Volunteering in Haleakalā National Park | The Endemic ʻĀhinahina

January 13, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Recently I was fortunate enough to be part of a small group of volunteers planting endemic Silverswords at Haleakala's summit. It was an early, windy morning and absolutely beautiful. Conditions at Haleakala's summit are harsh, and these tough little plants are a part of a small group of plant and animal species that can withstand the extremes. Lead on by park botanist, Michelle Osgood, volunteers planted over 100 silverswords that morning! It was part of a statewide effort led by ReTree Hawaii to plant trees across all the islands.

I've always loved visiting Haleakala, the wild landscape holds a very special place in my heart. It was amazing to give back to a place so special to me, and for a cause so close to my heart. Hoping to dive into other volunteer efforts around Maui again soon. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-001Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Trays of 1 year old ʻāhinahina or 'Silverswords' (Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum) ready for planting! Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-003Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Park botanist Michelle Osgood educates volunteers about the ʻāhinahina. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-006Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020It was a cold and windy morning atop the mauna (mountain). Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-007Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Volunteer Carl Yoshihara lifts a tray of keiki silverswords to be planted near the park summit. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-011Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020The silverswords were planted near the start of Haleakala's famous 'Sliding Sands' trail (Keonehe'ehe'e). Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-013Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Osgood outlining the planting area for volunteers with Haupa‘Akea Peak in the background. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-015Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Park botanist Michelle Osgood showing off a naturally occurring hybrid (left) between the Āhinahina and Kūpaoa (Dubautia menziesii) next to a silversword (right). Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-018Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Showing volunteers the proper way to transplant silverswords to their new homes. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-019Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Placing the new transplants besides a larger rock or boulder can help provide some shelter from the strong winds often found atop Haleakala. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-020Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Checking the depth of the hole before turning out of it's pot to ensure proper planting. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-021Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Osgood demonstrating how to gently remove the fragile silversword from it's pot. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-023Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020 Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-025Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Volunteers watch park botanist carefully to ensure the silverswords planted will have the best chance at success! Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-027Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Another beautiful silversword planted to grace the mountaintop. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-029Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020 Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-030Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020 Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-035Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020 Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-036Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Park interns with Kupu Aina Corps also were part of the planting operation. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-040Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020 Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-042Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020 Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-044Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Kupu Aina Corp Park Interns Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-047Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020 Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-054Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Planting the only hybrid of the bunch! Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-055Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020 Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-057Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Tiny hairs on the silversword help the plant collect moisture from the air. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-058Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020These hairs pull moisture down to the plants root system, an important evolution in this arid environment. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-059Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020 Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-062Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-062View of crater basin and planting areas from atop Haupa‘Akea Peak. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-063Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Mature Silversword Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-065Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020The silversword erect structure collapses as it focuses energy and pushes it's large multi-flowered stalk into the air and dies. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-066Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Hundreds of seeds ready to scatter to the wind. Silversword-Planting-Haleakala-Oct3020-067Haleakala Silversword Planting 2020Seeds falling from a dried flower of the silversword.


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