HLCF Grant Funding Helps Protect Precious Natural and Cultural Landscapes of Hawai‘i

Nu‘u Refuge, Maui

(pictured above) Size: 81 acres Year Protected: 2011 Land Protection Strategy: Owned by HILT Conservation Values: Cultural site, wetland habitat, shoreline access, wildlife habitat Land Features: Wetlands, dry forest habitat

Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) is an accredited statewide land trust devoted to the preservation of Hawai‘i’s precious natural resources and cultural heritage. HILT was formed in 2011 and implements a variety of programming aimed at land conservation across the state, with an ambitious vision of protecting those lands in perpetuity.

As a founding member, Hawai‘i Life has long been a supporter of HILT, supporting the charity through corporate donations, volunteerism and through support from the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund (HLCF). The HLCF is a donor-advised fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation and it is supported primarily through the generous contributions from Hawai‘i Life agents and brokers, as well as donations from our many clients around the world. Hawai‘i Life agents choose a giving focus each year and decide which causes are the most meaningful to them.

In 2017, the HLCF granted $5,000 to HILT's Nā Koa ʻĀina Distinguished Fellows Program, becoming part of a visionary group of donors who have chosen to partner with HILT. Becoming a Nā Koa ʻĀina fellow allows donors to invest in the preservation of Hawai‘i’s open spaces for generations to come. We recently spoke to HILT CEO Kawika Burgess about how the HLCF's donation and the generous contributions of others were used to impact our community.

How did the grant from the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund help you serve the community?

The Nā Koa ʻĀina fellowship grant from the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund provides key support for HILT's land conservation programs on each island. In 2017, HILT was able to protect two additional properties totaling 160-acres, including a rural coffee farm in Kealakekua, and a 10-acre portion of the Kona cloud forest in Kaloko, on Hawai‘i Island. These properties and the natural and cultural resources they contain will be protected in perpetuity.

HILT was also able to conduct important ecological restoration projects on each of its public preserves with the help of over 2,700 volunteers who contributed more than 6,600 hours to help clear nearly two tons of invasive brush from Maunawila Heiau, remove invasive species along the 6-acre Nuu Pond, plant 550 native plants at the Waihee Refuge, and complete monitoring on 35 conservation easements encompassing over 17,500 acres.

Over 895 participants attended HILT’s Talk Story on the Land hikes and learned about natural and cultural resources and the importance of land conservation in Hawai‘i.

Kahili Beach Preserve, Kaua‘i

(pictured below) Size: 17.63 acres. 5.43 acres were acquired in 2003 and an additional 12.2 acres were acquired in 2013 Year Protected: 2003 Land Protection Strategy: Owned by HILT Conservation Values: Marine shoreline, public beach access, native bird habitat, estuarine wetlands Land Features: Marine shoreline, estuary and sand dunes

Can you please share a story about someone in our community who has been positively impacted by HILT’s work?

At HILT’s signature Buy Back the Beach event on Maui this year, we were privileged to have Amadee Kauakohemalamalama Conley-Kapoi, a 13-year old, 8th-grade student from Kamehameha Schools Maui sing and perform on ukulele a song she wrote about Nu‘u. She was inspired to write the song by Uncle Sam Kaai, who encouraged her to keep our special places alive through mele. The Nu‘u Preserve on Maui is one of HILT’s protected preserves and an area that Amadee and her family have cared for, for generations.

The funds that the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund contribute help to ensure that the storied places, and the precious natural and cultural landscapes of Hawai‘i, such as Nu‘u, are preserved so that the next generation of songwriters, composers, musicians, artists, and cultural practitioners can continue to inspire us all and share the stories of our islands in perpetuity.

Is there anything you'd like to share with donors to the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund?

The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust would like to express its utmost appreciation and gratitude to the Hawaii Life Charitable Fund, the Hawai‘i Life real estate agents, Hawai‘i Life’s clients, and its charitable fund supporters for their generosity and significant contribution they have made to the protection and perpetuation of the natural and cultural heritage of Hawai‘i through their participation in the Nā Koa ʻĀina Fellowship and investment in the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust.

As the old Hawaiian proverb states – ka aina, he kauwa ke kanaka–  the land is a chief, man is its servant. The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust is humbled to conserve and be a steward of our most precious resource we have here in Hawai‘i – our ‘aina.