Each month Skyline Eco Adventures highlights an organization on Maui that is creating positive change here in the islands. This month we are featuring, Maui Cultural Lands, a non-profit organization started in 2002 by Ed and Pua Lindsey with the vision to restore centuries old Hawaiian villages, taro fields and burial grounds. Something that isn’t commonly known is that Hawaii sustained nearly one million people pre – Captain Cook. It can be hard to believe that such a small isolated place could host so many people but in actuality they thrived!
Today it is hard to see any evidence of a once bustling culture. Maui Cultural Lands has been one of the biggest contributors to helping with this issue. They have multiple projects around the island that include:
Honokowai Valley – this is the organization’s first project. After extensive archaeological surveys of the valley, the area was discovered to have been a once-thriving, self-sufficient village of approximately 600 families. More than 10 acres has been cleared and reforested since 1999, along with uncovering miles of rock wall, home sites and heiau. Volunteer opportunities are available and open to the public every Saturday morning at 9:00am. Groups meet at the Pu’ukoli’I Train Station in Ka’anapali.
Ukumehame – ancient lo’I kalo (taro patches) are being restored in this valley to the south of Lahaina. Volunteer opportunities exist on a limited basis, but more help will ensure that the work continue to restore this area to its original state.
Launipoko – Similar to Honokowai Valley, much of the work at Launiupoko is focused on uncovering ancient rock walls and heiau by clearing away grass and haole koa. Reforestation of appropriate plants that can withstand the arid conditions is also part of the focus of these efforts. If weather does not permit access to Honokowai Valley during volunteer trips on Saturdays, groups will typically relocate to this area.
Kaheawa-Hanaula (above McGregor Point in near Ma’alaea ) – After the installation of the Kaheawa Wind Farm on the cliffs above McGregor Point on the road between Ma’alaea and Lahaina, Maui Cultural Lands was asked by the owners to help restore the native habitat in the area. Every weekend, volunteers are taken to the windfarms to help remove invasive species such as ironwood, fireweed and molasses grass. Native plants such as a’ali’I, ‘ohia lehua and pili grass are planted instead
Volunteer programs are available and can be found on their website www.mauiculturallands.org . “People who help the land and the culture, who give unselfishly for the sake of the land, they are the heroes, the real warriors.” – Edwin “Ed” Roert Naleilehua Lindsey Jr.
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