02/03/2023 | Press release | Archived content
DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
JOSH GREEN, M.D.
Feb. 3, 2023
(HONOLULU) - A recent survey of Hawai'i residents shows that the vast majority (93%) consider invasive species a serious issue. The State is half-way through the implementation of the 2017-2027 Hawai'i Interagency Biosecurity Plan to fill the gaps in invasive species prevention and control, and with the aim to increase awareness in helping to protect Hawai'i.
Most of the bad bugs and animals that arrive on our shores get here by air or on a ship. With most of our goods coming from outside the state, airports and harbors are the two primary pathways for pests, which can have negative impacts on agriculture, natural resources, and even human health.
Just in time for the beginning of the annual Hawai'i Invasive Species Awareness Month (HISAM) observance a new interactive, biosecurity exhibit is now up in the Mauka Concourse in Terminal One at Honolulu International Airport.
A team from Bishop Museum designed the biosecurity exhibit, which it assembled with help from Christy Martin of the Hawai'i Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) late last Friday night into Saturday morning.
"This interactive biosecurity exhibit is here to help visitors and traveling residents to understand how important it is to protect Hawai'i from invasive species and demonstrate some of the actions they can take that will really make a difference," Martin said.
She and others who work daily on invasive species issues wanted the exhibit to be interactive. They hope hikers traveling between islands will actually use the airport boot brush station, a practice that can reduce the spread of invasive weeds when using the State's many popular trails. This also helps prevent the spread of diseases like Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death.
For young travelers, the exhibit has an interactive game called, "Be an Ag Inspector." Scrolling from screen to screen, keiki and adults, can inspect photos of commodities and containers to find the pest, and tap on the screen to win.
Earlier this week, DLNR Chair Dawn Chang and Hawai'i Dept. of Agriculture (HDOA) Chair Sharon Hurd were among the first to demonstrate the exhibit.
"This exhibit is a great example of the message that we are all responsible for the safe keeping of Hawai'i," Hurd commented. "We're responsible for keeping our home free of invasive species. It's like when you invite someone into your home, and you expect them to take their shoes off at the door. That's why we have the boot cleaning station, so you scrape all the dirt off when you board a plane and when you arrive."
Chang added, "It's colorful, it's catchy, and it's interactive. It is designed in a way that captures the Hawaiian language. It captures the whole purpose of the biosecurity plan, which is to protect our environment, our food supplies, our homes from invasive species. We see education as one of the first lines of defense for biosecurity."
Martin said, "We had so many partners help with this exhibit. Bishop Museum did a fantastic job with the design and layout; it's beautiful. And there were more than 20 agencies, organizations, and individuals that helped with content and review. Hopefully, everyone will come away with the sense that it takes all of us to protect Hawai'i."
Funding for the project was provided by Hau'oli Mau Loa Foundation, the Hawai'i Resilience Fund, and the Robert Emens Black Fund at the Hawai'i Community Foundation.
Hawai'i Invasive Species Awareness Month is hosted by the Hawai'i Invasive Species Council (HISC), with partners such as DLNR and HDOA. Partners across Hawaiʻi will host events during February to promote invasive species awareness, including educational webinars and volunteer opportunities. On social media, look out for a series of "myth busting" posts which will share information about invasive species.
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(All images and video courtesy: DLNR)
HD video - Honolulu Airport biosecurity exhibit (Jan. 27 and 30, 2023):
Photographs - Honolulu airport biosecurity exhibit (Jan. 27 and 30, 2023):
2023 Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Awareness Month webinars and volunteer opportunities: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/2023hisam/