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Volunteering on Vacation
Restore native plants
Remove invasive species
Protect cultural sites
Clean up beaches
Protect marine wildlife
• Get a free canvas tote bag
• Learn about the history of natural areas
• Meet local experts and other visitors who care about the environment
• Pay no fees or admission charges
• Make a difference!
Worldwide, there’s a new travel trend that’s dramatically changing the way we think about our free time away from home. In increasing numbers, travelers are trading beach mats and lounge chairs for work gloves and hand tools in a movement called “volunteering on vacation.” It’s a way to “give back” to the places they love to visit, while also meeting other like-minded people and learning about the local environment and culture.
This new wave of volunteerism has arrived on Maui. Pacific Whale Foundation, with support from Hawaii Tourism Authority, has launched a new “Volunteering on Vacation” program. Sign on for three hours and you’ll walk away with a free Volunteering on Vacation tote bag, plus the satisfaction of making a difference on behalf of Maui’s environment.
Participants can peruse a calendar of weekly group activities such as clearing invasive weeds in Hosmer Grove in Haleakala National Park or restoring native plantings in Honokowai. Free admission is part of the deal; you also learn about the history and environment of the beautiful natural areas you visit.
If the group events don’t fit your schedule, you can pick up a kit to undertake a solo project. For example, the “Beach Clean-up” kit includes directions to a local beach, rubber gloves, trash bags and instructions on disposing of the litter you gather.
Families with children age 10 and over are invited to partcipate in the group projects. Volunteers of all ages can participate in self-led beach cleanups. You don't have to be a visitor to participate.
“Through Volunteering on Vacation, you can contribute in a meaningful way for just a few hours,” says Brooke Porter, Community Outreach Coordinator at Pacific Whale Foundation.
For more information about Volunteering on Vacation and to sign up, contact Pacific Whale Foundation's Reservations department at (808) 249-8811. From the U.S. Mainland, please call 1-800-WHALE-11 and ask about Volunteering on Vacation.
Our ongoing calendar of Volunteering on Vacation opportunities includes:
Ongoing, 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month
Haleakala National Park
In the company of a Pacific Whale Foundation group leader, you’ll gain free entrance to beautiful Haleakala National Park and learn about the history of this spectacular wilderness area. At the park, you’ll help remove invasive plants from the National Park. Free transportation is provided, from Pacific Whale Foundation’s Ocean Store in Ma’alaea (meet at 7:30 a.m.) and the Tavares Community Center in Pukalani (meet at 8:15 a.m.). The program takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and includes three hours of work, plus time for a short hike and picnic. Bring water, snacks, lunch and sunscreen and wear closed-toe shoes, pants and warm clothes. Be sure to call 249-8811 in advance to sign up!
Note: Multi-day volunteer programs are also available through Friends of Haleakala National Park (www.fhnp.org). Please call us at 249-8811 for more information.
Ongoing, every Monday
With our partner, South Maui Volunteers and group leaders Bob & Lisa Richardson, you’ll help maintain a new oceanside trail, pick up litter and remove invasive species. This beautiful coastal area is great for birdwatching! Meet at 7:30 a.m. in South Kihei. The program takes place from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and includes two hours of work. Bring water, snacks and sunscreen and wear solid, closed-toe shoes and pants. Be sure to call 249-8811 in advance to sign up!
Ongoing: Every Wednesday
Join us to work on the exquisite O’o Farm in the Waipoli rainforest in Kula. You’ll help with assorted farm chores on this unique and innovative 8.5 acre organic farm. Meet a Pacific Whale Foundation representative at the Pukalani Community Center at 8:45 on Wednesday mornings to caravan up to the farm site in Kula. Project work lasts from 8:45 until 11:30. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring a light jacket that you do not mind getting a little dirty, as well as water and sunscreen. Gloves and gardening tools are provided. For information or to sign up call (808) 249-8811 ext. 1. ***Please note that this project is currently funded in whole by Pacific Whale Foundation. The volunteer tote bag is not included in this project.
Ongoing, every Friday
Maui Coastal Land Trust
With our partner, Maui Coastal Land Trust and group leader Scott Fisher, you’ll visit a remarkable coastal area that’s rich in Hawaiian history and bird watching – and it’s home to some of Maui’s last sand dunes. You’ll help to remove invasive species, clear brush and weed. Meet at 8:00 a.m at green caretaker's house at the the Waihe'e Refuge. From Wailuku, head out Kahekili Highway to Waihe'e, and turn right on Halewaiu Road. At the bottom of the hill turn left onto the dirt road, and take a left through the inner gate at the beach parking lot. The program takes place from 8:00 a.m. to noon and includes four hours of work. Bring water, snacks, lunch, and sunscreen, and wear closed-toe shoes, pants and hat/sun protection. Be sure to call 249-8811 in advance to sign up!
Ongoing, every Saturday
With our partner, Malama Honokowai, visit Honokowai Valley, which is closed to the public. Help save archeological sites of old Hawai'i, pull invasive plants and possibly plant native species. Meet at the North Sugar Cane Train Station in Ka'anapali at 9 a.m. You will return no later than 5 p.m. Wear sturdy shoes and bring lunch, water, snacks and sun protection. Be sure to call 249-8811 in advance to sign up!
Ongoing, 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month
Ho'okipa Restoration Project
Join Friends of Ho'okipa to restore and protect Ho'okipa Beach Park on Maui's North Shore, world famous for its extraordinary surfing and wind surfing. Remove invasive plant species and plant natives species. Meet at the Ho'okipa Beach Park overlook parking lot at 8:00 a.m. The program takes place from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Hang out after volunteering and enjoy free pizza for all volunteers at noon! Wear long pants, closed-toed shoes, and bring water, snacks and sun protection. Be sure to call 249-8811 in advance to sign up!
Ongoing, at your convenience
Pick one of your favorite beaches, pick up our free "beach clean-up kit" and go to work! You'll help protect wildlife by preventing litter from entering the ocean. And everyone will appreciate your efforts to keep Maui's beaches beautiful. Trash bags, gloves and instructions are provided. To arrange for pick-up of your beach clean-up kit, call 249-8811.