Local Artist Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Combat Native Tree Disease

This week, Hawai’i artist and documentary filmmaker Laurie Sumiye launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise awareness and prevent the spread of Rapid Ohia Death (ROD), a fungus killing swaths of native ‘ohia forest on Hawaii Island.

iloveohiaOn October 24th, “I Love Ohia: A Forest Fundraiser” began accepting donations on the social change crowdfunding site, StartSomeGood. The campaign has raised over half of its $4,000 goal in just three days.

The fundraiser will pay for decontamination kits for the public to prevent the spread of the disease. Supporters receive rewards with the artist’s signature drawings on stickers, tshirts and prints. If the campaign exceeds its goal, monies will go towards test kits for landowners to identify diseased trees on their property. Test kit samples will be used to aid researchers in discovering a cure for ROD.

Ms. Sumiye is collaborated on the effort with outreach specialists from Department of Land and Natural Resources and University of Hawai’i to figure out a new way to engage the public to help protect the future of Hawaii’s native forests.

“I was inspired to help my friends Anya Tagawa and Corie Yanger, who work in Hilo doing amazing outreach work with ROD. When I heard they needed help to fund ROD conservation projects, I immediately offered my ‘ohi’a artwork and volunteered my video skills to the cause,” said Sumiye.

The local-born artist from Mililani previously worked with them when she lived in Hilo for a year to do research for her environmental art and documentary projects.

ABOUT: StartSomeGood is an Australia-based crowdfunding platform for social impact projects and organizations. Their focus is on social entrepreneurship as a vehicle for creating change.

Crowdfunding link:
https://startsomegood.com/i-love-ohia

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