If you’d like to make a difference while enjoying a visit to Hawaii, you might want to explore these worthy causes with short-term volunteer projects.
Surfrider Foundation (Kauai) – With a mission of dedicating itself to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, the Surfrider Foundation is ideal for travelers interested in conservation, activism, research and education. The Kauai Chapter has several on-going programs to help the environment that visitors can get involved in, including beach cleanups and youth mentoring. Founded in 1984 by a group of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the organization is comprised of more than 50,000 members and 90 chapters worldwide. Kauai.Surfrider.org
Heeia Fishpond (Oahu) – This pond is run by Paepae o Heeia, a non-profit organization whose goal is to restore and preserve the area’s precious resources. A great deal of history and work goes into an ongoing project like this including the removal of invasive species and repair of rock walls. The rehabilitation of the land and teaching applied on these workdays is important and gives individuals a sense of purpose and connection with the island. PaepaeOHeeia.org
Fleming Arboretum at Puu Mahoe (Maui) – The oldest Arboretum is located at Puu Mahoe cinder cone on Maui. This is a preservation and home to endangered species. The protection and preservation was a project taken on long ago by D.T. Fleming, and to this day seeks volunteer help to continue its projects. Landscape and resources are key aspects in the success of this Arboretum. Receiving many awards and charitable friends, this ecotourism adventure is sure to make anyone’s visit and volunteer experience worthwhile. FlemingArboretum.org
Volunteer on Vacation with Pacific Whale Foundation – (Maui) –From beach clean ups to weeding out invasive plants, on Mount Haleakala, the Pacific Whale Foundation offers a variety of projects designed to make a difference on behalf of Maui’s environment. Some programs offer opportunities to learn about the local history, Hawaiian culture and unique environment. VolunteerOnVacation.org
Lanai Animal Rescue Center (Lanai) – This community service organiion is dedicate to helping homeless cats and dogs on Lanai. Planning a stay at Four Seasons, Lanai, and love cats? Through the “Kokua” (Helping Hands) voluntourism project, you can visit Lanai Animal Rescue Center’s “Kitty Kamp” sanctuary for a “pet and purr” session, or roll up your sleeves for weeding, painting or other projects. LanaiAnimalRescue.org
Malaai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School (Hawaii Island) – This community-initiated and supported school garden at Waimea Middle School is an outdoor classroom teaching Hawaii Island youth healthy life skills and cultural learning as part of its core curriculum. Now in its seventh year, the organic garden sits between Maunakea and the puu (protruding section) of Waimea on former Parker Ranch pasture land. More than 2,000 students, teachers, staff, family members, and friends have pitched in to keep this garden flourishing. Volunteers are always welcome to help. Malaai.org
Thanks to the HVCB for providing a portion of this list.