Hawaii Joins the Nation in Recognizing Invasive Species Awareness Week

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 in 2013 News Releases, Main, News Releases

Feb 28, 2013

Events Begin with Governor’s Proclamation at the Capitol

HONOLULU—For the first time, the State of Hawaii will participate in National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW), observed from March 4 to 10. Gov. Neil Abercrombie will kick off “Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week” (HISAW) with a proclamation on March 4 at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Auditorium.

Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) Co-Chairs Russell S. Kokubun, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, and William J. Aila, Jr., Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, will receive the proclamation.

“Invasive species impact our natural resources, food security, health, cultural heritage, economy and way of life, and we must build our capacity to address these challenges,” said Gov. Abercrombie, who has made this issue an administration priority by encouraging his cabinet to work across departments as members of the HISC.

The HISC is coordinating a series of events and activities in recognition of HISAW with HISC member agencies and partners, including the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, county-based Invasive Species Committees, Hawaii Conservation Alliance, Hawaii Biodiversity Information Network, and The Nature Conservancy.

· HISAW Kickoff at the Capitol, March 4, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Capitol Auditorium

o Governor’s Proclamation: The public is invited to join Governor Abercrombie in commencing Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week. HISC members Dr. Maria Gallo, Dean of UH’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, and Gary Gill, Deputy Director of the Department of Health’s Environmental Health Administration, will offer opening remarks.

o HISC Awards Ceremony: HISC will honor individuals, agencies, organizations and businesses that have made a difference in protecting Hawaii from invasive species. Members of the Legislature will present the awards in the categories of Above and Beyond, Business Leader, Community Hero, County MVP’s, and Greatest Hit of 2012. See full list of winners and honorable mentions at www.hisaw2013.blogspot.com.

· Hawaii Bioblitz 2013: What’s in your backyard? March 4-10 (online)
People across the state can easily participate in HISAW online by joining the special Hawaii Bioblitz “mission” to find out what’s living in their backyard. The public is invited to take and submit photos of plants and animals anywhere in Hawaii and post them to the Project Noah website or via mobile app. More than 30 local experts have volunteered to help the public identify the plants and animals in their photos and whether they are native, non-native or invasive species. For more information and instructions on how to participate, go to: www.hisaw2013.blogspot.com

· Volunteer Events: March 210 (statewide)
Visit the HISAW website at http://www.hisaw2013.blogspot.com/p/activities.html for a full list of volunteer activities across the state. Opportunities include:
o Removing invasive species at Lyon Arboretum (March 9)
o Pulling invasive algae from Oahu’s fishponds (March 9)
o Working to restore the forests of Keauohana on Hawaii Island (March 2 & 9)
o Pulling weeds in the Alakai bog on Kauai (March 7)
o Other events including contests and educational opportunities.

Chair Kokubun called upon the HISC to organize Hawaii’s first Invasive Species Awareness Week in concurrence with NISAW. “It is important for Hawaii to be engaged at a national level so that we can partner with federal agencies and other states to safeguard Hawaii’s biosecurity,” Kokubun said.

“Hawaii has unique challenges and successes in addressing invasive species. Islands are especially vulnerable to invasive species,” said Chair Aila. “But we also have the opportunity to more effectively prevent and manage invasive species on islands because of our isolation.”

Administration bills propose enhanced funding for lead agencies and partners through conveyance and barrel taxes and a proposed 10 cent fee on single-use grocery bags.

To learn more about HISAW, visit www.hisaw2013.blogspot.com

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) is a cabinet-level interagency collaboration mandated by Chapter 194, Hawaii Revised Statutes. It is co-chaired by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture with additional voting members from the Departments of Health; Transportation; and Business, Economic Development and Tourism; as well as the University of Hawaii. The HISC approves an annual budget to support invasive species prevention, control, and public outreach projects across the state. www.hawaiiinvasivespecies.org

 

###