Ecotourism: Maui training program aims at boosting environmental education and awareness
Conservationists and tour-guides are teaming-up to boost environmental education, and increase awareness of Hawai‘i’s unique natural resources.
A quick glance around Honolulu and you see modern times, construction, cars, and busy communities.
If you look a little harder, there are pockets of Hawaii of old. A green, peaceful paradise.
More and more visitors come looking for a piece of that paradise, and conservationalists are taking notice.
“We wanna make sure there’s an accurate interpretation of our natural environment, and what tourists might see while they’re here,” said Allison Borell, Program Director for Maui Mauka Conservation Awareness Training.
Nature-based tours are becoming a big draw according Borell. She says, in recent years, she and her group of conservationalists have teamed-up with tour guides from Maui to better equip them for environmental education.
“They basically develop their knowledge more on our native Eco-systems as far as native species, our watershed function, and our native birds,” says Borell.
These days it’s difficult for native birds and plants to keep up with competition.
“With people coming here the rate of introduction has really changed,” says Borell, “we had one species come here 30-thousand years before people arrived. Today, we have a new species arriving every 18-days.”
On average, for every 1-thousand species introduced, one will be invasive. Even deadly.
“Ohi'a tree's made up about 80% of canopy rain forests -- but you don't see that anymore,” shares Borell.
Reducing the risks of invasive species isn't the only goal.
“They would have the native species that were here before, continued fresh water, and less introduction of invasive species.”
It could help perpetuate a thriving 'aina.