(BIVN) – The ʻŌhiʻa Love Fest was be held at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo on Sunday.
Hundreds of participants were treated to live music and entertainment, informational talks, games, and demonstrations on how to reduce the spread of Rapid ‘Ohi’a Death, the Ceratocystis fimbriata fungus that has already killed hundreds of thousands of ʻōhiʻa on Hawaii Island. This disease has killed trees in the South Hilo, Puna, Kaʻū and Kona districts – and recently, in Waimea, officials say – and has the potential to kill ʻōhiʻa trees statewide.
Anya Tagawa, who does outreach for the Hawaii DLNR DOFAW Natural Area Reserve System program, spoke about organizing the event during a video interview.
There were many booths set up to relay the information on how to preventing the spread of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources lists these five important practices:
1. Don’t move ʻōhiʻa wood or ʻōhiʻa parts. If you don’t know where the ʻōhiʻa material is from, don’t move it.
2. Don’t transport ʻōhiʻa inter-island. Follow the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture quarantine rule and help to keep ROD from reaching the other islands.
3. Avoid injuring ʻōhiʻa. Wounds serve as entry points for the fungus and increase the odds that the tree will become infected and die from ROD. Avoid pruning and contact with heavy equipment wherever possible.
4. Clean gear and tools, including shoes and clothes, before and after entering forests. Brush all soil off of tools and gear, then spray with 70% rubbing alcohol. Wash clothes with hot water and soap.
5. Wash the tires and undercarriage of your vehicle with soap and remove all soil or mud, especially after traveling from an area with ROD and/or if you have traveled off-road.