(BIVN) – Another Mālama Maunakea Volunteer day was held this month – the second of the year – as participants weeded an over grown area on Maunakea at the 9,000 ft elevation and helped to reestablish the highly endangered silversword in the area.
The University of Hawaiʻi says the Mālama Maunakea Volunteer Weed Pulls are part of the Center for Maunakea Stewardship’s ongoing efforts to protect the resources on the mountain. To date, there have been 63 total Volunteer Weed Pulls involving 1,600 community volunteers (over 10,000 volunteer hours), filling over 2,600 reusable garbage bags with pulled weeds.
From the University news release:
In early 2022, efforts to re-establish the highly endangered silversword on Maunakea started sprouting through a partnership between the Center for Maunakea Stewardship, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife. Silversword seeds were sown at the Center for Maunakea Stewardship greenhouse at the Halepōhaku mid-level facility and sprouted into more than 100 seedlings under the care of CMS staff.
After spending over a year in the greenhouse acclimating and growing stronger, CMS and DLNR staff recently outplanted over ninety-two silversword into an enclosure at another location on Maunakea. The plants were placed there to help increase the genetic diversity of the silversword by introducing four new parental lineages. This is in hopes to help create a more robust silversword that can adapt to the different types of microclimates found on Maunakea.
“Partnerships like the one we have with Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife grow into successful examples of working together. I’m so proud of our team for the growing success we are having with silversword and other native species,” said CMS Resource Manager Justin Yeh. “We want to be a hub for habitat restoration, culture, education and astronomy on Maunakea.”
To date, the Center for Maunakea Stewardship has also planted more than 628 native plants near Halepōhaku. There are ongoing plans to continue planting as the keiki native plants growing in the greenhouse continue to mature.