Kauai News

Nearly 400 Trees Planted on Kaua‘i as Part of ReTree Hawai‘i Project

Posted January 20, 2022, 8:30 AM HST ·Updated January 19, 10:39 PM

More than 360 trees were planted on Kaua‘i in November thanks to a project by Lā Ho‘oulu Paemoku/ReTree Hawai‘i.

Individuals, organizations and government entities came together to plant trees and other plants throughout the state during the month to help the organization complete its second statewide tree-planting campaign in an effort to make Hawai‘i more resilient to climate change.

Photos courtesy of Lā Ho‘oulu Paemoku/ReTree Hawai‘i.

“Every plant contributes to reducing the effects of climate change and to beautifying our islands,” states a press release from the organization.

The locations and numbers of trees planted on Kaua‘i as part of the project were:

  • Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge: 72
  • Maha‘ulepu Quarry Restoration: 40
  • Kaua‘i Animal Education Center: 150
  • Koke‘e State Park: 104

“2021 saw a doubling of the number of plants in the ground during the ReTree Hawai‘i campaign in November compared to the previous year, with many more schools participating and with more sites on Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island,” said Rob Weltman, chief organizer of ReTree Hawai‘i. “It was an opportunity to learn how restoring Hawai‘i’s native forest canopy, providing trees for shade in urban environments and growing fruit and other food plants at home and places of work can help fend off the worst of the climate crisis while making our islands more beautiful and healthy. And it was a ton of fun for the hundreds of people of all ages and walks of life who participated!”

The 2021 campaign followed on the successful planting event Oct. 30, 2020, when people came together on six of the seven populated Hawaiian Islands to increase the number of trees and other plants binding carbon and releasing oxygen in the state.

“While not all results are in yet, we are pleased that there were planting events on seven islands this year, with Kaho‘olawe joining the populated islands,” Weltman said, adding that the total number of plants and participants each were about twice those of 2020, “despite the continued hesitancy to gather because of the COVID-19 threat. About 1,500 participants put well over 10,000 plants in the ground in November 2021 as part of the campaign.”

ReTree Hawaii Plant Coordinator Andy Fox said mostly conservation organizations and home planters were involved in 2020, but the 2021 campaign saw even more people take part.

“This year, those organizations and individuals were joined by many schools and community organizations,” Fox said. “We hope to see many more schools participating in the future, both in learning about the threat of climate change and what we need to do to slow it down and deal with its effects on the islands, and in growing the appreciation of how valuable trees and other plants are in keeping Hawai‘i safe and healthy.”

You can find an interactive map of all the planting events last year or a gallery with pictures at the ReTree Hawai‘i website.

To reverse the trend toward increased sea level rise, coastal erosion and with bigger and more devastating events such as wildfires and extreme storms, eliminating carbon-producing fossil fuels in energy production, transportation and buildings is crucial, says ReTree Hawai‘i.

There are viable, affordable alternatives today in most cases. But there is already so much extra greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere that work needs to be done to draw down what is there. Trees and other plants are the planet’s best friends for that work, having developed their skills for millions of years. They also provide moisture and shade to keep urban environments a little more cool.

For questions or more information, contact Weltman at 808-354-0490 or by email at info@retree-hawaii.org.

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