Hawai‘i State Senators were on hand to present the awards to the individuals and agencies who are leading the fight against invasive species throughout the state.
The annual Hawai‘i Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW) Award winners are selected by the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council (HISC) which was established in 2003 to provide policy level direction, coordination, and planning among international, federal, state, and county initiatives for the control and eradication of harmful invasive species throughout the state of Hawai‘i.
Senator J. Kalani English presented the 2017 Community Hero award to The Pacific American Foundation (PAF) for their efforts to reduce invasive species impacts to the Waikalua Loko I‘a in Kāhe‘ohe, O‘ahu. During 2016, the PAF diligently worked to reduce the negative impacts of invasive species to the Waikalua Fishpond.
“By positively engaging with the local community, the Foundation has shown an outstanding commitment to the continued protection and preservation of this historic community resource,” said Sen. English.
Sen. English also presented the Community of Haiku Hill the award for Maui County MVP for their efforts to control coqui frogs on the Island of Maui. Over the last decade, the Haiku Hill community, made up of 39 property owners, has taken matters into their own hands by purchasing the resources needed to address coqui on Maui. Residents have sprayed over 1,600 gallons of citric acid throughout their neighborhood and spent countless hours keeping the coqui from spreading from their neighborhood.
“Their efforts not only reduce the frog density in their community, but also helps to stop the spread of coqui to new areas,” said Sen. English. “Our responsibility as Legislators is to provide adequate funding to continue a steady fight against invasive species and help support communities such as Haiku Hill in their hard work to protect our environment.”
Senator Mike Gabbard presented this year’s Greatest Hit award to Solomon Champion, whose sharp eyes spotted an immature Miconia calvescens during a routine aerial survey over O‘ahu.
The miconia tree growing beneath the canopy on the leeward side of the Ko‘olau Range 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,” said Sen. Gabbard.
Sen. Gabbard also presented the 2017 O‘ahu MVP award to Mililani teacher Sandy Webb for her efforts to incorporate invasive species investigations into the Youth Envisioning Sustainable Futures (YES) Program. This interdisciplinary program she helped found with other 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.
“By incorporating invasive species into her teaching, Sandy has encouraged her students to learn about relevant issues relating to invasive species impacts, and become part of the solution,” said Sen. Gabbard.
Other HISC Award Winners are:
Business Leader 2017: Serina Marchi, Seascapes Nursery on Kaua‘i, for her efforts to minimize the introduction and spread of invasive species.
Hawai‘i County MVP: Carolyn Dillon for her outstanding community efforts in Holualoa and her work controlling Little Fire Ants on Hawai‘i Island.
Hottest Pest Hotline Report: Shawn Baliaris for his efforts relating to reporting and stopping the spread of mongoose on Kaua‘i.
Kaua‘i County MVP: 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.
HISC is comprised of the Departments of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Agriculture (DOA), Health (DOH), Transportation (DOT), Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), and the University of Hawai‘i (UH).
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