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Rotary Clubs’ tree planting projects conclude with amazing results

By Staff | Mar 12, 2021

Volunteers united to plant 1,000 fruit and sandalwood trees on Maui between November 2020 and February 2021. The final planting (above) was held on Feb. 19 at Ka Hale A Ke Ola homeless resource center in Lahaina.

LAHAINA — Nine Rotary Clubs on Maui joined forces to plant 1,000 fruit trees and sandalwood trees between November 2020 and February 2021.

The La’au Ha’awi (Gifting Tree) Maui project, in collaboration with Rotary Clubs, Maui ‘Ohana Gardens and Uncle George Kahumoku Jr., started on Nov. 29, 2020 with the planting of 20 fruit trees at Ka Hale A Ke Ola homeless resource shelter in Wailuku.

Since that date, requests from individual households, nonprofit groups, private schools, condos and churches flowed in, and the total of more than 800 trees — such as papaya, apple banana, citrus, avocado, coconut, soursop and ulu — have been planted around the island.

The project concluded on Feb. 19, 2021 by planting 20 fruit trees at Ka Hale A Ke Ola homeless resource shelter in Lahaina supported by Maui Green and Beautiful.

In addition to 1,000 trees, Kahumoku gave out more than 2,000 saplings to farmers, households and agencies that support families in need.

Maui ‘Ohana Gardens also reached out to community groups to help them plant fruit trees.

The Rotary Clubs’ project coordinator, Mariko Higashi, said, “We are so grateful to so many donors on Maui, the Mainland and even from Japan for monetary contributions to this project, which made it possible to purchase many tree saplings. Rotarians dug out a lot of apple banana and other saplings from Uncle George’s farm in Kahakuloa, and along with volunteers, helped plant them at various locations. Uncle George and Uncle Kimokeo Kapahulehua donated huge amounts of saplings.

“We look forward to seeing these trees grow and bear fruit, so that families, friends and neighbors can share the produce. In addition, these trees help mitigate climate change by sequestering CO2 from the air, so this one project achieves two goals!”

Jenny Pell, project manager at Maui ‘Ohana Gardens, added, “It will be great if we can expand the project next winter to include schools and more public space, as we could not plant in many of these locations this winter because of the restrictions caused by COVID-19 pandemic.”

In addition to the La’au Ha’awi project, Rotary Club of Maui planted 45 sandalwood trees during February in Keokea in cooperation with the Chinese community.

Rotary Club of Lahaina also planted more than 100 fruit trees at the Napili Community Gardens assisted by students from Maui Preparatory Academy and Sacred Hearts School.

This project is one of the many community service projects sponsored by nine Rotary Clubs on Maui.

Nine of the 51 clubs that make up Rotary District 5,000 are located on Maui.

Rotary is a leadership organization made up of local business, professional and civic leaders. Club members meet regularly, get to know each other, form friendships and get things done in the community.

For more information, contact Assistant Governor Higashi at marikoinmaui@gmail.com.