2019 Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Month



The State of Hawaii is hosting the 2nd annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Month (HISAM) for the month of February 2019. HISAM is an expansion on the past 6 years of hosting the Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week and is organized in coordination with the U.S. National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) and regional Pacific Invasive Species Awareness efforts. HISAM seeks to promote information sharing and public engagement in what the Hawaii State Legislature has declared “the single greatest threat to Hawaii’s economy and natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of Hawaii’s people.”




7th Annual HISC Awards

Recognizing individuals and groups for their outstanding service to Hawaii in the fight against invasive species.

Award Categories :  

  • Business Leader: Recognizes an individual in the private sector or a business that has demonstrated leadership in their role of protecting Hawaii from invasive species.
    • Kamehameha Schools (Kalani Fronda) – To address issues of infestations of Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) in the Waiawa Kai area of O‘ahu, Kamehameha Schools has taken a multi-pronged approach to their involvement in the area:

      1. Fostering relationships between lessees and the CRB Eradication Project.

      2. Working with the CRB Eradication Project to identify new methods and means to control infestations on KS properties, and,
      3. Engaging in the development and funding of a comprehensive green waste management plan for mitigation of invasive pests.
  • Community Hero: Recognizes a community member or community-based group that has been a shining example of dedication to prevent and/or manage invasive species.
    • Kako‘o ‘Oiwi, Hui o Ko‘olaupoko,  Paepae o He‘eia – This is a multi-organizational nomination for the work these groups have done collaboratively to remove a massive amount for mangroves from the He‘eia watershed. The work theyʻve done over the last year has transformed a significant portion of the area that was dominated by 50 foot mangroves to a functioning ecological and cultural site. It is a true testament to the power of community that they have accomplished so much with small staffs and been successful with this project and also created a space to create more community for the residents of this area. Working together, these three groups have made significant progress in the ecological restoration of the wetland and fish pond. Their synergistic efforts have provided a cultural connection and outlet for area residents through the mangrove removal, native outplantings, fish pond restoration and work in the ecological restoration of the wetland and fish pond. Providing a cultural connection and outlet for residents through the mangrove removal, native outplantings, fish pond restoration and work in the lo‘i.

  • Greatest Hit: Recognizes an individual, organization, or agency responsible for one of the major invasive species highlights in the areas of research, prevention, control, and/or public outreach.
    • Daniel Kapalikuokalani Maile (Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum) – Kapaliku suspected naio in the Kalihi/Kapalama area of O‘ahu had thrips (Klambothrips myopori) and reported it online. This report launched an effective rapid response. Kapaliku’s initiative in reporting helped stop a widespread outbreak of these damaging pests to a critical component of native Hawaiian dryland ecosystems. In the short term, delimiting surveys have been conducted. The isolated infested plants are being removed and preventive measures to stop further infestation have been taken. Naio thrips have never been detected on O‘ahu prior to this, and Kapaliku’s report was critical in stopping an island-wide infestation.

  • Island MVPs: Four awards will be given in this category and are selected by the various island Invasive Species Committees to recognize an individual or group that has made substantial contributions towards advancing invasive species management in Hawaii.
    • Hawaii MVP
      • Patrick Merritt (East Hawai‘i Cacao Association) – As President of EHCA, Patrick has been focused on promoting cacao and cacao farmers, and when he was approached by one of his members regarding a sick tree he headed out to the farm to investigate himself. He captured the suspected critter and brought it to HDOA for identification. It turned out to be an Australian longhorn beetle, which is known to attack cacao, kukui, sago palm and other important Hawaiian plants. After learning the beetle’s identification, Merritt conducted his own research and shared information with farmers and other agencies.  While there’s not a treatment yet for eliminating this pest, cacao farmers are now vigilant and are trying to trap beetles before they lay eggs.Although there is no known treatment for the beetle yet, it was Patrick’s efforts that brought this species into view and created a public profile of early invasion that was even carried on the nightly news in Honolulu. Farmers now know to be vigilant for the beetle and to try to trap beetles around their trees before they can lay eggs because of Patrick’s efforts to raise awareness.

    • Maui Nui MVP
      • Megan Powers – Megan is a respected member of the organic farming community in an off-the-grid area on the North Shore of Maui. The Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC) staff first encountered Megan in 2015 when Little Fire Ants (LFA) were reported by a family member on her property. She has always been cooperative, and over time, Megan has become an advocate for the need to control LFA as well as advocate for MISC. Notably, in the past year she has publically testified at community meetings on MISC’s behalf and invited MISC to participate in a community-led working group for local issues. Her support has been invaluable to the LFA eradication efforts in the area and in paving the way for future collaboration on addressing invasive species issues.

    • Oahu MVP
      • Pauline Sato (Malama Learning Center‘s Rhino Beetle Watch Outreach Program) – Mālama Learning Center (MLC) is working closely with the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to heighten awareness about the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) throughout West O’ahu communities, and lead residents to take action to reduce habitat for these invasive pests. MLC’s specific outreach in the West Oahu communities and schools has been instrumental in the outreach efforts to residents, students and businesses within the infested area. MLC is raising awareness about CRB impacts, how to report the damage, and how to prevent spreading the beetle.

    • Kauai MVP
      • Tim Flynn (National Tropical Botanical Garden) – Recognition of Tim’s enormous contribution to our understanding and management of invasive plants on Kaua‘i is long overdue. Botanists with expertise in both endangered and invasive plant species are rare, but decades of studying these plants on Kaua‘i and other Pacific islands has made Tim an irreplaceable source of information on the conservation of biodiversity. Tim has served on KISC’s committee since its creation, steering their efforts toward evidence-based decision making and emphasizing the “big picture” to best fill gaps in Kaua‘i’s invasive species management practices. A constant collector of vouchers for herbaria, Tim has gathered thousands of alien plant specimens over almost four decades, disproportionately contributing to the most important data source for invasive plant detection and eradication on Kaua‘i. Invasive species managers seeking to understand a plant’s behavior, distribution and timeline can often consult Tim’s careful records and incredible memory to know where to start. During 2017 and 2018 in particular, he was instrumental in decisions to improve data collection and reporting standards within Hawai‘i’s botanical community and guiding KISC’s prioritization of invasive plant species for eradication. Drawing from his encyclopedic knowledge of plant taxonomy, biogeography and conservation, he weaves together information and concepts that others often overlook, allowing him to offer exceptional advice. Moreover, Tim’s unique combination of sound logic and quick-wit make him a beloved mentor and advisor to many people on Kaua‘i and elsewhere. He always manages to find time to help and provides encouragement when it is most needed. Although Tim is not one to advertise his accomplishments, the impacts of his service have become firmly ingrained in the bedrocks of Kaua‘i’s invasive species community. Without his records of alien plant collections, early detection and eradication programs on Kaua‘i would be starting from scratch. And, without his sage advice and mentorship, many decisions to improve management strategies would be less informed and less likely to succeed. One need only scratch the surface on Hawai‘i’s cumulative knowledge of alien plants to find Tim as the sole contributor of information for many species, exemplifying him as an obvious and well-deserving choice for this award.