largest nurseries on the island.

Marchi has shown a very strong interest in helping to minimize the spread and introduction of invasive species by supporting Kauai Invasive Species Committee’s (KISC) Pono Endorsement Program. In April 2016, Seascapes Nursery became one of the first nurseries to become endorsed.

When choosing the best management practices for her business to follow, Marchi has gone above and beyond the minimum requirements to become Pono Endorsed. She not only chose to immediately discontinue the sale of the Pono Endorsement Program “Black List” plants, but also the “Phase Out” list plants”. Her actions during 2016, and continued dedication to reducing the introduction and spread of invasive species will help to minimize future impacts of invasive species on Kaua‘i.

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Solomon Champion for his efforts in stopping the spread of Miconia calvescens on O‘ahu. During a routine aerial survey, Champion spotted an immature Miconia tree beneath the canopy on the leeward side of the Ko‘olau Range within the Waiawa watershed. This particular individual has been identified as the farthest documented tree within an intact native forest, as well as an extension into a new watershed. By spotting this individual tree, Solomon has helped to protect the Waiawa watershed and prevent the spread of a highly invasive species.

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Shawn Baliaris for his efforts relating to reporting and stopping the spread of Mongoose on Kauai. As a proactive community member, Shawn promptly reported sighting a mongoose on Kaua‘i to the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA). His diligent action allowed for rapid response from the appropriate agencies and clearly highlights the usefulness of the 643PEST reporting system, and how the community can personally take actions to protect Hawai‘i from invasive species.


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