The community event, organized by the Office of Maunakea Management, targets invasive plants that threaten native species at Hale Pōhaku at the mid-level section of the mountain.
About 20 volunteers braved the cold on Maunakea on Saturday, Feb.8, to pull invasive weeds and protect native plants. The community event, organized by the Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM), targets invasive weeds that threaten native species at Hale Pōhaku at the mid-level section of the mountain.
“Well I just learned what a māmane looks like. So that was cool! I saved a couple, yay,” says volunteer Genevieve Runningwind.
The yellow flowering trees are endemic to Hawai‘i. Volunteers placed rocks around the saplings and tied pink ribbons to prevent people from stepping on them. The event is part of the Mālama Maunakea campaign that focuses on protecting the area.
Ants are among the Office of Maunakea Management’s list of invasives it is working to keep off the mountain. According to Fritz Klasner, environment and natural resource program manager, the tiny insects are not found naturally on Maunakea. “By helping detect ants early, we can respond and prevent ants from spreading into an area that, so far, the university has been able to keep ants out of,” he explains.
Volunteers spent hours digging up fireweed, a highly invasive plant found near Hale Pōhaku. The seeds easily disperse in the wind, and can latch on to hiking boots and vehicles. At the end of the day, volunteers filled more than 43 trash bags.
The Office of Maunakea Management has hosted nearly five-dozen weed pulls since 2012. Since then, approximately 300 native plants have been planted.
The Office of Maunakea Management is responsible for day-to-day management of the Maunakea Science Reserve. The office reports directly to the Chancellor of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.