Categorized | Volunteering

Aina Mauna Christmas Tree Planting call for volunteers


Imagine Hawaii having a holiday tradition of getting the family together to visit a tree farm to select a Christmas tree. You can help to make that vision a reality by volunteering for the upcoming Aina Mauna Christmas Tree Planting on 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27 on the slopes of Mauna Kea.

The first phase of the Aina Mauna Christmas Tree Demonstration Project involves importing and propagating seed and outplanting 1,600 Douglas, Noble and Grand fir trees on two acres of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) land in Humuula/Piihonua on Hawaii Island.

These three species were selected because they were determined to be non-invasive.

According to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, shipments of Christmas trees from the Pacific Northwest have been found to be widely infested with slugs and other pests that are not found in Hawaii. These invasive species can be very harmful to Hawaii’s unique ecosystems.

“Our goal is to demonstrate that top quality Christmas trees can be successfully grown here in Hawaii. Providing Hawaii with locally grown Christmas trees will reduce imports and support the County of Hawaii’s initiative to Buy Local,” Hawaii Forest Industry Association (HFIA) Executive Director Heather Simmons said.

Volunteer Sign Up

If you would like to volunteer, sign up early as space is limited. Email or call 933-9411.


To carpool meet at 7:15 am at the US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station Parking lot at 60 Nowelo Street in Hilo or meet up at the DHHL Sheep Station at 8 am.

The DHHL Sheep Station is located one quarter mile mauka on the Mauna Kea Access Road. The Sheep Station is surrounded by large pine trees, a double gate entrance, several buildings and a corral complex.

What To Wear

The planting site is located at an elevation above 6,000 feet and may be chilly or rainy. It’s recommended that volunteers bring a jacket or a raincoat. Wear closed-toe shoes, long pants and sun screen and expect dirt and/or muddy conditions. Cold drinks and bento lunches will be provided.

Volunteers will learn about growing and planting Christmas trees with presentations and demonstrations by DHHL Forester Mike Robinson and HARC Horticulturalist & Researcher Aileen Yeh.

Project Partners include College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, County of Hawaii Department of Research & Development, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Department of Land & Natural Resources Division of Forestry & Wildlife, Hawaii Agriculture Research Center, Hawaii Forest Industry Association, Hawaii Forest Institute, Hawaii Invasive Species Council, Preserve Hawaii and USDA Forest Service.

Aina Mauna Christmas Tree Project funders include State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture, County of Hawaii Department of Research & Development, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Hawaii Forest Industry Association and Hawaii Forest Institute.

Mahalo Aina: Give Back to the Forest Program

To celebrate 25 years of forestry stewardship, HFIA is collaborating with its sister organization the Hawaii Forest Institute (HFI), to launch HFI’s new program, Mahalo Aina: Give Back to the Forest to ensure that our forests are here for future generations. The Aina Mauna Christmas Tree Demonstration Project is just one of 14 Mahalo Aina forestry projects on four islands.

Mahalo Aina is the initial launch of what Hawaii Forest Institute envisions as a long-term, self-sustaining program. During the first year, HFI seeks to raise $75,000 for its forest restoration and demonstration projects. HFI’s vision for MAHALO AINA is to help ensure a thriving future for its forest restoration and education programs to benefit the Aina and people of Hawaii.

“We are humbled, awed and inspired in the presence of one of the lands’ great expressions — its forests. We mahalo the Aina and we invite you to mahalo with us by Giving Back to the Forest,” HFIA and HFI Director Peter Simmons said.

Funds raised will help support seed collection and storage, propagation, planting and long-term care of seedlings, site maintenance, and educational programs.

In addition to planting trees, the program will help to support total ecosystem management, provide forest stewardship opportunities and environmental and cultural education.

About Hawaii Forest Industry Association

Established in 1989, Hawaii Forest Industry Association is a nonprofit corporation founded by and for people committed to managing healthy and productive forests.

As Hawaii’s recognized forest industry trade association, HFIA, through education, planning, information exchange and advocacy, encourages the responsible growth of Hawaii’s forest industry.

HFIA programs promote healthier forests, increased business and more jobs within the forestry sector.

HFIA has a diverse membership of over 250 individuals, and public and private corporations including woodworkers, landowners, sawyers, foresters, growers, environmentalists, government officials and others interested in the organization’s goals and mission.

HFIA promotes a balance of forest land uses ranging from protecting and restoring native forests to managing commercial use tree farms.

About Hawaii Forest Institute

HFIA formed the Hawaii Forest Institute as a 501(c) (3) corporation in 2003. The two organizations are closely intertwined in their missions.

HFI’s mission is to promote the health and productivity of Hawaii’s forests through forest restoration, educational programs, information dissemination and support for scientific research.

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