Maui Business

Maui Resort Supports Native Koa Reforestation

April 12, 2013, 11:18 AM HST
* Updated April 14, 12:21 PM
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[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQndtmJS2wE&feature=plcp /] By Sonia Isotov

Following reforestation efforts on Kahoolawe, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is now partnering with Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods (HLH), in an effort to save the native koa trees and forests that once grew on the slopes of Mauna Kea on the Big Island.

Partnering with HLH on the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative is part of a larger Four Seasons Resort Maui corporate initiative to plant 10 million trees around the world.

Four Seasons Resort Maui’s partnership with HLH will be officially launched this Earth Day, April 22, with a call to action to their employees to facilitate this new addition to the culture by purchasing trees.

Native koa tree. Courtesy photo.

Native koa tree. Courtesy photo.

“In the last century, over 90% of all native koa forests have gone extinct,” said Jeff Dunster, the chief executive officer of HLH, in a media release. “These magnificent indigenous trees grow nowhere else on Earth, but with the help of caring individuals and key partners such as Four Seasons Maui, these trees are making a comeback.”

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The resort’s reforestation initiative commenced in 2011 in recognition of the company’s 50th birthday. Since then, the Maui property’s employees have made several trips to the neighboring island of Kahoolawe in reforestation efforts. To date, the total of trees on Maui and Kahoolawe claimed to be planted by the resort is upwards of 4000. [see video above]

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Resort employees have volunteered “countless” hours, so the property is now looking to widen the initiative and extend the sustainability opportunity to guests.

“We are committed to the common goal of preserving and protecting our planet and take our stewardship to the islands seriously,” said Thomas Steinhauer, the regional vice president and general manager of Four Seasons Resort Maui.

Unmanaged koa test. Courtesy photo.

Unmanaged koa test. Courtesy photo.

Located 34 miles north of Hilo, Hawaii, above the historic Umikoa Village, on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island, HLH is donating 1,000 acres of land toward achieving a sustainable tropical forest. The site was once the personal property of King Kamehameha I, and they are using old growth koa as the seed source to return the forest to its former glory.

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For $40, individuals can purchase a “legacy” koa tree, which pays for the planting and care of a seedling. The buyer will receive a certificate with a code, which will allow them to track their specific tree via GPS signal.   If they should choose, they can go to the Big Island to plant their tree and can visit for years to come. There is also an option to dedicate the tree to a loved one or one who has passed on. The program is already happening at sister property Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

For more information on the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, go to  www.legacytrees.org.

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