HAWAIʻI – Hawaiʻi is so much more than just a beautiful destination. From beach clean-ups to eliminating invasive species, the Hawaiian Islands also offer meetings and incentive groups unique corporate social responsibility (CSR) opportunities to connect with the unique culture and sense of place of these islands while taking in their breathtaking natural wonder. Whether immersing your group in cultural experiences such as restoring a centuries-old loko iʻa (fishpond) built by early Hawaiians or harvesting kalo (taro) from a loʻi (irrigated agricultural terrace) and learning to pound its root into poi (a traditional Hawaiian staple food), only in Hawaii will groups find authentic and engaging experiences simultaneously connecting them with the Islands’ rich history. Featured below are a few CSR opportunities that are available to groups on the Hawaiian Islands:
- Restore a centuries-old loko iʻa (Hawaiian fishpond). Constructed by early Hawaiians, hundreds of years ago as a means of supplementing their ocean fishing catch, loko iʻa guaranteed supplies of fish would remain a constant in lean times. Today, Hawaiʻi residents and visitors are encouraged to volunteer their service in restoring these ancient coastline ponds and reducing the effects of the ocean’s constant wear and tear on them. The nonprofit caretakers of Pāʻaiau Fishponds (Oʻahu), Koʻieʻie Fishpond (Maui), and Aliʻi Fishpond (Molokaʻi) offer groups opportunities to spend a day restoring and learning about these ancient aquaculture systems.
- Support the farming of kalo. Located on the Keanae peninsula along the Road to Hāna, Na Mahiʻai ʻo Keanae (Maui) provides cultural classes, conservation workshops and events for community members, visitors, and businesses to help increase cultural knowledge, history of the area, and promote hands-on learning experiences in farming and conservation of the natural resources of Keanae. Workday activities include work in the loʻi (taro patch), clearing trails and waterways, and removing marine debris from the shoreline.
- Help clear marine debris. Leave Kauaʻi just a little better then when you found it by participating in a beach cleanup with Surfrider Foundation or The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgage Park. Help remove harmful plastics and other marine debris that pollutes our oceans and harms marine wildlife such as whales, seals and turtles.
- Take part in the reforestation of native Hawaiʻi trees. On the island of Hawaiʻi, volunteers can help restore the natural integrity of Hawaiʻi’s environment while providing a basis for community education about Hawaiʻi’s vegetation issues and solutions at Waikōloa Dry Forest Initiative and Hawaiʻi Environmental Restoration. Help to restore our special ecosystem through native planting, seed collection, and weed management.
- Volunteer with travel2change. Groups are invited to partner with Hawaiʻi-based nonprofit travel2change to participate in hands-on, off-the-beaten-path activities across the Hawaiian Islands centered around volunteer work. Volunteer offerings travel2change can connect groups to while in the Hawaiian Islands include beach cleanups, food drives, cultural walking tours and other experiences that actually encounter social issues rather than detour around them.
As hosts to a variety of unique cultural attractions and one-of-a-kind experiences, the islands of Hawaiʻi offer many amazing ways to craft a rewarding itinerary filled with corporate social responsibility (CSR) and cultural activities while learning about Hawaiʻi’s rich history and leaving behind positive impacts. For additional information or ideas on how to plan an enriching volunteer project, visit www.meethawaii.com/csr.