Just outside Queen Emma Palace in Nuuanu sits a majestic koa tree.
Once reserved for ali'i or royalty, koa is often called the monarch of the forest and is found nowhere else on earth, but Hawaii.
"Ninety percent of the koa forests have been cut down in the last 100 years. Our efforts are working well. We've put 200,000 koa trees in the ground as of last month," Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods Sales Associate John Morrisroe said.
For nearly four years, Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods has teamed with groups across Hawaii, planting koa seedlings in an effort to preserve and rebuild our native forests.
A sponsor pays $60 and receives a certificate of planting. Each tree is tagged and tracked, allowing sponsors to watch the tree's growth and stay connected.
One dollar goes to Hawaii Land Trust and $20 is donated to a charity of the sponsor's choice.
"This is doing something to give back to the environment, help recreate an ecosystem that doesn't exist in very few places on our islands any longer," Morrisroe said.
Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods is reaching out to those who have served in the U.S. military. The Armed Forces Legacy Forest will implement the same process, but in this case, $20 would go to a military nonprofit of a sponsor's choice.
"The translation of koa in the English language is brave, bold, fearless and warrior and that describes our military because what they do for us. They allow us to carry on with our daily lives and the sacrifices they and their families make," Morrisroe said.
With Independence Day approaching, Morrisroe says it's the perfect way to create a living legacy for someone who has served.
"We do the barbeques and things like that, but we need not forget the real reason we celebrate this day on the fourth and that's to honor those who've fought for the country and fought for our freedoms," Morrisroe said. "Ultimately, the goal would be to plant a tree for anybody whoever served in the military."
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Sources tell KHON2 that state Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy died in a plane crash off Molokai.
Loretta Fuddy devoted 30 years to the health and human services industry.
There's a grinch at the Hawaii State Veteran's Cemetery. At least, that's what those who have loved ones buried there are saying. They've been told their holiday decorations at gravesites will have to come down.