‘Ohana by Hawaiian Celebrates 5 Years: Helps to Restore Moloka‘i Dunes

June 21, 2019, 4:41 PM HST · Updated June 21, 12:44 PM
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ʻOhana by Hawaiian celebrated its fifth anniversary of service between Honolulu and Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.  Employees commemorated the milestone by assisting in the restoration of the Mokio Preserve and dunes on Moloka‘i.

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‘Ohana by Hawaiian team helps to restore the Mokio Preserve. PC: Hawaiian Airlines

The company’s Team Kōkua employee volunteers—representing Empire Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines—gathered for a community service activity at the Moloka‘i Land Trust’s Mokio Preserve on the island’s rugged northwestern coast.

Twenty employees from Honolulu, Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i worked alongside the Trust’s staff to remove deeply rooted, invasive plants from the Anapuka Dunes, a 60-acre parcel within the 1,769-acre preserve.

The land is one of many sites owned and managed by the Moloka‘i Land Trust, the largest land trust (by acreage) in the United States. Prior to the Trust’s full acquisition of the Mokio Preserve in 2012, the landscape was dramatically altered after several decades of cattle ranching and a rapid loss of native wildlife due to the spread of invasive species.

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Trust Executive Director Butch Haase says the Anapuka Dunes project is one of several recent efforts by the organization to restore the land. Thanks to the hard work of its staff, interns and volunteers, the Trust has removed and replaced almost 25 acres of kiawe tree and lantana plants with native species.

While introducing volunteers to the area and the work before the group, Haase shared his team’s success in recovering the Dune’s vibrant ecosystem, which was once home to nesting ground for albatross, wedge-tail shearwaters, ‘iwa birds, and other birds.

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    “As kama‘āina and employees of one of Moloka‘i’s major carriers, we have a responsibility to protect and preserve this island,” said Adrien Gonzalez, ‘Ohana by Hawaiian specialist and a Team Kōkua volunteer. “The Mokio Preserve is a special place, and it was an incredible experience to take part in such an inspiring restoration project.”

    Though restoration efforts are far from completion, our volunteers witnessed the fruits of the Trust’s labor firsthand: a cliff-side paradise thriving with fields of native vegetation, such as naupaka, hinahina, sandalwood, pili grass and more. The Trust has also waited patiently for the reintroduction of albatross colonies and has even assembled socialization areas to attract birds flying out at sea.

    Also in celebration of the milestone, ‘Ohana by Hawaiian gifted 1 million HawaiianMiles each to two nonprofit organizations: the Moloka‘i Cancer Fund and Lāna‘i Kina Ole.

    In 2014, the company launched service between Honolulu and Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i. ‘Ohana by Hawaiian currently offers five daily round-trip flights between Honolulu and Lāna‘i City and three daily round-trip flights between Honolulu and Ho‘olehua on Moloka‘i.  In 2016, ‘Ohana by Hawaiian expanded service with daily flights between Honolulu and Kapalua Airport in West Maui.

    Team Kōkua volunteers waiting to start their day inside the Mokio Preserve, a 1,718-acre parcel that was donated to the Moloka’i Land Trust. PC: Hawaiian Airlines

    Moloka’i Land Trust Executive Director Butch Haase showing Team Kōkua volunteers the map of the preserve and the route to the restoration site. PC: Hawaiian Airlines

    Alanna James, ‘Ohana by Hawaiian managing director, peers out at incredible work the Trust has done to restore the Anapuka Dunes and reintroduce native species to the area. PC: Hawaiian Airlines

    Haase brings volunteers to the cliffs of the Mokio Preserve to remove invasive weeds and make room for new native seedlings. PC: Hawaiian Airlines

    The Trust constructed a native bird socialization area alongside the cliff, which includes wooden albatrosses staged in groups and a speaker that plays the seabird’s distinct sounds out toward the ocean. The goal of this area is to attract albatrosses from the sea to the Anapuka Dunes and encourage them to reestablish their nests in the Preserve. PC: Hawaiian Airlines

    Team Kōkua volunteers gathered alongside two wooden albatross birds in appreciation of Moloka‘i’s beautiful northwestern coast. PC: Hawaiian Airlines

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