Reviving Hawaii’s Native Forests

Planting koa, milo, and ohia has a side benefit.

Lilia Tollefsen, the CEO of Oahu’s Gunstock Ranch, gestures at long rows of tiny trees, their heart-shaped leaves quavering in the island breeze. “Our goal,” she says, “is to make the trees more valuable in the ground than out of it.”  

Tollefsen is showing me and a small group of would-be foresters the latest project of the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative.

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How to Understand Land in Hawaii

It’s where we plant gardens and build empires. Uncover treasure and bury our dead. Wars are fought over it, and freedom is running through it barefoot. Land is at once a place, an identity, and a resource.

Understanding it is no small task, but in some parts of the world there seems to be a deeper grasp on “the land”—how it anchors us and how we honor it. Hawaii is one such place, offering a rich history so embedded with nature that the rest of us would do well to mimic it, even in very small ways.

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Aha ula Partnerships

In bridging the gap between cultures both present and past we honor the remembrance of the forest and what it meant to the Hawaiian people. Through the collection of sponsors and overwhelming support of our master practitioners we are honored to be a part of all the ancient crafts. We bring to light a once lost art of the Hawaiians, feather weaving. The fine workmanship necessary to accomplish the fullness and luster of the feather work in these highlighted works of art is nothing less than stunning.

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Hawai’i Convention Center Commits to Conservation

Over the past two decades, environmental conservation has been a key component of operations throughout the Hawai’i Convention Center, a world-class global meeting venue centrally located between East and West on O’ahu in the Hawaiian Islands. Recently, the conference center was named as the first and only “public assembly convention center” to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4 Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Learn more about HCC’s conservation efforts, including its partnership with Hawaiian Legacy.

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Spotlight Interview: Jeff Dunster, Executive Director, Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative

Today’s traveling families want to share unique experiences that enable them to make real connections and a positive impact in the destinations they visit. On Oahu, visitors can take part in a major reforestation effort while enjoying spectacular North Shore scenery with Hawaiian Legacy Tours at Gunstock Ranch.

“Planting a tree is a deeply meaningful way to honor a family member or loved one while giving back to the local community,” explains Jeff Dunster, executive director of the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative.

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