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Need a New Years resolution? Here Are 12 Ways To Protect Maui From Invasive Species All Year Round News, Sports, Jobs
At the start of a New Year, many of us take the time to reflect and set goals. Consider adding a resolution to do little things each month to protect our environment to your list. Here are some simple steps you can take that will help make a difference on the invasive species front throughout the year.
Clean up before you go. If exercise is on your resolution list, hiking is a great way to crush your step goal. Take a few minutes to clean your boots, gear, and car from mud and dirt before and after going to a new location. This helps prevent seeds and other invasive hitchhikers from spreading to a new area.
Learn about statewide efforts against invasive species. February is Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Month, an initiative to share and raise awareness about statewide efforts against invasive species. Get involved in this year’s activities by visiting dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc.
Coqui twitter report. Hawaii’s wet season (hooilo) typically runs from November through April. Coqui tend to come out during rains or just after it rains, especially when temperatures are above 70 degrees, which makes this month particularly interesting to be aware of coqui calls. If you hear one, report it to mauiinvasive.org.
Native plant. April is Native Hawaiian Plant Month. Celebrate by planting natives. Native plants use less water, fertilizers and pesticides, in addition to creating a healthy environment, a watershed, and helping native species to thrive.
Do lei. May 1 is lei day in Hawaii, and it’s a great time to learn more about this important cultural practice. Many lei are made from native plants, some of which may have been planted in April. Some modern lei even include invasive species to highlight environmental issues in an artistic way.
Prevent the spread of rapid death from ohia. Ohia flowers year round but blooms most profusely from March to June. Although Maui has only had one positive case of rapid death from ohia since 2019, it is important to remain vigilant to protect this darling tree from this deadly fungus. Report ohia trees that have turned brown and died suddenly to (808) 573-MISC (6473).
Travel smart. Double check before bringing anything between the islands. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture must inspect plants and plant cuttings before being transported between islands to ensure there are no unwanted pests or diseases. Also, if you’ve traveled to the island of Hawaii, be sure to decontaminate boots and gear before you return home to avoid spreading the Ohia’s quick death to other islands.
Report the pampas grass. This highly invasive grass begins to flower in August, and large clumps have the potential to produce millions of wind-blown seeds in just a year. In forests, the pampas compete with plants native to our watershed and can create a fire hazard. It is illegal to propagate or transport pampas within the state. If you see pampas – either planted in the ground or in an arrangement – report it to (808) 573-MISC (6473).
Be a good neighbor. Some invasive species problems are too important to solve on their own, but if left unchecked they will become everyone’s problem. Offer to help your neighbors with an invasive species in their backyard. If you have coqui frogs in your neighborhood, joining the community coqui control program with MISC is one way to get involved in the fight against this invasive pest. Visit mauiinvasive.org to learn more.
Search your garden for little fire ants. October is ant stop month. Prevent the spread of this painful invasive pest by inspecting your garden at least four times a year. Learn more and request a free collection kit at stoptheant.org, and always report stinging ants.
Eat an invasive. The eating season offers many edible invasive species, from axis deer to strawberry guava to pigs. Prepare a meal, or part of a meal, to eliminate invasive species. Visit chefhui.com to learn more about creative ways to cook invasive species.
Have a local Christmas. Choose a locally grown Christmas tree in the Kula Botanical Garden, or get a permit from DLNR and cut down an invasive pine tree in the Kula Forest Reserve. The native alahee is also a great substitute and grows well in pots to use year after year.
If you want to do more, there is a plethora of organizations and volunteer activities to suit all interests. You can find volunteer opportunities in Maui at mauimauka.org/volunteer.
* Serena Fukushima is the Public Relations and Education Specialist for the Maui Invasive Species Committee. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “Kia’i Moku, Guardian of the Island” is written by the Maui Invasive Species Committee to provide information on protecting the island from invasive plants and animals that threaten the environment, economy, and quality of life on our islands.