Hawaiians have a name for their deep connection to the Earth: aloha ‘aina. It describes a kinship with the land, a love that is absolute and protective—the feeling you might have for your grandmother or child. This ancient bond dates back millennia, to when these islands were blanketed with lush forests filled with unique native species. The islanders had their pick of trees, and yet, their choice was not made lightly. Felling a tree was done with purpose and respect, and the spirit of the tree was carried through to the product it created: The towering koa was used to make canoes and surfboards, sandalwood was prized as a perfume, and milo was carved into bowls and instruments.
Over the centuries, these hardwood forests were decimated to make way for sugarcane and pineapple plantations, their magnificent wood exported to make high-priced furniture. Some species nearly disappeared.
Today, ʻAlohilani Resort – an Oahu, Hawaii hotel – is proud to play a role in bringing those forests back. Through our partnership with the non-profit Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative (HLRI), we are helping return treasured native trees to the Big Island of Hawaii and to 500 acres on Gunstock Ranch on Oahu’s north shore. We consider it our duty: we reside on land that belongs to Queen Liliʻuokalani’s trust, and we can honor her legacy by restoring the natural wealth of her islands.
As our guest, you contribute to that effort. We add a $5 “tree fee” to each stay that goes straight to HLRI’s thriving reforestation program. On the Big Island, HLRI has already planted 400,000 trees on 1,200 acres— designated as the first Gold Standard Certified Forest Carbon Credit in North America by the World Wildlife Fund, and to date the only koa carbon credit in the world. The forest is pumping clean oxygen into the atmosphere at an astonishing rate: one koa tree alone can offset a weeklong vacation for a family of four.
ʻAlohilani, with the help of our guests, has pledged to plant 100,000 trees with HLRI, helping to revive Hawaii’s endangered hardwood species and rehabilitate a native ecosystem. We invite you to take part in your own tree-planting ceremony within the ʻAlohilani Forest on Oahu.
Each of the trees planted are tagged with an individual radio-frequency identification chip that records everything from their genetic make-up and health to the story of their planting. Guests who plant a tree—to commemorate a wedding, as a gift to a grandchild, or in memory of a loved one—can track their tree throughout their lifetime. It’s living proof of your love for the planet: the essence of aloha ‘aina with a modern twist.
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