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Public Invited to Free Talk by Duane Sparkman on “Preventing Ocean Pollution: Proven Alternatives to Herbicides and Pesticides for Your Home, Business and Landscaping”

The public is invited to learn about ways to prevent harmful ocean pollution by choosing tested alternatives to herbicides and pesticides for their homes and businesses, and all of their landscaping, at a free presentation by Duane Sparkman, Assistant Chief Engineer and Landscaping Manager at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa.

The talk is part of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s “Know Your Ocean Speaker Series” and will take place on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 5:30 pm at The Sphere at Maui Ocean Center. Admission is free, but reservations are encouraged, due to limited seating at The Sphere. To make a free reservation, please go to https://bit.ly/DuaneSparkman.

Sparkman offers a wealth of practical first-hand experience about what works to control pests and weeds, based on his years of experience as a professional landscaper, designing and maintaining luxury resort properties and private residences, his work at Haleakala National Park’s Vegetation Management Division and recently, as the Assistant Engineer and Landscaping Manager at The Westin Maui.

At The Westin Maui, Sparkman has successfully implemented measures to reduce the resort’s use of herbicides and pesticides, showcasing alternatives that are safer and more environmentally friendly.

“We are offering this presentation as part of launching the New Year, hoping that more people will resolve to find ways to protect our coral reefs and marine environment by reducing or avoiding the use of herbicides and pesticides in their homes, yards and at their places of employment, including golf courses and resorts,” says Robin Newbold, Chair of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council.

Newbold points out that most people don’t realize how porous our soil is on Maui and how readily chemicals from pesticides and herbicides find their way into the ocean, causing harm to fish, birds and corals.

According to the NOAA Ocean Service Education website, pesticides are designed to be toxic to a target organism, but they often kill other organisms as well. “The insecticide azinphos-methyl, for example, which is used to control insects such as biting mites and aphids, is also very toxic to fish and birds.” The website notes that many of the compounds used today are toxic at very low concentrations.

Herbicides also penetrate coral tissues and rapidly, within minutes, can reduce the efficiency of the beneficial algae (zooxanthellae ) that live within the corals, as reported in “Chemical Pollution on Coral Reefs: Exposure and Ecological Effects Ecological Impacts of Toxic Chemicals, 2011,” written by Joost W. van Dam, Andrew P. Negri, Sven Uthicke and Jochen F. Mueller, and published in the book, Ecological Impacts of Toxic Chemicals, by Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.  The zooxanthellae convert the energy from the sun into food for the corals through photosynthesis, providing corals with about 90% of their food. When herbicides enter the ocean, they can cause the corals to suffer due to reduced food availability.

“We owe it to our coral reefs and ocean water to find better ways to manage pests and weeds without adding harmful chemicals to our land- and marine-ecosystems,” says Newbold. “We’re grateful that Duane Sparkman is willing to share his practical, hands-on knowledge and experience with us all.”

Maui Nui Marine Resource Council also acknowledges and thanks Maui Ocean Center for providing free meeting space at The Sphere for this event.

About Duane Sparkman:
A resident of Maui since 1995 arriving here from Texas, Duane is an avid photographer who aspires to capture “rare moments”. His life’s passion is to preserve intact Hawaiian forests and the perpetuation of Hawaiian Culture. Duane is a professional landscaper by trade, designing and maintaining luxury resort properties, private residences, and working on projects within the Haleakala National Park, Vegetation Management Division. When he is not working or volunteering his time with various Hawaiian reforestation projects “putting back what belongs” he enjoys spending time with his wife, Erin and 2 children, Evan and Isabella cultivating his back yard native forest.

About The Westin Maui Resort & Spa:
Centrally located on pristine Ka’anapali Beach, the spectacular transformations within this resort will completely reimagine many areas of the 12-acre tropical paradise. Surrounded by lush gardens with cascading waterfalls, the 770-room beachfront resort abounds with ways to rejuvenate. Guests can indulge in six outdoor pools that include a brand new family pool and dedicated adults-only pool, spa rejuvenation, unique dining experiences and cultural activities. It is mere steps away from snorkel and sunset cruises, neighboring Whalers Village and championship golfing. Visit www.westinmaui.com.

About Maui Nui Marine Resource Council

Maui Nui Marine Resource Council is a community-based nonprofit organization celebrating 11 years of working for healthy coral reefs, clean ocean water and abundant native fish throughout Maui County. Our work includes co-managing the Hui O Ka Wai Ola Ocean Water Quality Monitoring Program at 41 sites in South and West Maui, efforts to reduce pollution in Ma‘alaea Bay (through erosion-control efforts in the Pohakea watershed and using oysters to filter sediment and pollutants from ocean water), coral reef research, visitor education programs and more. Learn more at www.mauireefs.org.

About Maui Ocean Center 
Since 1998, Maui Ocean Center has fostered understanding, wonder and respect for Hawaiʻi’s marine life, drawing thousands of visitors from across the globe. The three-acre marine park, located in Wailuku, Maui, faithfully replicates the natural ocean ecosystem featuring only animals who are native to Hawai’i. The center features the largest collection of live Pacific corals in the world, over 60 exhibits, 20 daily presentations by marine naturalists, outdoor tide pools and a 750,000-gallon Open Ocean exhibit with a 240-degree view acrylic tunnel. Maui Ocean Center operates in compliance with a County of Maui ordinance prohibiting the exhibit of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and offers exploration of these creatures through interpretive displays, including its cutting-edge “Humpbacks of Hawai‘i” Exhibit & Sphere. Under the guidance of Kahu Dane Maxwell, the aquarium integrates Hawaiian culture in presentations, exhibits, special events, and also in the marine park’s standards of operations and service.  For more information, please visit https://mauioceancenter.com.



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