USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station
Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
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News Releases 2013

Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry honored for work with youth

For Immediate Release: May 20, 2013

Contact: Sherri Eng, PSW Research Station, Public Affairs,; (510) 559-6327

Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps team members planting native species in Pu‘u Wa'awa'a. (Photo:  Elliott Parsons)
Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps team members planting native species in Puʻu Waʻawaʻa. (Photo: Elliott Parsons)

HILO, Hawaiʻi—The U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station's Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry (IPIF) will receive a 2013 Site of the Year Award from Kupu, a Honolulu, Hawaiʻi-based nonprofit community organization, for its conservation education work with Hawaiian youth. IPIF has hosted members from Kupu's Hawaiʻi Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC) and AmeriCorps programs for the past three years.

Kupu runs numerous programs which offer environmental stewardship opportunities for youth. Its AmeriCorps members worked on numerous Forest Service education and outreach activities, such as the Natural Inquirer, a nationally distributed science education journal for middle school students; Starts with a Seed, a More Kids in the Woods program connecting children with Hawaiian forests; Million ʻŌhiʻa Initiative, an ʻōhiʻa replanting effort; and Teaching Change, a partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa that brings youth to the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge to learn about climate change and conservation.

Last summer, IPIF received Forest Service Region 5 funds to support two HYCC crews—one each on the Laupāhoehoe and Puʻu Waʻawaʻa units of the Hawaiʻi Experimental Tropical Forest. Each six-person crew worked with local land managers to remove invasive plant species, replant native species, collect native plant seeds, build fences for native plant species protection, tallied previous outplanting efforts, and participated in the installation of research plots.  IPIF also hosted two research-focused interns who worked with station scientists to conduct field and lab work.

James Akau, an AmeriCorps member who worked with IPIF for two years will also be recognized as Kupu's Alumni of the Year. Akau was instrumental in the publication of the Hawaiʻi issue of the Natural Inquirer and the launch of the Starts with a Seed program. He continues to support the education and outreach efforts at IPIF, serving as a site manager for the HYCC program, assisting with Teaching Change efforts, and working with the Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School to integrate cultural geography and science into the classroom.

“This work was made possible by the great partnership we have established with USDA Forest Service Region 5, Kupu and with the Hawaiʻi Division of Forestry and Wildlife,” says IPIF research ecologist Dr. Christian Giardina, who helped establish the partnership with Kupu. “Our team has leveraged resources so that Hawaiʻi's youth can gain valuable job experiences in natural resources conservation and management.”

Headquartered in Albany, Calif., the Pacific Southwest Research Station develops and communicates science needed to sustain forest ecosystems and other benefits to society. It has research facilities in California, Hawaiʻi and the U.S.–affiliated Pacific Islands.
Pacific Southwest Research Station/USDA Forest Service
Science that makes a difference
Last Modified: Aug 29, 2016 09:45:40 AM