Be on the lookout for invasive species


For the first time, the state will participate in National Invasive Species Awareness Week, observed from Monday to March 10.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie will kick off Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week with a proclamation at 10 a.m. Monday in the Capitol auditorium.

“Invasive species impact our natural resources, food security, health, cultural heritage, economy and way of life, and we must build our capacity to address these challenges,” said Abercrombie.

The state’s Hawaii Invasive Species Council is coordinating a series of events and activities with council member partners.

The council plans to commend individuals, agencies, organizations and businesses that have helped protect Hawaii from invasive species — a full list of winners and honorable mentions is available at hisaw2013.blogspot.com. Hilo real estate agent Mary Begier and The Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce are among the winners. They are being given the community hero award for both helping spread the word about invasive species and for 800 volunteer hours of invasive species-pulling on Mauna Kea.

People across the state can participate online at the same site by finding out what’s living in their backyard. The public is invited to take and submit photos of plants and animals anywhere in Hawaii and post them to the Project Noah website or via mobile app. More than 30 local experts have volunteered to help the public identify the plants and animals in their photos and whether they are native, non-native or invasive species.

You can also find on that site a full list of volunteer activities across the state, with opportunities including working to restore the forests of Keauohana on Hawaii Island on March 9.