COVID UPDATE Aloha! This post was updated in March 2021. However, as we have all learned, things can change overnight, so please check with each destination before visiting. We’ve included phone numbers and links to websites where possible. Mahalo!
Do you ever wonder how a hotel’s landscaping affects the nearby ocean? Pesticides, fertilizers… it can’t be good. Meeting Duane Sparkman, landscape manager at the Westin Maui Resort and Spa in Maui, gave me some hope. He works with his landscaping team to do their best ensure the coral reefs of the nearby Ka’anapali Beach are protected and the water quality is as good as it can be. Since taking over his position, he has created a self-guided/guided botanical tour, built a ‘green’ wall and figured out how to do a puffy word ‘WESTIN’ made out of sand, covered in grass as part of the resort’s beachwalk features.
Duane is currently involved in an internship program managed by the State of Hawaiʻi Department as part of the Education Work Based Learning Program. He uses compost instead of chemicals, is building rain gardens and designing the landscape to catch stormwater, and is preparing the hotel to use recycled water on their landscape. “Living on the Hawaiʻian islands,” he says, “we realize the importance of reducing our carbon print as well as being part of the efforts to preserve and prevent endangered species from disappearing.”
Here are a few videos I made when I took this botanical tour:
- Sustainable landscaping efforts at the Westin Maui
- Hawaiʻian Tree Fern, used for embalming mummies and much more.
- Ti Plant, a very significant plant in the Hawaiʻian Culture and the first source of alcohol.
- Traveler’s Tree, is actually a giant bird of paradise.
- NauPaka plant… and it’s tie to Pele’s jealousy
- Hala Plant Lau = leaf… most Hawaiʻian tattoos show the lauhala basket weave design.