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Hawai‘i Invasive Species Awareness Month kicks off

HONOLULU — February marks Hawai‘i Invasive Species Awareness Month (HISAM).

Invasive species have a devastating effect on the state’s agriculture, food self-sufficiency, freshwater quality and quantity, human health, and on the health of native species and ecosystems.

HISAM is an event designed to raise awareness of these impacts while also recognizing the work being done to protect against them. HISAM is hosted by the state departments of Agriculture and Land and Natural Resources, with both agencies serving as co-leads of the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council (HISC).

Due to the ongoing pandemic, HISAM will continue to offer virtual opportunities, with most events being livestreamed or shared via social media.

Today, an opening ceremony will be hosted by Halau ‘Ohi‘a on Facebook Live at 9 a.m. Join via

Today from 11 a.m. to noon, a panel discussion is on the Maui watershed. See to join the webinar.

Educational webinars are scheduled throughout the month and will explore the work and species in the different landscapes.

Each week features talks, starting in the upper reaches of the mountains — “wao akua” — and ending in the ocean — “wao kahakai.”

The HISC support program will also be announcing awards to recognize individuals, projects or businesses whose efforts have helped reduce invasive-species impacts in their communities. Videos announcing these awards will be featured on social media as well as special livestreaming events. Social-media content will be searchable by the hashtag #HISAM22.

“Invasive species are often insidious and may go undetected for substantial periods of time,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chair of the state Board of Agriculture.

“Once established, invasive species are extremely difficult or even impossible to eradicate. To protect Hawai‘i’s agriculture and unique environment, we urge everyone to become more aware and be on the lookout for invasive plants, pests and animals and to help stop the invasions.”

“This is an issue that highlights how people are part of the environment, not separate from it,” said Suzanne Case, chair of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.

“One of the major impacts we see from invasive species is the reduced production of fresh water from native forests. That’s a problem that impacts every living thing in Hawai‘i, whether it’s a native bird, a pet dog, our crops, ourselves or our loved ones,” said Case.

For the past decade, the HISC and its partners have coordinated an annual recognition of invasive species impacts.

This event was originally designed as Hawai‘i Invasive Species Awareness Week, around the same time as the U.S. National Invasive Species Awareness Week. However, partners found that there were so many topics to discuss and numerous projects for everyone to celebrate that in 2018 the event was expanded to last the entire month.

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Source: The Garden Island

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