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Contact: Jessica Ferracane, Public Affairs, 808-985-6018
Hawaii National Park, Hawai'i – Help ensure the future of the Hawaiian rainforest at the summit of Kīlauea volcano for the next 100 years and volunteer for "Stewardship at the Summit" programs in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, October through December 2016.
Stewardship at the Summit begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon. The dates October through December are: October 8, 12, 22, and 28; November 4, 11, 18, 26 and 30; December 10, 14, 23, and 30.
Volunteers help remove invasive, non-native plant species that prevent native plants from growing. Meet at Kīlauea Visitor Center at 8:45 a.m. on any of the above dates. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. No advance registration is required, and there is no cost to participate, but park entrance fees apply. Visit the park website for additional planning details: https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/summit_stewardship.htm.
Volunteers have dedicated more than 7,500 hours of their time, and have restored more than 61 acres of native rainforest within the national park since 2012. Countless Himalayan ginger, faya, Australian tree fern, strawberry guava, and other invasive, non-native plants that threaten the native understory near the summit of Kīlauea volcano have been removed. In their place, once-shaded 'ōhi'a trees, 'ama'u and hāpu'u tree ferns have re-emerged, and pa'iniu, kāwa'u, and other important native plants are returning to the stewardship plots.
"The park's Stewardship at the Summit program is a wonderful example of resource stewardship and community engagement," said Park Ecologist David Benitez. "In addition to removing highly invasive weeds from native forests, volunteers learn hands-on how to recognize native and invasive species, how to safely control invasive vegetation, and how to sanitize clothing and gear to avoid spreading other pest species, including Rapid 'Ōhi'a Death," he said.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park provides numerous ways for visitors to connect with and appreciate Hawaiian culture, active volcanoes, and native plants and animals. It is a designated World Heritage Site (1987) and International Biosphere Reserve (1980).