$10,000 grant helps Hawaii Institute of Forestry

(BIVN) – The Hawai’i Forest Institute received a $10,000 grant from the Hawaii Life Charitable Fund of the Hawai’i Community Foundation, as part of the Mealoha Kraus People’s Choice Award program. From the HFI:

Mealoha Kraus was a beloved Hawai’i Life broker and the first Chairman of the HLCF Board. She lost her battle with breast cancer in late 2019. Mealoha was a leader in every sense of the word, and under her leadership the HLCF raised and distributed over $200,000 in 2018 to aid recovery efforts after the flooding of Kaua’i and O’ahu, and the volcanic eruption on the island of Hawai’i. Mealoha remains a beacon for the HLCF and they honor the contributions she has made to this profession, her community, her family and Hawaiian life.

Each year, Hawai’i Life agents and brokers collectively select a donation goal for the grant program. The HLCF Board of Directors makes grants available to eligible 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations across the state whose programs align with both their mission and focus on this calendar year.

“Our forest restoration and education projects align perfectly with the Hawaii Life Charitable Fund’s 2022 goal – Hawaiiana – To carry on the culture, traditions and history of our earliest ancestors who colonized these Hawaiian islands,” said Heather Simmons, Executive Director of HFI, in the press release.

The non-profit 501c3 Hawaii Institute of Forestry was established in 2003 by the Hawaii Forest Industry Association. Its mission is to “promote the health and productivity of Hawaii’s forests through forest restoration, educational programs, dissemination of information, and support of scientific research.” The release goes on to detail some of the projects:

The Ho’ola Ka Makana’ā o Ka’ūpūlehu Project includes forest restoration and education in the Kaʻūpūlehu Dry Forest and Kalaemanō Cultural Center in North Kona on the island of Hawaii. The Kaʻūpūlehu Cultural Ecology Team shares stories of place, ancestral connections, and the natural history of these rare dryland ecosystems, blending a homeland perspective with ‘āina-based learning.

The Keauhou Bird Conservation Center (KBCC) Discovery Forest involves planting native seedlings in an endemic canopy with Acacia koa and ‘Ōhi’a Lehua as pioneer species. Twenty different native species have been planted in Discovery Forest since 2014. KBCC custodian Ulumauahi Kealiʻikanakaʻole coordinates student volunteer events and engages youth in connecting with their environment through hands-on learning activities. the service linking science to culture. Birds cared for at KBCC are ‘Alalā (extinct in the wild), Palila, ‘Akeke’e and ‘Akikiki.

The Honolulu Zoo’s Children’s Discovery Forest features culturally significant plant and tree species that once grew near O’ahu’s traditional coastal villages. HFI recently produced a Docent workbook interpretation guide, new plant identification pages, and a Forest Friends coloring book featuring native animals and their habitat. This year, HFI is developing “Symphony of the Hawaii Forests” educational materials for students and teachers.

The Go Native: Growing a ‘Native Hawaiian Urban Forest includes the production of a series of videos and a quick reference guide encouraging people to plant native and Polynesian introduced seedlings.

The Hawai’i Forest Industry Association is a 501c6 nonprofit organization established in 1989 to “promote healthier forests, increased activity in Hawaii’s forest industry, and more jobs in the sector.” HFIA has 250 members, including individuals and public and private companies and corporations.

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