Hawaii Volcanoes National Park encourages the public to help out on Saturday, Sept. 28 — National Public Lands Day — by volunteering to remove invasive Himalayan ginger in the park, or fountain grass in Ocean View.
Park entrance fees are waived for National Public Lands Day, and the annual event is the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States. Here are the details on the two programs at HVNP.
— Stewardship at the Summit.
Join volunteers Paul and Jane Field, and remove Himalayan ginger from the summit of Kilauea. While pretty and fragrant, Himalayan (also called kahili) ginger is one of the most invasive plants in the park, and on earth.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature includes it on the “100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species” list. The park strives to protect the habitat of native and endemic Hawaiian rainforest plants, but Himalayan ginger displaces and replaces the native rainforest understory, making it impossible for many native plants to grow, including pa‘iniu (a Hawaiian lily), ‘ama‘u fern, and others.
Wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, snacks, and water. Loppers/gloves provided. No advance registration required. The project will last from 9 a.m. to noon; meet the Fields at Kilauea Visitor Center.
— Fountain Grass Removal in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates (HOVE).
Fountain grass is a highly flammable bunch grass native to North Africa. This fire-promoting plant spreads quickly, and is one of the few invasive species that can colonize young lava flows that would otherwise serve as natural firebreaks. In 2005, this noxious weed contributed to the spread of a 25,000-acre wildfire that forced evacuation of Waikoloa Village.
Fountain grass is especially problematic in leeward areas on Hawaii Island, such as the HOVE community, because it increases the risk of wildfire. Volunteers will work with the HOVE community association, Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and park ecologist David Benitez.
Bring lunch, water, hat and sunscreen. The first 30 volunteers will get a free pass to return another day and enjoy the park at their leisure. For more information and to register, contact Benitez at 985-6085, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The project will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meet at the Ocean View Community Center at 9 a.m.