Maui Ranch, Filmmaker, Ag Specialist Honored with Awards

March 6, 2014, 8:29 AM HST · Updated March 6, 10:07 AM
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Award recipients with Governor Neil Abercrombie. Courtesy photo.

Award recipients with Governor Neil Abercrombie. Courtesy photo.

By Wendy Osher

A Maui ranch, filmmaker, and agricultural specialist were honored this week for their dedication to protecting Hawaiʻi from invasive species as part of Invasive Species Awareness week.

ʻUlupalakua ranch on Maui was presented with the 2013 Business Leader award for protecting native habitat, preserving native flora and engaging in biocontrol efforts.

Farmer, photographer and film-maker Masako Cordray. She is credited with discovering the little fire ant in Hawaii and setting off a statewide response. Photo courtesy Office of the Governor.

Farmer, photographer and film-maker Masako Cordray. She is credited with discovering the little fire ant in Hawaii and setting off a statewide response. Photo courtesy Office of the Governor.

Masako Cordray, a farmer and award-winning filmmaker was honored with the Greatest Hit award after she detected little fire ants on a purchase of plant material in December.

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State officials say the discovery set off a chain of events that led to confirmation of the fire ant at other garden shops and sparked a statewide response effort.

Agriculture plant specialist, Chavalier Lavasa was honored with the Maui Nui MVP award for her work with local coffee growers to prevent the introduction of the coffee berry borer on Molokaʻi.

Other events being held in observance of Invasive Species Awareness week include a talk story session at Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge on Maui tomorrow, and volunteer service trips across the state to remove invasive species from key locations.

Senator J Kalani English (left). Photo courtesy State of Hawaiʻi, Office of the Governor.

Chavalier Lavasa and Senator J Kalani English. Photo courtesy Office of the Governor.

Governor Neil Abercrombie kicked off Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Awareness week on Monday saying, “invasive species pose the single greatest threat to Hawaii’s health, environment, economy, and people.”

The award ceremony has hosted by the Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council and included participation from Senator J Kalani English of Maui who presented two of the awards.

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