Earth Day 2016: Trees for the Earth

Earth Day 2016

Half of Hawaii’s tropical forests have been lost to agriculture, ranching, and development. The first Polynesian settlers in Hawaii cleared much of the lowland forests for to plant crops, build fishponds, and cultivate taro. With Western contact, the export of Sandalwood trees and the import of livestock like cattle and goats destroyed many Hawaii’s forests. According to “Last Stand: The Vanishing Hawaiian Forest,” published by The Nature Conservancy, reforestation efforts in the early 1900s focused on fast-growing introduced species, instead of native trees.

Today, Hawaii is committed to planting more native trees and plants. In honor of Earth Day 2016 and its conservation theme, “Trees for the Earth,” plant a Native Hawaiian tree and help restore our forests, our watersheds, and the air we breathe. Join millions of people around the world who are committed to planting trees and forests. Read about and support reforestation efforts by The Nature Conservancy Hawaii, the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, or the Hawaii Forest Institute.

Earth Day is not just about trees. Here are just a few of the Earth Day events and clean-ups in Hawaii:

* Oahu – UH Manoa Earth Day: On April 22, join the free Earth Day Festival (10 am to 4 pm) and Concert (6 pm to 11 pm) at the UHM Legacy Pathway and Campus Center Courtyard. Immerse yourself in vegetarian food, yoga, dance, workshops, and a 10:30 am showing of “Cowspiracy.”

* Hawaii Island – UH Hilo Earth Day Fair: On April 22, join the free Earth Day Fair and Conservation Career Day at the UH Hilo Campus Center (9 am to 2 pm). Enjoy a Hiccup Circus, hula and dance, educational exhibits, presentations, and garden tours.

* Molokai – Earth day Celebration: On April 22, celebrate Earth Day with The Nature Conservancy at the Mitchell Pauole Center in Kaunakakai (5 pm to 9 pm). Enjoy great food, entertainment, and educational displays.

* Oahu – Grow Hawaiian Festival: On April 23, enjoy the free Grow Hawaiian Festival at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Oahu (9 am to 3 pm). The family-friendly event highlights native plants and sustainability, with music, entertainment, crafts, educational games, and a keynote presentation on “Hawaii’s Native Birds.”

* Oahu – Mauka to Makai Expo: On April 23, visit the Waikiki Aquarium for the free Mauka to Makai Environmental Expo in Waikiki, Oahu (9 am to 2 pm). Kids can watch “The Journey Home” puppet show and everyone can learn from educational exhibits.

* Oahu – Waikiki Beach Cleanup: On April 23, help cleanup Waikiki Beach (7 am to 9 am, check-in at Duke’s Statue at Kuhio Beach Park). The cleanup is sponsored by the Waikiki Improvement Association.

* Oahu – Ka Iwi Cleanup: On April 23, meet at the Alan Davis Wall to help clean up the Ka Iwi Coast  (8:45 to 11 am). Bags, gloves, and water will be provided. A picnic lunch will follow at Maunalua Bay.

* Oahu – 1,000 Tree Giveaway: On April 24, stop by the Manoa Valley District Park in Honolulu, Oahu (8 am to noon) and adopt a native tree at the 1,000 Tree Giveaway, sponsored by Malama Manoa and the Manoa Outdoor Circle. There will be monkeypod trees, kukui, mountain apple, coconut trees, and more.

* Oahu – Magic Island Beach Cleanup: On April 24, join a Beach Cleanup at Magic Island, hosted by the Honolulu Museum of Art with the Kokua Hawaii Foundation and Plastic Free Hawaii (9:30 am to noon). Refreshments will be provided for volunteers.

* Kauai – Earth Day Rising VI: On April 24, celebrate the earth with Malama Kauai at the Community Farm at the Wai Koa Plantation in Kalihiwai Ridge, Kauai (9 am to 7 pm). Enjoy keiki activities, food, music, workshops, a clothing swap, and more. Admission is $15 (advanced) or $25 (at the door); kids under age 16 are free.

* Oahu – Earth Day Festival: On April 30, get involved with an Earth Day Cleanup and Sand Sifter Competition at Waimanalo Beach Park (9 am to 2 pm). The cleanup is presented by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and will help beautify our beach around Waimanalo.

 

If you can’t join one of the Earth Day events this weekend, make time for the “Plastic Fantastic?” exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art through July 10, 2016. Plastic is light-weight, inexpensive, and extremely durable, and microplastics (tiny particles of degraded plastic) are a growing problem on Hawaii’s beaches. Learn about the science of plastics and its effects on our culture and environment.

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” How will you celebrate Earth Day?

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