Hawaiʻi Service Trip Program

The Hawaiʻi Service Trip Program (HSTP) a program of the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi, provides opportunities to actively participate in preserving our Hawaiian ecosystems.  HSTP works in cooperation with state, federal, and private environmental agencies to plan and conduct service trips to maintain and preserve Hawaiʻi’s ecological heritage.  Trips are typically one week in length and often are conducted in back country areas, allowing participants access to some of the most beautiful and remote places in Hawaiʻi.


Volunteers have an opportunity to see special and unique areas of the State, such as this recent trip to Puʻu Waʻawaʻa.

What is the Hawaiʻi Service Trip Program? 

The Hawaiʻi Service Trip Program (HSTP) is an action-oriented program of the Sierra Club.  HSTP exemplifies our philosophy that the active protection of our natural environment is a primary and essential task.  This philosophy has special significance in Hawaiʻi due to the fragility of our native ecosystems and great number of endangered species.


Why is Hawaiʻi’s environment so special? 

Hawaiʻi is home to many endemic, indigenous, and native species that are found nowhere else on Earth.  The remoteness of the Hawaiian archipelago provided an environment for many species that travelled here to evolve uniquely.  Both beautiful and unique, Hawaiʻi’s ecosystem is also delicate; prone to disruption by alien plants and animals.  HSTP works to restore and protect Hawaiʻiʻs most endangered ecosystems.


Why preserve the Hawaiʻi’s wilderness?

There are many reasons, some aesthetic and some practical.  There is the tremendous beauty of the forest, the deep Hawaiian cultural importance, and rich scientific worth in the wilderness areas of our islands.  On a practical level, the Native Hawaiian rainforest plays a vital role in replenishing our water supply.  The importance of these watersheds is becoming ever more evident as population growth continues in Hawaiʻi.


What is a Hawaiʻi Service “Trip”?

Although each trip is unique, they all follow a general format with ten to twenty people working on a project in a wilderness area.  Trips are typically one week in length, but we also conduct weekend or day service work on Oahu.  We work hard on our trips, but also include time for recreation and exploring the natural wonders of the area.  We uphold a wilderness conservation ethic and stress teamwork, hard work, responsibility and good times.  Service Trips complete a useful project and leave lasting impressions on their participants.


What types of Service Projects are there? 

There are several types of HSTP activities, and sometimes a trip will include all of them!  Fence-building projects keep feral animals from destroying native plants and protect local environments.  Trail work provides safe and easy access to wilderness areas that can absorb our impact, and allows more of the public to realize what a great resource we have in our natural places.  Noxious plant control removes invasive weeds from natural areas, and many of our projects also include planting of native species in controlled areas where they might thrive.


Who pays for a Service Trip?

Service Trip participants typically pay a fee of $200 ($150 for students) for a week-long neighbor island service trip.  Trips cost HSTP between $400 and $500 per person for airfare, ground transportation, food and supplies; the amount not covered by participant fees comes from HSTP through donations and fund raising.  Trips have also been sponsored by agencies such as the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, the National Park Service, and The Nature Conservancy.


What type of person does well on a Service Trip?

Any person with a love for Hawaiʻi’s wilderness areas, a willingness to work hard at the direction of team leaders, and an ability to live harmoniously with others in tight quarters and sometimes in hardy conditions, is appreciated on our trips.  In addition, participants must be in reasonable physical condition to work and live in the wilderness and still enjoy it.