Maui News

Battling invasive species topic of County sustainability series, May 30

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The invasive little fire ants show on a chopstick are pale orange and tiny, at just 1/16th of an inch. Photo Courtesy: Hawaiʻi State Department of Agriculture
Freddie, the little fire ant detection dog. PC: County of Maui

The County of Maui Environmental Protection and Sustainability Division has announced the third installment of its Sustainability Together: Community-led Regenerative Action speaker series from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, at the Maui Ocean Center Sphere. This session, titled “Grassroots Guardians: Battling Invasives in Maui County,” is being held during Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Awareness Month.

In collaboration with the Maui Invasive Species Committee, the event focuses on the pervasive impacts of invasive species within Maui County and showcases community-led efforts to combat these threats. Speakers will highlight how local initiatives are pivotal in enhancing our ability to support each other in advancing grassroots action, protecting our environment, and building resilience in Maui County.

The event will feature a recent arrival from Australia: Freddie, the Little Fire Ant detection dog, along with his handler, who will perform a live demonstration. Freddie’s skills highlight innovative and effective strategies in the fight against invasive species, providing a unique perspective on conservation technologies and techniques.

Event flyer. PC: County of Maui

“As we observe Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Month, we recognize that community action is critical for maintaining the rich culture and biodiversity that define Maui County,” said Shayne Agawa, director of the county Department of Environmental Management. “Our Sustainability Together series underscores the essential role of community-driven initiatives in fostering environmental stewardship and resilience.”

Panelists for the May 30 event include Sara Tekula of Kula Community Watershed Alliance, Trisha Wilson of Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC), Maile Davis of Mālama Hāmākua and Mikiʻala Makanamaikalani Puaʻa-Freitas of Kapuna Farms.

This event is an opportunity to interact with local experts, pose questions and discover community-led tools and solutions that can be implemented at the grassroots level.


The event will be live-streamed by Akakū: Maui Community Media on Channel 54, the Maui Streams app and YouTube.

For additional information or to arrange for Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations, visit or call the Environmental Protection and Sustainability Division at (808) 270–7631.


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