Free Webinar to Focus on Dwelling Gardening


Courtesy photo

People are starting gardening in record numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Maui residents are joining the trend.

Experts say growing your own produce, landscaping and maintaining your garden are great ways to save money, play sports, be outdoors, and involve your Keiki in hands-on science learning.

Unfortunately, many people turn to toxic herbicides and chemicals when weeds and pests appear. In fact, the average farm contains ten times more chemicals per acre than a typical commercial farm, according to consumer reports.

Learn how to skip these toxic herbicides and pesticides and create a successful garden and beautiful garden with a free zoom presentation from landscape and gardening expert Duane Sparkman on Thursday June 4th at 3:30 p.m. Sparkman is Assistant Chief Engineer and Landscaping Manager at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa.

The guest host is Darla Palmer-Ellingson, local radio host and owner of 360 Social Business.


Sparkman takes you into his own yard via Zoom to demonstrate non-toxic gardening and landscaping in action. You will discover how to get great results, save money, and make family and pets safer in your yard. As chemicals enter the ocean through Maui’s porous soil, switching to organic methods also helps protect our local coral reefs and inshore fish populations.


This free Zoom presentation is part of the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s Know Your Ocean Speaker Series now being held through Zoom due to COVID-19. To make a free reservation, click here.

Sparkman provides a wealth of hands-on, first-hand experience of pest and weed control based on years of experience as a professional landscaper, planning and maintaining luxury resort properties and private homes, working in the Vegetation Management Department of Haleakala National Park, and more recently as the Assistant Engineer and Landscaping Manager at Westin Maui.

At the Westin Maui, Sparkman has successfully implemented measures to reduce the use of herbicides and pesticides at the resort, and has introduced alternatives that are safer and greener.


“We are offering this presentation with the hope that more people will decide to find ways to protect our coral reefs and the marine environment by reducing or avoiding the use of herbicides and pesticides in their home gardens and yards,” says Robin Newbold , Chairman of the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council.

Newbold points out that most people don’t know how porous our soil is on Maui, and how quickly chemicals from pesticides and herbicides can get into the ocean, harming fish, birds, and corals.

According to the NOAA Ocean Service Education website, pesticides are designed to be toxic to one target organism, but they often kill other organisms as well: “For example, the azinphos-methyl insecticide, which is used to control insects such as biting mites and aphids are also very poisonous to fish and birds. “

The website notes that many of the compounds used today are toxic at very low levels.

Herbicides also penetrate coral tissue and can quickly reduce the efficiency of the beneficial algae (zooxanthellae) that live in corals in minutes, reports the book Chemical Pollution of Coral Reefs: Exposure and Ecological Impacts. The zooxantella convert the sun’s energy through photosynthesis into food for the corals and provide corals with around 90% of their food. If herbicides get into the ocean, they can cause corals to suffer due to decreased food availability.

“We owe it to our coral reefs and ocean waters to find better ways to control pests and weeds without adding harmful chemicals to our terrestrial and marine ecosystems,” Newbold says. “We are grateful that Duane Sparkman is willing to share his practical, practical knowledge and experience with all of us.”

“We thank the Maui Mayor’s Office for Economic Development for supporting our Speak Your Ocean Speaker Series,” said Newbold.