Our project is focused on developing a hands-on community outreach program so that residents and visitors, but most importantly youth/students, recognize and appreciate our native forests. People will only understand the difference between a weedy, unhealthy forest and a diverse, water-generating forest when they get out and see both types firsthand. This project will allow us to raise awareness of watershed conservation on O‘ahu and raise our profile in the community. Most importantly, however, the work that volunteers will conduct through our volunteer work trips will significantly contribute to the forest conservation and restoration work that needs to get done. Small environmental management organizations like us rely solely on grants to fund our entire program. We simply do not have the staff or monetary capacity to accomplish everything that must be done.
Until just recently, KMWP never had an outreach program or position dedicated to developing and managing an outreach program. Our recently hired outreach specialist has selected volunteer work sites throughout the Ko'olau mountain range that are appropriate for a range of skill sets and fitness levels. Volunteers will directly and positively impact the watershed by removing invasive weeds fragmenting the native forest and outplanting native plants. They will learn about the flora and fauna of each area, field safety and work techniques, and the importance of maintaining healthy forests. Volunteers will also be involved with data collection for progress monitoring, using tools such as GPS units, compasses, and clinometers.
Some of our proposed project outcomes include but are not limited to:
1. At least 24 volunteer trips coordinated in the year 2014
2. At least 240 volunteers and others reached through outreach events and media in the year 2014
3. Presence at five community outreach events minimum in the year 2014
Funded by Oahu, HI (July 2014)