Mālama Tree Crew

We are building a “Mālama Tree Crew” and invite you to join us! Enjoy the outdoors, increase your impact in the fight against climate change, and learn best practices for native tree maintenance.

There are many reforestation, carbon sequestration, and native plant restoration projects happening throughout the islands, maybe you have even participated in one. But what is critical to these projects is not just the planting—it’s the maintenance. While some projects have programs set up to ensure that these new plantings are taken care of, some do not, that’s where you come in.

The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi is seeking dedicated volunteers to help care for recently planted trees around Oʻahu. Mālama Tree Crew volunteers, with guidance from project leader Randy Ching, will be watering, weeding, and clearing debris around recently planted trees in Moanalua, and possibly other locations, about once a month for 3-4 hours/day. Join us in Pālehua – sign up below!

Did you hear? Our Ala Mahamoe trees graduated in June! In November, 1,000+ trees were planted in Ala Mahamoe by volunteers led by Professor Mora, in partnership with The Outdoor Circle, Mālama Learning Center, Koʻolau Mountains Watershed Partnership KMWP, and the Garden Club of Honolulu. Our Mālama Tree Crew has been visiting these trees once a month to water, weed, and clear around them to ensure they grow to be big and strong. They are now strong enough to go on to live long, carbon sequestering lives without us!


Akupu Enclosure, Pālehua, Oʻahu

Join us in the Gill Ewa Lands to water, weed, and clear debris around 25 newly planted native trees in the Akupu Enclosure and 300 trees at the Mālama Learning Center site. The Gill Ewa Lands encompass 1,600 acres in the southern tip of the Wai‘anae mountains dedicated to preserving the land’s important biological, cultural, economic and historical resources. The Akupu Enclosure provides habitat for endangered ʻelepaio to nest. Meet at 8:45am at Makakilo Community Park, near the top of Makakilo Drive. We will work from 8am-12pm. Tools, gloves, and refreshments provided. Bring snack, lunch, water, and insect repellent. Reservations required at least 2 days prior. Call (808) 538-6616 ext 5 if you have any questions. RSVP by clicking on each date below.

Sunday, October 20
Saturday, November 2
Saturday, November 16

Hāwea Service Project, Hawaiʻi Kai, Oʻahu

Hāwea Heiau is the kuleana of Livable Hawai‘i Kai Hui—trees were recently planted around the site in September and our services were sought to help make sure these trees live successful lives. We will water and care for 30 native trees on site. Meet at 9am at the double gates near Hawaiʻi Kai Drive and Keahole St. Call (808) 538-6616 ext 5 if you have any questions. RSVP by clicking on each data below.

Sunday, October 6
Saturday, October 19
Sunday, October 27

Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Service Trip, Hawaiʻi Island

Saturday, November 23 – Sunday, November 24

Join us on this exclusive service trip! We will be working in the Puʻu Waʻawaʻa State Forest Reserve planting and caring for ʻiliahi and other native trees. We will be staying overnight at the very rustic Protea Cabin at 3,000 feet elevation (no amenities). Please pack hiking boots, long pants, long-sleeve shirts, warm clothes, rain jacket, gloves, water bottle, mattress pad, sleeping bag, sunscreen, hat, and snack food. Limited to 6 participants, we are asking folks to pitch in $75 for food, lodging, and ground transportation—participants must pay their own airfare. Flights will be carbon offset. Meet at the Kona Airport at 9am on Saturday, Nov. 23. Call (808) 538-6616 ext 5 if you have any questions. RSVP by clicking here. (Photos by Nate Yuen).


How does this help in the fight against climate change?
One way to mitigate the effects of climate change is to sequester the carbon already in the atmosphere. Plants, especially trees, are great at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Through photosynthesis, plants pull carbon out of the air and process it into sugar that it uses for food and growth. Trees take it one step further. They are able to store large amounts of carbon in their wood, sequestering more as they grow.

The more carbon we sequester, the less global warming. In order to keep Earth livable, we need to keep the warming less than 2 degrees celsius. Planting massive amounts of trees will enable us to do so. Hawaiʻi can easily plant a million trees in the next decade with everyone’s help.

But what’s my lasting impact?
A lot of energy goes into growing and planting new trees and we all want to see them grow for decades to come. Well-developed trees are able to sequester more carbon. While some tree planting projects have the capacity to maintain their trees, some do not. Watering and weeding trees may be less sexy than planting, but it is just as, if not more, important. You are able to help ensure these trees live a long carbon-full life.

Pacific Islands are amongst the first to see hard-hitting impacts of climate change—and Hawaiʻi is no exception. We are already seeing the impacts of climate change: eroding beaches and coastal roads, rain bombs and detrimental flooding, and rising sea levels and temperatures. These impacts can no longer be ignored and we are now at a critical time where we must not only massively reduce fossil fuel emissions but also do everything that we can to sequester the carbon that is already in the atmosphere.

Do I need prior experience or have participated in a Sierra Club event in the past?
No! The project leader, Randy Ching, will provide instructions for the day’s work and safety protocols. Randy is a former Sierra Club Oʻahu Group Outings leader with over 25 years of experience leading hikes and service projects.

What should I bring?
Be sure to check each event’s description for details. However, tools for the day’s work will generally be provided but please bring your own gloves if you can. Always bring water and sun protection (sunscreen, hat, etc). Closed toe shoes are also required.