2024 Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Awareness Month

Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Month 2024 banner

This year, we celebrate and reinforce our collective aloha ʻāina responsibility with the theme, ‘Who Protects Hawaii? You do. Invasive Species are everyone’s kuleana.’

HISAM is an annual event dedicated to educating and mobilizing the residents of Hawaiʻi to protect our islands from the threats posed by invasive species. Join us throughout the month for educational webinars, local volunteer opportunities and events, HISAM community awards, and the premiere of the video series “Who protects Hawaiʻi?” 


🎥“Who Protects Hawaiʻi?” Video Series & Storymap🗺️

Discover who are the faces of Hawai’i biosecurity through our Who Protects Hawaiʻi?” interactive story map and video series, showcasing the diverse community members who safeguard our islands. From teachers and conservation workers to fishpond restorers and commodities inspectors, click on your island on the map to see inspiring stories of local heroes playing pivotal roles in our state’s biosecurity. 


📜 2024 HISAM AWARDEES 🏆

We recognize these individuals and organizations for their dedicated efforts to combat invasive species. This year, Governor Josh Green will further honor their contributions by signing a proclamation on May 10th for HISAM and celebrating the impactful work of our awardees.  Read more about these community invasive species heros’ accomplishments. 

  • Outstanding Business Leader– Keoki’s Paradise, Darin Tann for their leadership in protecting ʻŌhiʻa forests and raising awareness of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death.
  • Community Heroes – Joe Wat & Kapua Kawelo for their community organizing and work on little fire ant control on O’ahu.
  • Greatest Hit – Melody Euaparadorn for stepping up to help coordinate extension work on little fire ant across the state.
  • Hawaiʻi Island MVP – Deborah Chang for being an informed consumer and advocating for non-invasive plant sales to Hawai’i.
  • Maui Nui MVP – David Dahlberg for recognizing and reporting the 1st coconut rhinoceros beetle found on Maui.
  • Oʻahu MVP – Kimeona Kane for being a catalyst for change, advocating for measures to safeguard not only his immediate community but the entirety of Hawaiʻi.
  • Kauaʻi MVP – Lei Wann for supporting and hosting countless malama ʻāina events on Kaua’i.

🎙️ JOIN US FOR ONE OF OUR WEBINARS! 🎓

Friday, May 3rd 11:00 am – 12:00 pm –  Youth in Conservation. Join Hokuaoka‘ale Gilman (Field Assistant, Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project), Kaiʻanui Andaya (Invasive Species Field Crew Leader, BIISC), Geneviève Blanchet (Manager, Snail Extinction Prevention Program Lab, DLNR), and Sarah Tom (Ballast Water and Biofouling Planning Associate, DAR) for a lively talk story session. Learn about their journeys into conservation and their thoughts about the future and current status of conservation from the perspective of someone working in the field. Missed the live presentation? Watch webinar HERE

Tuesday, May 7th 6:00 – 7:00 pm –  Become an Eco-Detective- Tackling Invasive Species with Community Science Tools. This interactive session will explore the essential citizen science tools—iNaturalist, eBird, and 643pest.org—that empower you to protect Hawai’i from the next super invader. Join experts Molly Murphy, Kevin Faccenda, Lance Tanino, and Elizabeth Speith as they share valuable insights on utilizing citizen science and crowdsourced observations to better understand the world around us while helping for early detection and effective management of invasive species. Discover how every observation contributes to safeguarding our islands.  Missed the live presentation? Watch webinar HERE

Wednesday, May 8th 3:00 pm – Understanding hala scale and developing an IPM program to control it in Hawaiʻi. This seminar is presented by Dr. Zhiqiang Cheng and Mason Russo of the Turfgrass and Landscape Pest Management Laboratory, UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). The talk will cover current distribution of hala scale (Thysanococcus pandani) in the Hawaiian Islands, identification tactics, chemical control strategies, dispersal evaluations, forest regenerative impacts, and biological control explorations.  Missed the live presentation? Watch webinar HERE

Thursday, May 16th 9:00 am – “Having a seat at the table: Hawai’i as part of the national conversation” Join Christy Martin and Dr. Laura Brewington to talk about how they are bringing invasive species issues in Hawai’i and the Pacific Islands into national and regional forums and discussions as appointees to the Invasive Species Advisory Committee and other ways.  Missed the live presentation? Watch webinar HERE

Friday, May 17th 10:00 – 11:00 am – All the Ants of Hawaiʻi. You’re probably familiar with Fire Ants, and maybe Carpenter Ants or even Ghost Ants. And you’re probably intimately familiar with whatever the hell those ants in the kitchen are. But what about the other 60+ species of ants in Hawaiʻi? How can I tell them apart? Aren’t they all pretty much the same annoying little things? Missed the live presentation? Watch webinar HERE

Monday, May 20th 5:00 – 6:00 pm – Sting Operation: Oahu’s Fight Against Little Fire Ants. Join us for an insightful webinar providing a comprehensive status update on the Little Fire Ant (LFA) situation in Oahu. Delve into the latest detections, mitigation efforts, and community initiatives to control and prevent this invasive species’ spread. Gain valuable insights from experts as we discuss the current challenges and successes in managing LFA populations, and explore strategies for ongoing collaboration to safeguard our environment and communities against this pervasive threat. Missed the live presentation? Watch webinar HERE

Tuesday, May 21st 9:30 am am – Amplifying Statewide Efforts in Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Communication and Management: Hawai’i CRB Communications Plan. Join Arisa Barcinas, outreach associate with CRB Response, and Elizabeth Speith from 643pest.org and the HISC, for an deep dive into the new Hawai’i Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) Communications Plan and current CRB status. The Hawai’i CRB Communications Plan aims to foster collaborative community action to manage CRB across the state. They will also tackle strategies to combat misinformation and encourage an open discussion to address common misconceptions. The plan was created by a collaboration of CRB communications experts from multiple agencies and groups across the state, reflecting the unique populations and situations faced on each island and underscores the multi-agency approach essential for effective CRB management. Presented in collaboration with the Occasional Invasive Pest Mini-Conference CTAHR series. Missed the live presentation? Watch webinar HERE

Tuesday, May 21st 1:00 – 2:00 pm – When giving up isn’t an option; the efforts to stop little fire ants on Maui. In 2014, MISC crews found a 175-acre infestation of little fire ants (Wasmannia auropunctata) in rainy windward East Maui. No one knew how to eliminate it at the time, but to protect the rest of Maui, it had to happen. Fast forward to 2023 and no little fire ants can be found. Join MISC’s little fire ant coordinator to hear the story of how it happened. Missed the live presentation? Watch webinar HERE

Thursday, May 23rd 3:00 – 4:00 pm – Sniffing Out Solutions: Working Dogs in Invasive Species Management. Join us on a virtual huakaʻi across Hawaiʻi to learn about the world of conservation dogs, where wagging tails and keen noses are the frontline warriors against some of our worst invasive species. These remarkable canines, trained to detect the scent of invasive species, play a pivotal role in preserving delicate ecosystems worldwide. From sniffing out invasive devil weed (Chromolaena odorata) to tracking down little fire ants (Wasmannia auropunctata) and coconut rhinoceros beetles (Oryctes rhinoceros), these four-legged heroes are indispensable allies in the fight for biodiversity. Join us to learn more about the work of conservation dogs and their incredible human handlers across our islands! Missed the live presentation? Watch webinar HERE

Thursday, May 30th 10:00 – 11:00 am – Safeguarding Hawaii’s ʻŌhiʻa Trees Through The ʻŌhiʻa Disease Resistance Program and the Myrtle Rust Monitoring Network. Invasive pathogens threaten the health of ʻōhia lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) trees and the native forests it creates. Come and learn about how we are working to develop more Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death resilient trees through the ʻŌhiʻa Disease Resistance Program and to exclude new strains of the myrtle rust pathogen (Austropuccinia psidii) from entering Hawaiʻi via the Myrtle Rust Monitoring Network. Register for the webinar HERE.

Thursday, May 30th 1:00 – 2:00 pm – The People vs Invasive Species: How Laws, Rules, and Engaged Citizens Can Protect Hawaiʻi. Join Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) legal fellow Stephanie Easley and CGAPS Program Manager Christy Martin as they discuss opportunities for public participation in the legislative and regulatory process, and provide a brief recap of the fate of biosecurity related bills following the 2024 legislative session. Register for the webinar HERE.

Thursday, May 30th 3:00pm – Battling the Beetle: Exploring new tools and technologies for combating Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) in Hawai’i. Join us as we explore the latest advancements in tools and technologies for combatting the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle in Hawai’i with Dr. Michael Melzer, Dr. Zhiqiang Cheng, Dr, Daniel Jenkins, Mohsen Paryavi, and the CRB Response team. Hear from leading researchers at the University of Hawai’i as they discuss the diverse approaches being explored and employed to safeguard Hawai’i against CRB. Register for the webinar HERE.

Friday, May 31st 12:00pm – Navigating Rat Lungworm Disease: Insights, Risks, and Solutions. Join us for this critical HISAM webinar with two members of the UH Hilo Jarvi Lab (Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy) Argon Steel and Kay Howe to learn more about the rat lungworm parasite (Angiostrongylus cantonensis), the disease (RLWD) it causes, and how you can reduce the risk of infection to yourself and your ‘ohana. Learn more about the impacts of this potentially life altering disease and research updates to be aware of. Register for the webinar HERE.

More webinars announced everyday- check back for more! 
Missed a live presentation? Watch it at the HISC YouTube HISAM 2024 playlist.


🌱 EVENTS & VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES IN YOUR COMMUNITY 🤝

BE SAFE AND READ ALL REQUIREMENTS TO JOIN. 

May 1st 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Hilo Lei Day Festival, Hawai’i Island – Join us for a festive celebration at Kalakaua Park, featuring hula performances, live music, and lei making for enthusiasts of all skill levels. Don’t miss the chance to learn and engage as the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) hosts an informational table. Come immerse yourself in culture and community! Free event. More info

May 4th 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Community Workshop @ Kealia National Wildlife Refuge, Maui – Join representatives from the Maui County CRB Working Group to learn about all things CRB – including identification, prevention, and the Kokua for Coconuts early detection program. Enjoy exceptional birding opportunities at the refuge and learn how to protect Maui Nui from the damage of CRB with our experts.

May 10th, 17th, or 18th 9:00 am – 12:00 pm; Kaha Native Plant Garden, Oʻahu – Volunteers at Kaha Garden help to maintain this urban native plant garden. Volunteers are taught to identify the native plants, learn their growing patterns, how to properly propagate, and where to plant different species to maximize their ecological benefits. RSVP to [email protected] for event location and details. More info.

May 16th, 18th & 30th; Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project, Hawai’i Island – Help restore precious high elevation areas and support palila critical habitat with MKFRP by volunteering on any of their out planting dates. All volunteers must fill out volunteer forms. Please read all info carefully given difficult terrain and climate. 4WD vehicle may be required. More info.

May 18th 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Hala Festival, Hawai’i Island – A community celebration for hala and its cherished cultural and ecological functions. Foster a deeper hala connection and play an active role in protecting hala and preserving our traditions for future generations. Free event. More info: halafest.com

May 18th 9:00 am – 1:00 pm; OISC Devil Weed Crew Pūpūkea – Paumalū Volunteer Trip, Oʻahu – Volunteers will assist with trail surveys on O’ahu’s North Shore for devil weed (Chromolaena odorata) and hand pulling when we find it to prevent it’s further spread. RSVP required. Confirmation email will be sent after registration.

May 18th, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm; Hoa‘āina Stewardship Day: Niuli‘i, Hawai’i Island – Participants will meet and get to know Ohiohikupua (lauhala) and the ulu hala of Niuliʻi, build skills of hana lauhala (working with/caring for lauhala), and ulana lauhala (weaving) to perpetuate practices and strengthen pilina. Registration will open on May 6th. For more info: Email Mia Akau-LaClair [email protected]

May 25th – 28th; Friends of Haleakalā National Park Palikū Service Trip, Maui –Join us for a backcountry service trip to Palikū Cabin in Haleakalā National Park. Participants will help with weed control, cabin and trail maintenance. Must be fit and able to carry a large backpack and complete strenuous hikes to sites. Give back to Maui and strengthen your connection to ‘āina in this wahi pana (special place). Registration required by May 11th. Limited spots. Contact [email protected] for more info and to register. More details.

May 27th; Makahiki o nā manu nahele- Service trip to Waikamoi, Maui – Help control invasive ginger in Waikamoi preserve. Registration opens April 27. Limited spots available. Registration required. Contact Sarah Naone, Maui Field and Outreach Coordinator, at [email protected]. Registration and more details here.

May 30th, 5 – 8:30 pm; Grassroots Guardians, Battling Invasive Species in Maui County, Maui– Join Trisha Wilson & Freddie the LFA detection dog (MISC), Sara Tekula (Kula Community Watershed Alliance), Maile Davis (Mālama Hāmākua), and Miki’ala Makanamaikalani Pua’a-Freitas (Kapuna Farms) as they share about community driven invasive species management in Maui Nui live at the Maui Ocean Center Sphere or watch the event live streaming. More details & streaming links.

Every Wednesday from 8:30 to 10:30 am; Maui Nui Botanical Garden Weed and Pot club, Maui –Spend your morning helping the Gardens thrive through weeding and propagation. Come prepared to work with covered shoes and gardening attire. Rain or Shine. More details.


Don’t miss out on the fun and informative events happening during HISAM 24. Follow the #HISAM24 tag on Instagram and Facebook for live updates and additional activities. And be sure to subscribe to the HISC Youtube channel and check out the HISAM 24 playlist to watch any presentations you may have missed live.