If you are looking for an opportunity to support the environment in Hawaii while you are on vacation or even from afar, consider the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. This non-profit organization protects and restores battered lands back to their original state — making them more sustainable. Many of the sites also have a cultural background.
We had the opportunity to explore one of the HILT projects on Maui at Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge. Waihe’e was slated to become a luxury golf course when burial sites were uncovered at the start of construction. Work was halted and the further investigation discovered that this site had been a significant Hawaiian village dating back to 941.
The 277 acres of Waihe’e were purchased by HILT to restore the habitat and preserve this significant archeological site. So far, some of the progress made by HILT is the reintroduction of native plant species for conservation as well as encouraging the return of native Hawaiian wildlife. Per their website, they’ve shared this progress:
In testament to the returning health of the ecosystem, eight different endangered species have taken up residence at the Refuge in recent years. With the wetlands primarily cleared and habitat-appropriate plants now thriving, the area is host to many native Hawaiian bird species, including ae‘o (stilt), alae ke‘oke‘o (coot), koloa (duck), and even nene (goose).
Waihe’e is open to the public to explore via a self-guided, two-mile coastal trail. If you’d like to lend your hand to restore Waihe’e, HILT organizes a volunteer program on Fridays from 8 until noon. For more information, call 808-244-LAND.
To learn more about volunteering with HILT on other Hawaiian Islands, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 808-244-LAND. Make sure that you pack closed-toe shoes, long pants, sun protection and a hat.
Aloha aina (for the love of the land.)