Tuesday, January 9, 2001
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Posted on: Tuesday, January 9, 2001

Forest preserve seeks big volunteer force

By James Gonser
Advertiser Leeward Bureau

KAPOLEI - The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii has completed its five-year master plan for the Honouliuli Preserve and is now seeking volunteers to carry out its mission of "exemplary stewardship."

Master plan to guide projects at Honouliuli

The Honouliuli master plan will be used as a guide on proposed strategies and actions to manage the preserve over the next five years.

Key strategies are:

Threat control: Concentrate resources to control wildfires and invasive alien plants and animals.

Habitat: Protect and restore the ecosystems, in cooperation with other landowners in the area.

Rare species: Protect and recover rare and endangered species to ensure their long-term survival.

Research: Promote research that guides and enhances management programs.

Safety and maintenance: Start activities that maintain the integrity of the preserve’s natural resources and ensure the safety of visitors, volunteers and staff.

For more information, or to volunteer, call Nathaniel Pak at 677-1674.

Honouliuli, a remote 3,692-acre forest in the Wai
anae range that the Nature Conservancy leases from Campbell Estate, is home to more than 70 species of rare and endangered native plants and animals.

"About 10 percent of Hawaii’s rare and endangered animals exist in the preserve," said Lance La Pierre, community outreach specialist. "Fire and alien species are our major concerns. If you continue to let those things go on their own way, it will choke out the native plants; pigs take their toll, and there wouldn’t be anything left to protect. It needs human intervention to be preserved for future generations."

The Nature Conservancy’s Oahu program hopes to move from its base in a small cottage at the Hawaii Agricultural Research Center in Kunia to larger quarters closer to the preserve, and to expand its office, storage and parking areas.

The group has seven full-time staff members and an annual budget of about $320,000.

La Pierre said volunteers are needed to provide labor and help with planning and decision-making. The group expects to need 300 to 350 individual volunteers providing the equivalent of 10 full-time positions per year.

Training will be provided to allow them to take on more responsibilities focused on the development of technical skills and leadership.

"Some people are interested in conservation work but are tired of just picking up rubbish and pulling weeds," La Pierre said. "This provides a training ground to expand their skills."

Waianae High School Hawaiian studies teacher Linda Gallano said some students already are volunteering at the preserve.

"Students go up there once a month to clear weeds and plant native plants," Gallano said. "The Nature Conservancy provides us a curriculum to learn, and they get our bodies out there working."

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