Native trees replace invasives at Skyline tree planting


Photo by Aaron Veincent

Seniors Quinn Shiraishi, Quinn Hottendorf, and junior Lily Gavagan size up holes to plant mamaki at the Skyline Eco-Adventures Zip for the Trees event held this Saturday. About 200 native species were planted in place of invasive ones.

KULA–Skyline Eco-Adventures replaced 200 native trees at their annual Zip for Trees event Saturday at their Haleakalā location.

Eight select Kamehameha Schools Maui students were invited to join by Mrs. Naomi Ashman, student activities coordinator.

“Skyline is taking out invasive species and then replanting. They can’t do it all, so they invite students to come and to volunteer and give back, and I think it’s great,” she said.

This year was their 6th annual replanting, and the public could attend for a fee because in addition to the tree planting, live entertainment, food and pony rides were also offered.

All proceeds from the event go to Maui children’s charities as well as the Pacific Cancer Foundation.

The theme of the day was that what people do today will affect tomorrow. The participating students kept that in mind, and they carried out their planting duties with a positive attitude.

Senior Kūpono Aguirre plants an ʻopiuma at the Skyline Eco Adventure annual tree planting held on Saturday.
Photo by Aaron Veincent
Senior Kūpono Aguirre plants an ʻopiuma at the Skyline Eco Adventure annual tree planting held on Saturday.

Even though this was the 6th annual event, Skyline Eco-Adventures has been planting native species ever since the business started in 2002.

“We’re trying to put back the plants that grew here a thousand years ago,” EcoTour guide Joe Imhoff said.

In total over the past 14 years, Skyline has cleared invasive species and replaced them with over 4,000 native plants.

Each year the Zip for the Trees event brings volunteers to plant around 200 native trees. These trees are of a wide variety from koa to ʻōhiʻa lehua and ʻaʻaliʻi.

According to Imhoff there is an 85% survival rate for the plants the volunteers plant, a high success rate for being planted by people who don’t have much experience. The trees grow an average of five feet a year.

Zip-line riders can see them as they pass through the first course. Skyline Eco-Adventures can have up to 25,000 people pass through in a month, and each is able to see the progress.

“By giving back to the ʻāina and participating in restoring the native Hawaiian ecosystem, I really believe that we are making a positive difference that will affect many generations to come,” senior Quinn Shiraishi said.

Currently Skyline Eco-Adventures has applied for conservation grants to clear more acres of  invasive species and plant more native species.

Zip for the Trees will return next year 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. All guests are welcome with entertainment and a chance to give back the the ʻāina. For more information about this event and Skyline’s other environmental practices, click here.