Arbor Day Hawaiʻi
Arbor Day is a formally designated holiday around the world dedicated to honoring, planting and enjoying the benefits of trees. Arbor Day has been recognized in Hawai’i for over 110 years, and every November communities across the Hawaiian islands gather to celebrate trees!
November marks the beginning of the rainy season in Hawai‘i, which is the perfect time to plant a tree! Arbor Day in Hawai’i officially falls on the first Friday in November, however, tree giveaways and celebrations across the state typically take place on the first Saturday.
If you are a fan of trees, then you won’t want to miss another Arbor Day! Arbor Day is the one-day, formally designated across our entire nation to honor, plant and enjoy trees. Every November, all across Hawaiʻi people celebrate trees with free tree giveaways, tree planting, gardening demonstrations and woodworking and craft exhibits. Each year, over 7,200 trees are given away to residents on Kauaʻi, Maui, Hawaiʻi, and Oʻahu.
Host your Own Arbor Day Hawaiʻi Tree Giveaway! Kaulunani offers statewide grants to groups looking to host Arbor Day Tree Giveaways. Community leaders on each island host the events providing plants, professionals who teach how to plant and care for the trees, education, volunteers and even compost and mulch. If you are interested in hosting an Arbor Day Event, applications for funding are due February 1st 2020. Please contact Kaulunani Staff for more information, and visit our grants program page to learn more about funding opportunities.
“Arbor Day gives us the important opportunity to share with the community of [Hawaiʻi] the importance of urban forestry, and a grander scale, the importance of how urban forestry impacts the entire ecosystem of Hawaiʻi.”
- – Keren Gundersen, Project Manager, Kauai Invasive Species Committee
Today, advocates of Arbor Day Hawaiʻi are big proponents of native and
Polynesian introduced plants with a sprinkling of food trees and soil saving ground covers thrown in. The island giveaways have become a way to celebrate trees and gather with friends, new and old. Each islands’ giveaway has taken on a special character. Featured below are glimpses into the celebrations across the State.
On Kauaʻi there is a very strong local commitment to Arbor Day. The Kauaʻi Landscape Industry Council and a strong team of local sponsors see Arbor Day as an opportunity to bring the community together to learn how they can become involved in preserving Kauai’s biodiversity and ecosystem health. Volunteers and partners for the event are numerous and include conservation groups from around Kauaʻi, as well as hotels, The UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), the native plant society, National Tropical Botanical Garden, and the Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee. Nearly 700 community members stop by to get a free plant.
On Maui, the main celebration site for Arbor Day is also at a botanic garden–the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. This organization uses the opportunity to promote the planting of trees in our urban community and to showcase over 30 species of Hawaiian trees from well known plants like pandanus, kamani and koa to the more unusual such as uki uki and Ko’oloa’ula. Arbor Day on Maui has brought over 1,200 people together as volunteers and participants eager to get their free tree.
“It is because of Kaululnani’s support, that we are able to name MNBG’s Arbor Day 1,000 Hawaiian Tree Giveaway as one of Maui Nui Botanical Gardens’ most celebrated annual signature events.”
On Oʻahu, we give away over 2,000 trees and shrubs at locations across the island. Events are hosted at the Pearl City Urban Garden Center, Foster Botanical Gardens, Waimea Valley Center, Kailua United, and Wahiawa Botanical Garden. Each offer a variety of educational programs to help residents learn more about the trees they will receive and how to best care for them so they will provide families with many benefits for years to come. Partners for the events include the City & County of Honolulu, Smart Trees Pacific, UH CTAHR Master Gardener Program and the Aloha Arborist Association.
Kaulunani is a federally funded urban and community forestry program of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the USDA Forest Service. The program is operated by the non-profit organization Smart Trees Pacific.