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UH plays a vital role in researching and raising awareness of Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death (ROD), a disease that is killing off the native and iconic ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree. CTAHR and other UH scientists are working with state and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations to learn about this disease and to assess what can be done to protect ‘ōhi‘a for future generations.
Part of that effort involves educating the public on the issue and explaining how people can reduce the chances of accidentally spreading the disease to new areas. One of these outreach efforts is the video documentary Saving ʻŌhiʻa—Hawaiʻi’s Sacred Tree, which features Extension forester J.B. Friday (NREM). The film highlights ‘ōhi‘a’s importance and the current threat that ROD poses. On Hawai‘i Island, hundreds of thousands of ‘ōhi‘a have been infected and died, and the potential impacts on watershed ecology, dependent species, and Hawaiian culture are immense.
The beautifully shot film was nominated for six Emmy awards by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Pacific Southwest Chapter. It took home three, for director (program, non-live), editor (program, no time limit), and photographer (program). Let’s hope it’s as effective as it is stunning!