Volunteers help protect Oahu’s native forest with DPW

| September 30, 2010 | 0 Comments

Kim Welch
Directorate of Public Works-Environmental, Oahu Army Natural Resources Program

Josephine Hoh (front), a volunteer, and Candace Russo (back), OANRP outreach specialist, transplant a native Hawaiian sedge, Carex wahuensis, into the forest. (Courtesy of Oahu Army Natural Resources Program)KAHUKU — Volunteers needed four-wheel drive to navigate a deeply rutted dirt road at the training area, here, Monday, in celebration of the nation’s largest volunteer effort, National Public Lands Day. 

“You’ve got it … we’re almost to the top!” shouted Josephine Hoh, a volunteer.   

“This trip just gets better and better,” said David Danzeiser, a volunteer.

Yes, these were clearly just the right group of volunteers for the task. 

Oahu Army Natural Resources Program organized this volunteer trip to control invasive weeds within the Pahipahialua forest, here, along the Koolau Mountain Range.  

Along with three staff members from the program, including Michelle Mansker, chief, Natural Resources Section, four brave volunteers answered the call – for weeding support. 

The volunteers’ passion for Hawaii’s native forest brought them together for a day of weed control despite their professional backgrounds. As an added incentive, the day’s weeding trip targeted weeds that were encroaching on a population of one of Oahu’s rarest trees, the endangered Nioi, or Eugenia koolauensis.

The group spent several hours with clippers and handsaws, clearing a hillside of shoulder-height weeds known as Koster’s Curse, or Clidemia hirta, presumably named after the man who introduced this highly-invasive plant to the island. An added bonus was the discovery of several, endangered Nioi seedlings, growing beneath the invasive weeds that the volunteers helped clear away.

The group also planted 30 new Hawaiian plants, in hopes that one day, this small hillside in Pahipahialua would be restored to a native forest. The group agreed that the day’s reward was the opportunity to experience a day in a 

remote native forest, the chance to meet new friends and the satisfaction of knowing their efforts helped to protect an endangered Hawaiian species. 

Category: News, Sustainability

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