Categorized | Environment

Website to help increase conservation

MEDIA RELEASE

Hawaii Conservation Alliance (HCA) has launched an online community where people and organizations can network and get involved with preserving, protecting and restoring the precious ocean, land, and cultural resources in Hawaii.

“ConservationsConnections.org is a key initiative by the Hawaii Conservation Alliance to increase support for conservation work across the Hawaiian Islands,” said Lihla Noori, Executive Director of HCA. “The new web tool is a one-stop shop for anyone who is looking for opportunities to volunteer, intern, research, or donate to a diverse range of non-profits that are doing great work stewarding land, ocean and cultural sites.”

According to Noori, “This is the first website of its kind, uniting a wealth of information for people to get plugged into conservation efforts. There’s no better time than now for this web resource. Many people are aware of the need to protect and preserve Hawaii’s natural beauty and resources, and they want to invest time, money and talent. However, they often don’t know where the places are located, let alone have information about these areas and how they can help. ConservationConnections.org will help bridge that gap.”

Initially, ConservationConnections.org will allow users to:

* Search for conservation areas throughout Hawaii, using a variety of search criteria such as name and location. In the tool, these areas are called “Stewardship Sites.”

* Search by type of conservation activities, such as debris/invasive species removal, planting natives, nature walks/eco-tours, monitoring/surveying, restoration and education/community outreach.

* Learn about upcoming volunteer events or how to get involved as a volunteer.

* Learn about upcoming community activities happening at a Stewardship Site.

* Seek research opportunities and internships within various conservation organizations.

Upcoming capabilities will allow users to make online donations directly to non-profits through a novel partnership with PayPal, and will allow site managers to use an online tool to manage their volunteers (e.g., simplified processing, tracking, sharing photos and experiences, and more).

Being able to search by activity is a particularly helpful function, Noori said.

For example, if a teacher from Windward Oahu is instructing students about native birds and wants to supplement classroom study with a field trip, the teacher can search “birds” and review the various Stewardship Sites that may be possible for an excursion and volunteer activities.

Similarly, if parents want their family to get involved with helping to remove invasive plants, they can search for that category.

“We know that voluntourism is also becoming more popular,” Noori added, referring to the growing trend of mainland tourists as well as local residents who travel between islands and seek volunteer opportunities, particularly with environmental conservation, as part of their vacation experience.

“Conservation Connections will be a great resource to research and plan their vacation experience outside of the traditional resort or tourist destinations. They can search for what works best for their schedules by location, activity, time allotted and more,” Noori said. “Our resource will also allow these visitors the opportunity to stay connected to their favorite conservation organizations and to the conservation network in Hawaii as a whole even after they return home.”

Another key driver is to help stewardship organizations connect with people and other groups who want to support their cause.

“Too often conservation groups don’t have the resources to widely communicate the work they’re doing or to encourage people to get involved with their cause,” Noori said. “Our new site provides a fresh communications channel for such organizations and allows them to network with the broader conservation community.”

Currently, ConservationConnections.org has information on more than 60 organizations that are actively stewarding land, ocean or cultural sites. HCA’s goal is to ramp up to 100 stewardship sites by June.

Some examples of the statewide stewardship sites people can connect with through ConservationConnections.org include Haleakala National Parks, Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Lanai Limu Restoration Project, Mauna Kea Forest Restoration, Mokulua Wildlife Sanctuary and Ka Honua Momona on Molokai.

Founded in 1988, the Hawaii Conservation Alliance is a cooperative network of conservation leaders across Hawaii who preserve, protect and restore Hawaii’s cultural, ocean and land resources.

HCA includes governmental, cultural, educational and non-profit organizations who together steward the environment, build capacity for natural resource management, and engage communities in conservation.

— Find out more:
www.hawaiiconservation.org

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