This month, five of our artists will join environmentalists and dance artists on the “Big Island” of Hawaiʻi as part of our continued relationship with Global Water Dances. During this week-long effort the artists will partake in both a cross-cultural learning exchange and restoration efforts taking place at several endangered locations throughout the Island.
As part of this initiative we have partnered with several Hawaiʻi-based organizations to inform and guide us as we engage with local communities and wildlife present in the area. One of these organizations is the Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund (HWF), a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 that is committed to preserving Hawaiʻi’s native wildlife through research, education, conservation and advocacy.
Our team has had the pleasure of collaborating with Megan Lamson, HWF’s Board President and Hawaiʻi Program Director. Lamson has been coordinating HWF’s Hawaiʻi Island Marine Debris Removal and Anchialine Restoration projects since 2008, but shares “I’ve been interested in helping protect aquatic wildlife and coastal ecosystems since childhood” which is evident in the passion she exudes for her work.
A typical day for Lamson and her team varies greatly, but she states “the bulk of our work is within the Ka‘ū Forest Reserve. A typical day down there, we couple reconnaissance efforts and marine-debris recovery together, so we’re often scoping out both how our ongoing restoration projects are going along the coast and around the anchialine pools, which is a unique kind of coastal ecosystem, and the war between the native and invasive species in the native coastal strand plant community.”
When asked what she perceives to be the largest threat to Hawaiʻi’s wildlife Lamson offers, “I think you can sum it all up in climate change.” She goes on to say that as sea-levels rise they inundate Hawaiʻi’s coastal ecosystems and in turn spread invasive species. Ocean acidification is another aspect of climate change, wherein human-driven carbon dioxide emissions are being absorbed into the ocean at a high rate, causing the pH level to rise and threatening the survival of many plant and animal species.
Though climate change may seem like something beyond any one individual’s control, Lamson urges “We are part of the solution, too.” She recommends that if we as a community come together on small scale projects we can contribute to minimizing the impact of climate change across the globe. Some of these projects include investigating what chemicals are used in any lawn or home garden products, turning off lights when leaving a room, cleaning up litter in a nearby neighborhood, eating local, opting out of single-use plastic and not flying as frequently.
Lamson shares, “There are ways that we all can be a little bit more mindful and pay attention that there is only one planet Earth.”
Thank you Megan for sharing your expertise, insight and personal experience with us.
To find out more about Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund (HWF), click here.
To find out more about the itinerary of the Core artists in Hawaiʻi and how you can join the fight for safe water, visit our webpage.