DLNR and DOA News Release: FEBRUARY IS HAWAIʻI INVASIVE SPECIES AWARENESS MONTH

Posted on Jan 31, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

(Honolulu) – 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. February 1st marks the start of Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Awareness Month (HISAM).

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 Department of Agriculture (DOA) and the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), with both agencies serving as co-leads of the Hawaiʻi 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. On February 1st, the month will kick-off with an opening ceremony hosted by Hālau ʻŌhiʻa on Facebook Live. Educational webinars are also 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 in the “wao akua” and ending in the ocean at the “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 live streaming 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, chairperson of the Hawai`i 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, DLNR chairperson. “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 Hawaiʻi, whether it’s a native bird, a pet dog, our crops, ourselves, or our loved ones.”

For the past decade, the HISC and its partners have coordinated an annual recognition of invasive species impacts. This event was originally designed as Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Awareness Week, around the same time as the U.S. National Invasive Species Awareness Week. However, partners found that there was so much topics to  discuss and numerous projects for everyone to celebrate, that in 2018 the event was expanded to last the entire month.

A full schedule of events with links to webinars is also available online at:

https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/2022hisam/

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Media Contact:

AJ McWhorter
Communications Specialist
Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources
[email protected]
808-587-0396 (Communications Office)