The Carbon Neutrality Challenge (CNC) is an innovative program that combines environmental education with the opportunity to become carbon neutral for the year through the planting of native trees. The program, which is a collaboration with the Mora Lab of the University of Hawaii’s Department of Geography and Environment, began in 2015 and has now seen hundreds of participants take the challenge to become carbon neutral.
In 2018, the project expanded from the initial planting site at Camp Palehua to also include reforestation activities at Ala Mahamoe, which allowed additional partners to contribute to the program such as Ko`olau Mountains Watershed Partnership (KMWP), Garden Club of Honolulu and Sierra Club. Through this collaborative partnership, the CNC was able to host a 1,000-tree planting event on November 17th, 2018 which saw over 230 volunteers of all ages plant 18 species of natives, amounting to over 1,100 plants in an area that was once completely covered by a dense grove of Haole Koa. The event was extremely successful and received an outstanding amount of media coverage, highlighting the goals of the program and why it is necessary for Hawaii to continue planting programs of this nature.
December 7, 2019 saw the most recent event completed which resulted in the planting of 7,000 native trees at Gunstock Ranch on Oahu and allowed any interested members of the community the opportunity to not only learn about the many benefits that trees provide, but to also plant trees that can begin to offset their carbon footprint for the year. In 2020 there will be a follow-up event where even more trees will be planted around Oahu.
As the event approaches, if you or anyone you know is interested in assisting with this program, please be sure to follow all updates on the Outdoor Circle’s Facebook page, or contact TOC’s Programs Director, Myles Ritchie (firstname.lastname@example.org), for more information.
Greenleaf is the online newsletter and blog of The Outdoor Circle. Here you will find updates on the projects and accomplishments of our many branches throughout the state, as well as programs with statewide impact.