More than just a pretty place, Maui faces struggles and challenges like anywhere else. When you spend time volunteering while on vacation, you support the concept of regenerative tourism, and you give back to an ecosystem that inspires so much joy and beauty to everyone that encounters it.
Feature image: @Sail.Trilogy
Whether you miss your furry friend when you’re on vacation or you simply love dogs, consider making a shelter dog’s day by taking them out on an adventure with you. You can sign up 90 days in advance, they will match you with a dog that suits your handling skills, and they provide everything you need for a fun day’s adventure-including a map of the best places to go.
More info: Maui Humane Society
Blue ‘Aina Reef Cleanup
Keeping the reefs healthy around Maui should be every ocean lover’s primary concern. In addition to cleaning up and maintaining Maui’s reefs and lands, Blue Aina educates the Maui community (residents and guests), and raises money and volunteer support for local non-profits. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, sign up for their free dive for debris trip. Departing from Maalaea and Lahaina multiple times per month.
More info: Sailtrilogy.com
Weed and Pot Club
Worried about your green thumb drying out while you’re on vacation? If you’re interested in native plants and want to get your hands dirty, join other volunteers in maintaining this public native Hawaiian plant garden by weeding for one hour then potting plants in the nursery.
Every Wednesday from 8:30am to 10:30 am.
More info: mnbg.org
Coastal Land Preservation
Hawai’i Land Trust
Whether spending the day clearing invasive species and trash, or putting plants in the ground, land lovers will enjoy supporting the Land Trust’s core mission of “protecting and stewarding the lands that sustain Hawaii.” As a volunteer, you’ll get to spend time on land that is not necessarily accessible to the public, and you’ll get the satisfaction of giving back.
More info: hilt.org
Be a Honu (Turtle) Hero
Plastic pollution in our oceans is a significant problem and kills heartbreaking numbers of marine mammals each year. We can do our part by changing how we relate to plastic, but we must all do our part to clean up what is already out there in our local waters. Becoming a “honu hero” is simple. On your way to the beach, stop and pick up a beach cleanup kit that includes everything you need to collect plastic, and also a data sheet to track what you find. Pickup daily between 10am to 2pm.
More info: Honu Hero Beach Cleanup
Lahaina Restoration Foundation
If you’re a history buff, you might enjoy diving into Lahaina’s storied past and helping to process and preserve artifacts and documents from the lively times of whaling, sugar plantations, missionaries, and even the Kingdom of Hawaii. Typically offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you’ll want to register ahead of time. Bonuses include working in an air-conditioned space and access to free parking. *Part of the Mālama Hawaii Initiative
More info: Lahainarestoration.org
The Great Whale Count
Pacific Whale Foundation
Become a citizen scientist and participate in one of the “longest running community scientist projects” by doing what you may already be doing — looking for whales! Groups gather across the state on specific days during peak whale season months of January, February, and March. The goal is to notice trends in the relative abundance of these gentle giants visiting our waters.
More info: pacificwhale.org
Hawaii Wildlife Fund
One of the unique aspects of Hawaii is that there are very few animals that live in the wild here that pose any kind of threat to humans. Unfortunately, it’s often the other way around. Year-round opportunities are available to help support the fragile ecosystem in which native species can thrive. You can help the honu (turtles) or restore habitat, learning a lot about Hawaii in the process.
More info: wildhawaii.org