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MAUI, Hawaii (The Maui News, Nov. 26) –– A Kula nursery manager and the caretaker of the D.T. Fleming Arboretum were presented with awards this month for their contributions to protecting Maui’s environment.

Nancy Snow, the popular nursery manager of Kula True Value Hardware and Nursery, and Martha Vockradt-Moran, who has became a major player in preserving endangered native plants, were honored by different organizations.

Snow was given the third annual Malama I Ka Aina Award for her efforts to prevent coqui frogs from being introduced to Maui via nursery shipments. The award is sponsored by the Maui Invasive Species Committee, Maui Association of Landscape Professionals and the County of Maui.

Vockradt-Moran received the second annual Malama Kula Award from the Kula Community Association for helping to possibly save the rare alani tree.

The last fertile tree of the species had been in poor condition in the family arboretum where Vockradt-Moran serves as custodian, following in the footsteps of her grandfather, renowned agronomist D.T. Fleming, and her parents, Jack and Euphence Vockradt.

She assembled a team of local experts who diagnosed the tree’s ailment. Once it got stronger, the tree produced seeds which have grown into seedlings that recently were transplanted into the wild.

"If the alani has been saved from extinction, Martha’s contributions will be a decisive factor," said Alan Kaufman, as he presented the award during the association’s recent general membership meeting.

The alani tree was once common in the Auwahi dryland forest where D.T. Fleming collected seeds more than 50 years ago for his arboretum. Earlier this year, the seedlings were planted back at Auwahi, in the shadow of the only other known alani, one that has yet to produce seeds.

"The effort to preserve the alani remains a work in progress," said Kaufman. "The restoration of Auwahi remains the work of generations to come."

Vockradt-Moran also was cited for her weekly cleaning of the filters of the sugar sludge water irrigation system that provides for the monkeypod and royal poinciana

trees near the cane fields along

Hana Highway near Kahului Airport.

Snow has been with Kula True Value Hardware and Nursery for more than 10 years where customers seek her out for her wide range of knowledge and friendly advice on growing all kinds of plants. For much of that time, Snow has been nursery manager, responsible for choosing and ordering plants

throughout the state, including the Big Island, which is home to large infestations of noisy coqui frogs.

With more coqui colonies becoming established on Maui in the past decade, Snow knows the risks involved of accidentally bringing in more. She has been careful to order only from nurseries that she trusts and feels confident are coqui-free.

"I have enough people that will call me and they want to be assured that the plants that they buy are coqui-free," she said.

"So I want to let people know that we’re a coqui-free nursery."

The group that honored Snow singled out Kula True Value Hardware and Nursery for taking many precautions to minimize the importation of plants and animals that could become threats to the natural environment.

During the awards ceremony, a proclamation for Snow was read on behalf of Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Previous winners of the Malama I Ka Aina Award include Elaine Malina, agriculture supervisor at Maui Tropical Plantation (2003) and Arlene Taus, certified arborist for tree health management (2004).

The Kula Community Association began giving an annual award last year specifically to honor the efforts of Henrietta Chong for her decade of determination that resulted in round-the-clock emergency medical services, including an ambulance, for the community.

November 28, 2005

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