Going, going, gone green!

Upcountry Maui photograph from Green Traveler Guides Review of Upcountry Maui


There has been alot of talk about "green" in the last few years...Since I started the restoration of "this ol house" 15 years ago, I've always felt that I was in the green zone, or at least headed in the right direction. Recycling has always been part of the way that I approach life, especially given my HUGE love for antiques and restoration.

Luckily I am not one of the folks who stores lots and lots of old things in case I ever need them.

I made a deal with myself a long time ago, to buy a piece, I must sell another...that keeps me from becoming overrun with goodies. However, I have gotten alot of mileage from my stash of old windows and lumber., (and even used nails , my friends and family will testify to that!)

Some of my favorite things to re-cycle are the old plantation style furniture from the Territorial Era. These pieces are basic with crown molding, made from fir and usually stained dark. It takes some effort to give them new life, but I love seeing them in the B&B as era pieces. My display is all found objects from the property.

As far as green practices in the B&B, I do ask folks to re-cycle and unplug items when leaving for the day. Besides using organic cleaning products, I try to line dry when possible. As much organic fruit from my garden as I can harvest is served for breakfast, and the compost goes to the chickens. I have plans to restore the old cistern to use rain water for the garden, and relocate the old bread oven to use.

These practices have been a way of life for me for some time now. There is always room for improvement. I have many projects I'd like to do to make things even greener, but I have come to the conclusion that Rome was not built in a day, and neither will Hale Ho'okipa Inn be everything I want it to be in a day. When I figured out this was a wonderful work in progress, I relaxed a bit so I could enjoy and smell all the wonderful flowers I've planted.

I am so happy to support the growing trend of Green Travel. There is a wonderful, award winning site called Green Traveler Guides, and what a site it is! A very impressive lay out, great information, and they even link to Green Travel blogs...I have alot of reading to do to catch up to these folks. Gary and Peggy Diedrichs personally check out the local green scene before they reccommend it. I love networking and am very happy to spread the word about Peggy and Gary's green travel guides. ( What a sweet job, somebody's gotta do it!!)

I also have been working with Responsible Travel out of Europe for some time now. I know that traveling does require energy and leaves a carbon footprint. I'm hoping to step lighter and "leave no trace" as often as possible. The reward of experiencing other cultures and the wonderous sights of our world is the attraction, let's do so with care and consideration.

I hope this post today gets some folks excited to come and experience the greener side of the islands. It's a growing trend, so get your feet wet , you'll be happy you did.

Here's to stepping lighter and having a great time doing it!


Haleakala planting and restoration

Haleakala Maui Hawaii dry land forest restorationAloha,

The slopes of Haleakala are the backbone of our beautiful island. This majestic mountain is my anchor. I stop many times a day to gaze up the slopes to the crater. Sometimes shrouded in mist, often in full glory "The House of the Sun" rises up to the brilliant blue sky.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to give back to the mountain I love. Since 2000, the Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership has planted over 52,000 native plants in the dry-land forests of Haleakala.

Volunteers on Maui HawaiiUnder the guidance of Art Mederios over 2,700 volunteers and the dedicated staff of LHWRP are making a difference. The first Auwahi exclosure is now a functional native ecosystem.

The native 'A'ali'i ,being a fast growing understory species, is planted first to shade out the African Kikuyu grass. This sturdy seedling grows fast and strong, dropping it's leaves to help produce the appropriate soil climate for the other natives to fill in.

I had the honor of planting the Kauila tree, a rare native Hawaiian tree found in the dry-land forests. The Kauila tree was an important tree to the Hawaiians. The dense native wood sinks in water and was formerly valued by the early Hawaiians for spears and tapa beaters. Because Auwahi is surrounded by a high fence, I know this seedling will grow big and strong, protected from the cattle, deer, horses and boar of the high slopes.

The reforestation projects attracts a variety of people including the Maui youth from Americorps. Art is a wealth of information, and he feels it is important to pass his knowledge on to the youth of our islands. Voluntourism in Hawaii - volunteer on vacationThese hard working young adults were a delight to listen to as they were being quizzed by Art throughout the day about the properties and Latin names of the trees we were planting. Their desire to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture through their efforts was evident.

We drove through "na ulu" the low clouds of the forest to 3800' elevation with magnificent views of the ocean below. It was a wild and bumpy ride up the slopes of Ulupalakua ranch.

Orange Lichen on Mount Haleakala, Maui, HawaiiThe beautiful orange lichen growing on a low branch is one type of the approximately 110 species of lichen. The dry-land forest is one of the richest spots for lichen in the world. Rare native spiders live inside the safe haven of the lichen.

This month's O magazine features four hotels in the world that promote voluntourism. My voluntourism program caught their eye, and I had the good fortune to be chosen for their magazine article. I was pretty excited to spread the word in Oprah's magazine. Offering our visitors the opportunity to participate in some really amazing experiences is very rewarding.

Volunteer tourists help restore native Hawaiian species to Mount Haleakala, Maui, HawaiiSteffan, and his godson from Germany, joined the group for the planting on Saturday. This was his second time planting with LHWRP, he came back for more! To thank all those visitors who come and give their time and effort to our aina, and to encourage more to do so, I am offering a 10% discount on their stay at Hale Ho'okipa.

So, here's to volunteering, and enjoying all the wonderful fruits of our labor.

Malama Maui, and mahalo to all who do so....