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Students and Scientists Working Together to Save ʻŌhiʻa Forests

VSAS students and teachers worked with USDA PSW Forest Service Institute of Pacific Island Forestry (FS)on an exciting Citizen Science initiative to establish an ambrosia beetletrapping network in our student’sbackyards. Ambrosia beetles are known to carry fungal pathogens and have beenimplicated as one of the vectors that cause Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD). Central to this understanding if and how ROD may be spread by ambrosia beetles is the ability to quantify theabundance and distribution of ambrosia beetles acrossvarying landscape conditions andtime. Following a strict and simple protocol, VSAS students collected samples from their own backyards, and examined the specimens together with

scientists. According to Dr. Ken Pulafico, FS researcher, the geographic diversity of the beetle samples collected by ourstudents will be valuable for their research. Through this project, VSAS students were able to learn and apply scientific method to address a real world problem not only increasing understanding of scientific thinking and process, but also building efficacy for conservation action now and in the future. VSAS developed a scaffolded Citizen Science Ambrosia Beetle project curriculum to be used in other school to expand student participation in this important initiative.

Check out the Hawaiʻi Tribune Herald article about this project, Beetle mania.

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