Volunteer with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on National Public Lands Day

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park encourages the public to mālama ‘āina on Sat., Sept. 28 – National Public Lands Day – by volunteering to remove invasive Himalayan ginger in the park, or fountain grass in Ocean View.

Park entrance fees are waived for National Public Lands Day, and the annual event is the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States.

Stewardship at the Summit. Join volunteers Paul and Jane Field, and remove Himalayan ginger from the summit of Kīlauea.  While pretty and fragrant, Himalayan (also called kāhili) ginger is one of the most invasive plants in the park, and on earth.

Volunteer Marilyn Nicholson helps eliminate invasive Himalayan or kāhili  ginger near Halema‘uma‘u Trail in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo NPS

Volunteer Marilyn Nicholson helps eliminate invasive Himalayan or kāhili ginger near Halema‘uma‘u Trail in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo NPS

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature includes it on the “100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species” list. The park strives to protect the habitat of native and endemic Hawaiian rainforest plants, but Himalayan ginger displaces and replaces the native rainforest understory, making it impossible for many native plants to grow, including pa‘iniu (a Hawaiian lily), ‘ama‘u fern, and others. Wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, snacks, and water. Loppers/gloves provided.  No advance registration required.
When: Sat., Sept. 28, 9 a.m. to noon
Where: Meet the Fields at Kīlauea Visitor Center

Fountain Grass Removal in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates (HOVE). Fountain grass is a highly flammable bunch grass native to North Africa.

Fountain grass dominating this lava landscape in the Ka‘ū District. Photo NPS

Fountain grass dominating this lava landscape in the Ka‘ū District. Photo NPS

This fire-promoting plant spreads quickly, and is one of the few invasive species that can colonize young lava flows that would otherwise serve as natural firebreaks. In 2005, this noxious weed contributed to the spread of a 25,000-acre wildfire that forced evacuation of Waikoloa Village. Fountain grass is especially problematic in leeward areas on Hawai‘i Island, such as the HOVE community, because it increases the risk of wildfire. Volunteers will work with the HOVE community association, Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and park ecologist David Benitez. Bring lunch, water, hat and sunscreen. The first 30 volunteers will get a free pass to return another day and enjoy the park at their leisure. For more information and to register, contact David Benitez at 808-985-6085, or email david_benitez@nps.gov.  

When: Sat., Sept. 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Meet at the Ocean View Community Center at 9 a.m.

 

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