That’s right–union members are actually going to work on a Saturday. Well, not really work: it’s more like doing gardening, except instead of their backyard, they’ll be going to Haleakala National Park. According to a Feb. 20 press release from the Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA), on Mar. 1 volunteers from the union will help the state Department of Land and Natural Resources transplant 100 rare Haleakala silverswords.
“Our members look forward to participating in this activity because it’s a hands-on way to help preserve this native plant species and our environment,” said Jessica Gleason, HGEA Maui Island Division’s Community Action Committee Vice Chair, in the Feb. 20 news release.
Silverswords have been considered endangered since 1992, but the future of rare and beautiful plant–which is endemic to Maui–is pretty dire. In fact, a year ago, researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of Hawaii announced that if climate change continues as now, the silversword is pretty much doomed.
“A strong association of annual population growth rates with patterns of precipitation suggests the plants are undergoing increasingly frequent and lethal water stress,” stated a USGS press release from Jan. 15, 2013. “Local climate data confirm trends towards warmer and drier conditions on the mountain, which the researchers warn will create a bleak outlook for the threatened silverswords if climate trends continue.”
For more information on how you can help with native planting projects, call Lance DeSilva, who works with the DLNR’s Maui Division of Forestry and Wildlife, at 808-873-3980.
Photo: Frank Kovalchek/Wikimedia Commons