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Alternatives to herbicides, pesticides will be discussed

Know your ocean series continues

DUANE SPARKMAN, Hotel lanscaping manager

The public is invited to learn about ways to prevent harmful ocean pollution by choosing tested alternatives to herbicides and pesticides for their homes, businesses and landscaping at a free presentation at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Sphere at Maui Ocean Center in Maalaea.

The guest speaker will be Duane Sparkman, assistant chief engineer and landscaping manager at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa. The talk is part of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s “Know Your Ocean Speaker Series.” Reservations are encouraged due to limited seating at The Sphere and can be made by going to bit.ly/DuaneSparkman.

Sparkman offers firsthand knowledge about what works to control pests and weeds based on his years of experience as a professional landscaper, designing and maintaining luxury resort properties and private residences; his work at Haleakala National Park’s Vegetation Management Division; and in his current capacity at The Westin Maui.

“We are offering this presentation as part of launching the new year, hoping that more people will resolve to find ways to protect our coral reefs and marine environment by reducing or avoiding the use of herbicides and pesticides in their homes, yards and at their places of employment, including golf courses and resorts,” said Robin Newbold, chairwoman of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council.

Newbold said that most people don’t realize how porous the soil is on Maui and how readily chemicals from pesticides and herbicides find their way into the ocean, causing harm to fish, birds and corals.

“We owe it to our coral reefs and ocean water to find better ways to manage pests and weeds without adding harmful chemicals to our land and marine ecosystems,” said Newbold. “We’re grateful that Duane Sparkman is willing to share his practical, hands-on knowledge and experience with us all.”