Our August Blue'Aina event kicked off on the morning of Sunday, August 7th with clear skies and abundance of eager volunteers ready to malama Maui's land and reefs. The cleanup was sponsored by Maui Electric Company who made a donation of 1,000 trees to Maui Nui Botanical Gardens for their annual Arbor Day Hawaiian Tree Giveaway. Food was graciously donated by Leilani’s restaurant.
The flow of this Blue'Aina cleanup was a bit different with several volunteers who were not able to come out on the boat participating in the land based cleanup and check presentation. As always, our volunteers pickup up bags of trash from around Lahaina Harbor and as you can see there was no shortage of debris. Once the trash was disposed, presentations were given by MECO President Sharon Suzuki, and Tamara Sherrill from Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. MECO has been proudly supporting the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens Arbor Day event for many years now we are all grateful for their continued support.
The mission of the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens is to "foster appreciation and understanding of Maui Nui’s plants and their role in Hawaiian cultural expression by providing a gathering place for discovery, education, and conservation." Arbor Day is observed annually in Hawaii on the first Friday in November. Maui Nui Botanical Gardens will host their Arbor Day event onsite in Kahului on November 5, 2016 from 9am-12pm. One thousand Hawaiian trees will be given away for free; one tree per person no matter the age. Botanical experts will be available to recommend the best Hawaiian tree for your area of residence. The celebration will feature lectures, activities and many community organizations sharing critical environmental information.
After the presentations, 60 volunteers boarded a Trilogy catamaran and enjoyed a fruit parfait breakfast complete with the crowd favorite: dragon fruit. Mala Wharf was again chosen as the reef cleanup location for the morning. Though some may not think of Mala Wharf as the most exciting place to snorkel much less conduct a cleanup, it should not be overlooked. The once bustling pier was destroyed by hurricane Iniki, leaving a dock that today serves as an artificial reef. Turtles, reef sharks, tropical fish and more flourish at the site, making it and important location to maintain. As a popular fishing location, endless amounts of fishing line were wrapped around the reef and the sunken pier structure, which was removed by volunteers. Read more about Mala Wharf in our blog post: Mala Wharf.
After the reef cleanup the winds rewarded our efforts by powering a light sail back to Lahaina Harbor. Huge mahalos to our Corporate Sponsor Maui Electric Company and to our Food Sponsor Leilani’s.
~ Conservation and Education Director, Magen Schifiliti