Mālama Maunakea Volunteers Help OMKM Fulfill Mission
Nearly 300 community members traveled up Maunakea and gave approximately 2,000 hours of volunteer time at 9 weed pull events this year. The result of this arduous high-elevation task? Four hundred bags of invasive species were removed as part of the Office of Mauna Kea Management's Mālama Maunakea campaign to protect the mountain's fragile resources.
These Saturday Mālama Maunakea weed pulls concentrate on removing fireweed and other invasive species from the Halepōhaku area, to help thwart its spread in to the upper elevations of Maunakea, to prepare for and restore the area with native species, and to prevent the establishment of other unwanted species such as invasive ants.
The Mālama Maunakea campaign helps the Office of Maunakea Management to fulfill its mission to achieve harmony, balance and trust in the sustainable management and stewardship of Maunakea Science Reserve through community involvement and programs that protect, preserve and enhance the natural, cultural and recreational resources of Maunakea while providing a world-class center dedicated to education, research and astronomy.
"The Office of Maunakea Management's overarching goal is to take care of the mountain. Stewarding 12,000 acres is no easy task, and with help from hundreds of dedicated volunteers and collaborative partnerships, we have made significant progress," said OMKM Director Stephanie Nagata. "We are so thankful for the individuals, school groups, business organizations, and families that volunteered their weekends to help us mālama Maunakea."
|Ke Ana La`ahana Public Charter School helps to Mālama Maunakea|
Groups participating in the Mālama Maunakea campaign included Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, Hawaii National Guard Youth Challenge Academy, Ke Ana La`ahana Public Charter School, Hawaii Academy of Arts & Sciences Public Charter School, various UH Hilo student clubs, Circle K (Kiwanis), Waiakea Interact (Rotary), Pacific Quest Hawaii, and numerous members of astronomy community.
A typical volunteer day begins at 9 am at Halepōhaku with a project orientation and high altitude acclimation. Volunteers fan out across Halepōhaku for several hours of pulling and removing invasive weeds. A brief tour of Maunakea resources, followed by lunch and a guest speaker complete this rewarding volunteer day on the mountain.
Program speakers in 2014 included: Dr. Grant Gerrish presenting on the vegetation of Maunakea (Emeritus, UH Hilo Biology); Dr. Jesse Eiben on the arthropods of Maunakea (UH Hilo College of Agriculture Forestry and Natural Resource Management); Dr. Ken Hon on the geology of Maunakea (UH Hilo Geology); Dr. Marianne Takamiya on the science of astronomy on Maunakea (UH Hilo Physics and Astronomy); Dr. Alton Okinaka on Maunakea visitor profiles and motivation (UH Hilo Sociology); Margaux Mellot and Darcy Yogi on erosion research and invasive species management (UH Hilo undergraduate interns); and Dr. Saeko Hayashi on Subaru Telescope's astronomy (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan).
The 2014 Mālama Maunakea campaign added to an equally successful volunteer effort in 2013 with nearly identical numbers of participants, hours and weed removal.
To sign up to volunteer in 2015 contact OMKM Natural Resource Program Manager Fritz Klasner at 808-933-3194 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org