Volunteer effort aims to preserve silverswords

Volunteers from the Hawaii Government Employees Association’s Maui Community Action Committee will team up with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to transplant about 100 rare Haleakala silverswords on Saturday. Their efforts are aimed to help the threatened species population by planting within the state forest reserve.

Before silverswords were officially named a “threatened species” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1992, they were driven nearly to extinction by excessive grazing by cattle and goats and other human influences.

“This is the second year we have chosen this project as a way to give back to our community,” said Debra Kaiwi, Maui Island Division’s Community Action Committee chair. “Our members enjoy this activity because it gives them a hands-on opportunity with immediate results in helping to preserve our natural resources and our environment.”

HGEA members and DLNR staff will be prepping and planting silverswords propagated by the National Park Service.

Community groups interested in native planting projects may contact forester Lance DeSilva of DLNR’s Maui Division of Forestry and Wildlife at 873-3980.