With near perfect weather conditions, although a bit cold, more than 20 volunteers participated in the Office of Maunakea Management’s Malama Maunakea community weed pull on Saturday. Volunteers helped pull invasive species around the Visitors Information Station while also learning to identify native species sprouting among the weeds. By the end of the morning, volunteers had pulled enough weeds to fill 43 garbage bags.
The Malama Maunakea Volunteer weed pulls are part of OMKM’s efforts to protect the resources on the mountain by helping to control fireweed and other invasive plant species found around Maunakea’s 9,000-foot elevation. Eradicating weeds helps reduce habitat for invasive ants, prevents unwanted invasive species from being transported to the upper elevation areas of Maunakea, and prepares the surrounding area for future native plant restoration projects.
OMKM’s Malama Maunakea campaign connects community volunteers to help in resource management and stewardship of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve and mid-level support facilities at Halepohaku. Since its launch in 2012, Malama Maunakea has now organized 58 separate weed pulls with more than 1,500 community volunteers that put in over 10,000 hours of work which resulted in 2,300-plus garbage bags of weeds. OMKM has also planted more than 300 native plants near Halepohaku.
The Office of Maunakea Management is responsible for day-to-day management of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve as prescribed in the Master Plan. The adoption of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve Master Plan by the University of Hawaii Board of Regents in June 2000 marked a critical milestone in the management of Maunakea.