Honolulu (KHON2) – In collaboration with the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Living808 explores two community programs that focus on trees as the center of their environmental efforts.

At an earth day event in central Oahu, community members of all ages learned about the types of native trees and shrubs that can thrive in home gardens and yards in urbanized areas. 

“Trees are so important to us wherever we live, but I think particularly in the urban environment. As our environment gets more non-native or more concrete, more asphalt, it’s getting hotter with climate change that’s just going to accelerate,”Pauline Sato, Malama Learning Center.

According to Sato, she loves planting trees because it’s  fulfilling and provides a cycle of living things with emotional and spiritual benefits.

Sato says, “It’s a cycle of living things. You start small from a seed, grow, make more seeds, and grow again,  it’s a living cycle. It takes dedication and time. But that’s part of a healthy psyche, to be part of a life cycle that you can perpetuate.”

23 years ago, a group of volunteers began working to create the Waimea Nature Park, 6-acres of well-manicured green space, full of native plants. 

“When we started the park there was no other botanical garden at this elevation in Hawaii and there still isn’t. So, we had to learn as we went. I didn’t know an ohia from a sugarcane when I started, and we’ve all learned together. Now we propagate most of our own plants,” says Arlene Block, Waimea Nature Park. 

Those wanting to learn more about the the Department of Land and Natural Resources and about its urban and community forestry, can do so by visiting the DLNR Kaulunani website.

In next month’s Forests for Life report with the DLNR, will look deeper into the relationship between trees and the battle against climate change.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Kaulunani website: