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Bill signed to name ʻōhiʻa lehua as state endemic tree

Posted on Jun 27, 2022 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main
Student support led to a bill recognizing the importance of ʻōhiʻa lehua.

Student support led to a bill recognizing the importance of ʻōhiʻa lehua.0730

The earnest efforts by hundreds of school children, their teachers, state lawmakers, and conservationists resulted in Governor Ige signing SB 2059 into law during a Washington Place ceremony. The measure designates ʻōhiʻa lehua as the official Hawai‘i State Endemic Tree. ‘Ōhiʻa is the most common native tree in our forests — from the lower elevations to the highest peaks — covering close to one million acres of land statewide.

Governor Ige told the invited guests, including 30 keiki, that it was their powerful voices that helped bring this designation into law. “They are among those who, in the future, will help ensure our ʻōhiʻa-dominated forests survive and thrive for all generations,” he said. The governor stressed the importance of the designation, saying, “‘Ōhiʻa lehua is a symbol of Hawai‘i. As a keystone species, it makes up fully 80% of our native forests. Unfortunately, Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death has killed more than a million ʻōhiʻa trees on Hawai‘i Island alone over the past eight years. Providing this recognition will help spread the message about how important this species has been, and will continue to be, to life in Hawai‘i.” The bill signing concluded with the ceremonial planting of a young ʻōhiʻa tree on the grounds of Washington Place, with students from Waimānalo and Mānoa  Elementary participating, along with the governor, Mrs. Ige and legislators.

Read more in the July Capitol Connection newsletter.

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