Make Your Hawaii Vacation Meaningful with a Volunteer Experience

Make Your Hawaii Vacation Meaningful with a Volunteer Experience



The Hawaiian Islands offer a bounty of natural wonder unmatched anywhere else in the world. It’s a good thing then that the Islands are also home to several nonprofits and community organizations with great programs that help to preserve, protect and restore the amazing natural landscapes locals and visitors alike admire.

A commitment to malama Hawai‘i: The Hawaiian word mālama means “to care for.” And many of these organizations’ commitment to care also encompasses volunteer opportunities allowing residents and visitors to help them mālama Hawai‘i and learn about the locations they volunteer at.

Dedicating time and effort to a volunteer activity can be a meaningful experience for clients, connecting them to Hawai‘i’s land, people and culture, creating a lifetime of memories, and doing genuine good for our natural world. Here are several outdoor volunteer opportunities for your next trip to the Hawaiian Islands:

Kauai: Help keep one of the island’s most popular community beaches clean! Each Saturday, Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park hold a volunteer beach cleanup day at Morgan’s Pond where participants help remove driftwood, washed-up branches and marine debris from the shoreline to keep the park and beach safe and clean for everyone. Volunteers meet near the Morgan’s Pond lifeguard tower. Tools, work gloves, coffee and treats are provided.

Oahu: Kāko‘o ‘Ōiwi Farms is dedicated to restoring cultural connections between land and community. Volunteers are welcome to help with the restoration of Kāko‘o ‘Ōiwi’s lo‘i kalo (taro terraces) and wetlands via weeding, planting and harvesting activities. Volunteers also connect and talk with the farm’s dedicated work staff and learn about the cultural and environmental importance of the Heʻeia community that is Kāko‘o ‘Ōiwi’s home.

Maui: Kipuka Olowalu is a nonprofit seeking to preserve Olowalu Valley, a Hawaiian cultural site on Maui’s west side. Visitors and residents are welcome to help at its weekly valley volunteer days, happening on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. You’ll help Kipuka Olowalu remove invasive plant species and replace them with native plantings, learn about the valley and its ecosystem, and gain insight into the Hawaiian culture’s relationship to the land and sea in this immersive volunteer experience.

Island of Hawaii (Big Island): On the east side of the island, the nonprofit ‘Āina Hoʻōla Initiative offers volunteer opportunities for residents and visitors to take a hands-on role in restoring the estuarine wetlands and fishponds of the Keaukaha area, learn about the area’s unique ecosystems, and make a real impact on its continued preservation. Field work completed on the Initiative’s volunteer days restore, protect and help native species flourish.


By Joyce Bates, owner of Sun Connections Travel & Cruises, the ‘go to’ travel agency for all occasions. For more info on this subject or to book your next trip, email, visit, or call 503-655-4850. Travel Layaway plans available!