Community Volunteers Continue to Mālama Maunakea

Center for Maunakea Stewardship Team Successfully

Outplants Silversword                        

The second Mālama Maunakea Volunteer Weed Pull in 2023 got underway earlier this month. Community volunteers weeded an overgrown planted area on Maunakea at the 9,000 ft elevation with the goal of creating bare ground for native plants to establish themselves in the area. Sixteen volunteers targeted mostly invasive grasses like ripgut and needlegrass, worked hard and removed about 2,100 pounds of the invasive weeds.

The Mālama Maunakea Volunteer Weed Pulls are part of the Center for Maunakea Stewardship’s (CMS) ongoing efforts to protect the resources on the mountain by helping to control fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) and other invasive plant species. Eradicating invasive species and weeds helps to reduce habitat for invasive ants, prevents unwanted invasive species from being transported to the upper elevation areas of Maunakea, and prepares the surrounding area for native plant replanting projects. 

Mālama Maunakea Volunteer Weed Pull By The Numbers

The May 2023 volunteer work added 2,100 pounds of pulled invasive weeds to the impressive running total.

  • 63 total Volunteer Weed Pulls
  • 1,600 community volunteers
  • Over 10,000 volunteer hours equalling 416.6 days!
  • 2,600+ reusable garbage bags of weeds pulled

Silversword Outplantings

In early 2022, efforts to re-establish the highly endangered silversword on Maunakea started sprouting through a partnership between the Center for Maunakea Stewardship, University of Hawaii at Hilo and the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife. Silversword seeds were sown at the Center for Maunakea Stewardship greenhouse at the Halepōhaku mid-level facility and sprouted into more than 100 seedlings under the care of CMS staff.

After spending over a year in the greenhouse acclimating and growing stronger, CMS and DLNR staff recently outplanted over ninety-two silversword into an enclosure at another location on Maunakea. The plants were placed there to help increase the genetic diversity of the silversword by introducing four new parental lineages. This is in hopes to help create a more robust silversword that can adapt to the different types of microclimates found on Maunakea.

“Partnerships like the one we have with Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife grow into successful examples of working together. I’m so proud of our team for the growing success we are having with silversword and other native species,” said CMS Resource Manager Justin Yeh. “We want to be a hub for habitat restoration, culture, education and astronomy on Maunakea.”

To date, the Center for Maunakea Stewardship has also planted more than 628 native plants near Halepōhaku. There are ongoing plans to continue planting as the keiki native plants growing in the greenhouse continue to mature.

For more information on the ongoing stewardship work on Maunakea, log onto  

The Center for Maunakea Stewardship works to achieve harmony, balance and trust in the sustainable management and stewardship of the Maunakea Science Reserve through extending Native Hawaiian and community involvement and programs that protect, preserve and enhance the cultural, natural, educational and scientific resources of Maunakea in a manner that integrates traditional Indigenous knowledge and modern science.
Harmony, Balance, Trust
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