Volunteers Honored For 18,000 Hours at Haleakala National Park
By Wendy Osher
Haleakala National Park recognized dozens of volunteers for donating 18,000 hours in 2011.
The awards dinner, hosted at the Maui Ocean Center on Thursday night, honored students, boyscouts, educators, carpenters, lifeguards, and first responders.
Park officials say hundreds of local residents, visiting tourists, and college and high school interns, volunteered their time to remove thousands of invasive plants, educate visitors, repair cabins, and protect the endangered Nene goose and Hawaiian Petrel.
Invasive pines and shrubs were removed by volunteers from the Pacific Whale Foundation and the Friends of Haleakala National Park. The invasive species were removed after being found in wilderness areas or encroaching upon park boundaries.
This past summer, 17 high school and college interns gained direct work experience in removing invasive species, providing safety education to visitors, and learning about the fragile environment of Haleakala National Park.
“Haleakala National Park and Maui are made better thanks to the generous contributions of time and energy by so many people who share our passion for this incredible place,” said Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.
Retiree Ted Rodrigues was also honored for his work in the East Maui community where he regularly serves the park each year by hauling trash via horseback from the visitor cabins, fixing wilderness pasture fences, and repairing shelter.
Haleakala National Park serves over one million visitors annually. Since 2006, the park has recorded over 100,000 hours of volunteer service.