HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Researchers at the University of Hawaii's Lyon Arboretum are taking on a new effort to raise awareness and combat Rapid Ohia Death (ROD).
The arboretum has been collecting and banking seeds of the cherished Ohia Lehua blossom in an attempt to preserve the species. The Native Hawaiian plant is dying in the thousands of acres on the Big Island because a fungus, known as ROD, is spreading.
State officials don't know exactly how it is spreading, but they are working to prevent it.
Beginning late September, Lyon Arboretum will hold free workshops statewide for anyone interested in learning how to properly collect and preserve Ohia seeds.
The workshops are a part of the Arboretum's Rapid Ohia Death Seed Banking Initiative.
"There is a lot more work to be done to secure Ohia across the state. So that's why we are trying to bring in more people and a lot of different groups and individuals involved in helping to complete this project," Marian Chau of Lyon Arboretum's Seed Conservation Lab said.
The workshops will teach how people to collect seeds without harming native forests.
Workshops are about three hours in length, and an RSVP is required.