On Nov. 2, Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful (KHIB) held a planting project in celebration of Arbor Day at Ka’a Point in Kanaha. After the tsunami that hit Maui from the Japan earthquake back in 2011, Ka’a point sustained some damage and debris was washed up into the area. Mike Perry, a long-time volunteer and Kanaha champion, removed the debris in hopes of restoring the site to its previous condition.
KHIB’s National Planting Day project was sponsored by a UPS grant of $1,000, and with the help of Perry and members of the Lae’ula O Kai Canoe Club, KHIB was able to plant 80 native plants of four different species throughout the area: the Ma’o, Kulu’i sandalwood, Naio and A’ali’i.
“The species were chosen because they were growing there prior to the 2011 tsunami,” said KHIB state leader Jan Dapitan. “The native species had emerged when the alien understory was removed by volunteer Mike Perry and an AmeriCorps team several years ago. I love the A’ali’i because it was [the late historian and writer] Inez Ashdown’s favorite–a tree that ‘bends but doesn’t break’ reminds me of her.”
Volunteers were trained by Elaine Malina of Maui Outdoor Circle, who gave a brief lesson on proper planting methods to help ensure that the plants would flourish in the area. Hoolawa Farms, a native nursery in Haiku with more than 100 species of Hawaiian endemic and indigenous plants for landscaping and ecological restoration, propagated the plants. For the most part, the plants will be self-sustaining.
“Some watering attention will be needed until established,” said Dapitan. “Then, to protect the site from destructive use, the public will need to be educated to treasure these native species and appreciate the shoreline’s natural resources.”
Some upcoming projects by KHIB include finding community support to establish an environmental court in Hawaii and determining a recycling solution for tires (which is a big problem in Waianae). On Jan. 21, they will provide a project site at Hamakuapoko for the Martin Luther King, Jr. day of service.
KHIB is essentially the Hawaii chapter of Keep America Beautiful, Inc., a national organization that holds volunteer activities and raises awareness about environmental issues.
“As state leader for the Keep America Beautiful, Inc. system in Hawaii, I encourage individuals and groups to take more responsibility for their environment,” said Dapitan. “Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful is responsible for the health of the system. KHIB has the responsibility to build the program in Hawaii.”
Their offices are managed solely by volunteers, and are constantly looking for volunteers for every aspect of the organization. Interested parties can contact KHIB either via email at [email protected] or by phone at 808-579-9308.