Haleakala Volunteers credited with 16,000 hours of work in 2010

November 18, 2010, 6:41 AM HST · Updated November 18, 6:41 AM
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By Wendy Osher

Long-time environmentalists, civic groups and volunteers from high schools around Maui, will be honored tonight during an awards dinner at the Maui Tropical Plantation.  The Haleakala National Park is hosting the event to recognize the volunteers who are credited with over 16,000 hours of service last year and 84,000 hours of service since 2006.  More than 400 people volunteered their time last year to remove thousands of invasive pines and shrubs, staffing the parks visitor center, repairing cabins, and protecting the endangered nene goose.

Nene Crossing signs are posted at Haleakala National Park. The endangered goose is one of the protected lifeforms found within the park boundaries.

At 6 pm on Thursday, November 18th, Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum will honor their volunteer service at the awards dinner.

About half of last year’s hours were given by service groups removing 54,000 invasive pines and shrubs that were either newly found within the wilderness or near encroachment to park boundaries.

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The remaining volunteer hours were donated by a mix of mainland and local retired business executives, fence builders, skilled carpenters, educators, biologists-in-training, college students, and search and rescue workers working in their areas of expertise. Some lent their skills helping to improve the park’s planning and infrastructure while reducing the park’s carbon footprint.

“In today’s fast paced world, time is an extremely valuable commodity. That so many people choose to donate their time to the protection Haleakalā National Park is humbling. This celebration honoring the enormous contribution of our volunteers is our small way of saying thank you,” said Superintendent Creachbaum in a media release.

Tomorrow’s recognition will also extend to National Park retired employees Ron Nagata and Ted Rodrigues for their ties to the `Oahu, Kipahulu and east Maui communties who regularly serve the park each year. Full-time in-park volunteer, Al Woodson, is credited with contributing more than 1,000 hours, helping protect populations of endangered nēnē and managing traffic during a head-on car collision. Pacific Whale Foundation and the Friends of Haleakalā National Park will take home honors for their free monthly wilderness service trips open to the public.

(Supporting information courtesy Haleakala National Park)

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