Maui News

Workshop: How to Prevent Fires With Native Plants

January 15, 2020, 10:08 AM HST
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PC: Kealia Pond NWR.

Kealia Pond National Wildlife will be hosting three workshops on Jan. 18, Feb. 15, and March 21 on photographing birds and preventing fires with native plants.

This Saturdayʻs event will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature the following activities:

10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.: “Photographing Hawaii’s Birds”
Free Activity: Bird photographers Bruce Butler and Lourdes Venard will give a short talk, followed by a walk at Kealia Pond. Discussion includes cameras and other equipment, understanding bird behavior for the best photos, composition, camera settings, post processing, and more. Make sure to bring your camera and wear sturdy shoes for the walk! Take a photo and enter the Kealia Pond Photography contest happening this month.

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Presentation: “Using Native Vegetation as Firebreaks to Prevent Wildfires on Maui”
Dr. Susan Cordell, a research scientist and ecologist from the U.S. Forest Service’s Institute of Pacific Island Forestry in Hilo, will be making a presentation on “Using Native Vegetation as Firebreaks to Prevent Wildfires on Maui” at the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center.

Cordell has done experiments using a strategy to prevent the damage by brush fires in dry leeward areas such as the Pohakuloa Training Camp and Pu’u Wa’a dryland forest on the Big Island. The method of creating “green strips” uses native trees and shrubs to suppress flammable invasive grasses from fueling a wildfire.

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Greenstripping, or planting vegetated fuel breaks, is the practice of using plant species with fire-resistant characteristics to create areas of non- flammable vegetation that 1) disrupt fuel continuity & 2) limit the growth of fire-promoting grasses.

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Brush fires burned through nearly 14,000 acres in Central Maui and West Maui in 2019, threatening facilities at Maui Electric, the Maui Humane Society and the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center. This talk is part of the January 2020 membership drive for Friends of Kealia Pond NWR. Attendees are asked to join or rejoin for $20, or to make a donation to the Friends group.

The Saturday event will also have crafts for keiki, and visitors can explore the refuge’s interpretive displays at the visitor center; wildlife viewing walking paths and native pollinator garden. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and admission is free. Those interested in participating in the scheduled activities should meet with the leaders at the visitor center.

The Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge and visitor center is located at Milepost 6 on Maui Veterans Highway in Kīhei.

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