We’re Celebrating Five Years!

This year, WDFI embarked on our fifth year of forest conservation, restoration, and environmental education. Creating a forest preserve isn’t an easy task but, thanks to our many hard-working volunteers, generous donors, and enthusiastic supporters, we are celebrating our fifth year in the Waikoloa Dry Forest Preserve. Mahalo for your continued support of our work and dedication to the conservation of Hawaiian dryland forests and the incredible species that comprise them. Please visit our FIVE YEAR CELEBRATION campaign.


Give Aloha

Give Aloha


The Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative is participating in Give Aloha, Foodland’s Annual Community Matching Gifts Program which can help us fundraise even faster! When you make a donation to WDFI at any Foodland, Sack N Save, or Foodland Farms store Foodland and the Western Union Foundation will match that donation! All you need is a Maika’i Card and you can double your annual donation by making it at the checkout! When you’re shopping in the month of September, please consider making a donation to WDFI, use code #78843. Your donations support our forest restoration efforts and our place-based educational programs. Mahalo for your support!

Special Wiliwili Flower Tours

Special Wiliwili Flower Tours

IMAG3340This week the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative is hosting two guided walking tours of the Waikoloa Dry Forest Preserve to showcase the incredible flowers of the wiliwili.

The ongoing, strong el niño has brought severe drought to our islands and the effects are apparent in the dry, dusty conditions in the lowlands of Waikoloa. In the Waikoloa Dry Forest Preserve however, our drought-adapted wiliwili trees are putting on an early display of beautiful orange blossoms. Our native wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis) is one of few drought-deciduous trees in Hawaiʻi and typically drops its leaves in the dry summer months before flowering. This year’s extended drought has prompted an early flowering season and brought some color to our dry landscape.

The wiliwili trees among the most iconic of our dryland forests in Hawaiʻi and their flowering season has been a notable occurrence throughout history. Hawaiian people observed that during the flowering season of the wiliwili there was an increase in tiger shark activity near shore as told in the Hawaiian proverb, “Pua ka wiliwili nanahu ka manō”, which can be translated “when the wiliwili bloom, the sharks will bite”. This ancient saying draws a correlation between the typical autumn flowering of the wiliwili and the pupping season of tiger sharks which many believe causes them to behave more aggressively. Although the flowers are early this year, it may still be a good idea to be extra cautious in the water.

Visit the Waikoloa Dry Forest Preserve and see the spectacular flowers and learn more about the forest restoration work happening in Waikoloa. Forest preserve tours will be held from 9am-11am on Wednesday April 20th and Saturday April 23rd. Participants will meet at the junction of Waikoloa Road and Quarry Road in Waikoloa Village. Transportation into the preserve will be provided by WDFI. Please reserve a spot by calling (808) 494-2208 or emailing wdfi@waikoloadryforest.org. Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by our community; a $20 donation is suggested for the tour.

Enduring Wiliwili Show

Enduring Wiliwili Show

Andrea Pro




“The Enduring Wiliwili” Exhibits at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel

Artists’ Reception Opens Exhibit on November 13th

On a summer morning two years ago, the Pacific Island Printmakers were introduced to a few of the remaining wild wiliwili trees located in the forest preserve supported by the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative.  These trees have endured two hundred years of stress as a result of the voracious appetites of cattle, sheep and goats. What was once a flourishing forest ecosystem populated with an extensive variety of vines, shrubs, trees, birds and insects dwindled to a handful of stately wiliwili standing in the arid and stark landscape. It is estimated that in all of Hawaii only about 1000 wiliwili are left, making it a highly endangered tree. The forest is making a comeback. Thanks to the planting efforts of the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative and their volunteers, the wiliwili trees are now surrounded by a variety of young native plants that are growing into a dry forest ecosystem.

In this collaboration with the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative, The Pacific Island Printmakers immersed themselves in learning about the biology of the tree, the larger context of dry forest ecosystem and it’s cultural significance. Through the process of sketching, asking questions and gathering impressions, each artist offered their unique expression of the tree through the medium of printmaking. The Pacific Island Printmakers include John McCaskill, Margaret Barnaby, Andrea Pro, Lisa Louise Adams and Kathy Molina.

The public is invited to an artists’ reception on Friday, November 13 from 5 pm to 7 pm in the Coast Grille at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel located at 62-100 Kauna’oa Dr. The exhibit will show through February 12, 2016.  A portion of the proceeds from art sales will benefit the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative. Call John McCaskill at 345-6200 for more information.

Wiliwili Festival 2015

Wiliwili Festival 2015

The 2015 Wiliwili Festival is shaping up to be the best yet. Please join us on Saturday September 12th at Waikoloa Stables from 9am-3pm. We are happy to announce an excellent musical line-up including slack-key guitar artists Sean Robbins and local legend John Keawe. This year we will be featuring many interesting free workshops about native hawaiian plants, cultural perspectives on land and ocean and traditional crafts. Those who arrive early can take home one of more than 100 native plants that we will be giving away. We will also be offering six awesome tours of the forest preserve this year with space for up to 25 guests per tour. Mahalo to all of our sponsors and supporters. Please check out our poster for more information. To sign up for a tour please email wdfi@waikoloadryforest.org


Wiliwili Festival 9.27.14!


The Wiliwili Festival is back! Please join WDFI Saturday September 27th in celebrating our native dryland forest and the wiliwili flowering season. The festival is FREE from 9am-3pm at the Waikoloa Stables in Waikoloa Village. The festival will offer educational workshops, tours, vendors, native plant sales, prizes, keiki activities, silent auction, great music, food and much more! Come and learn how you can help us to Plant Trees in your community forest; arrive early and you could take home a free native plant! We are planning a zero-waste event and hope that you can do your part in keeping our festival footprint small, please carpool, and if you opt to ride your bicycle you will receive a free t-shirt.

Forest Tours:

Forest Preserve tours will be offered every hour, on the hour, from 8am-1pm. Tours will begin at the stables and will be led by knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides and will showcase the flowering wiliwili trees, our restoration work and our nursery. Tours will last about one hour and participants are encouraged to wear good shoes and to bring a camera! Transportation will be provided by Hawai’i Forest & Trail and a $25 donation per group is encouraged. WDFI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and all donations are tax-deductible.

Workshops and Entertainment

10:30am-Cultural Perspectives with Hualalai Keahuloa

11:00am-John Keawe performing

11:30am-Natural History of Waikoloa with Dr. Jonathan Price, UH Hilo

12:00pm-Kahulanui performing

12:00pm-Composting and Bokashi with Sam Robinson and Noah Dodd, Hawaii Recycles

12:30pm-Native Plant Propagation with Jen Lawson and Jessica Middleton, WDFI

1:30pm-Fire Preparedness with Pablo Beimler, Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization

To sign up for a tour or a workshop please email jen@waikoloadryforest.org or call (808) 494-2208

Mahalo to our sponsors:

Kaulunalani Urban and Community Forestry Program, Hawaii Water Service Company, Hawaii Forest & Trail, Waikoloa Highlands Chevron, Hawaiian Dream Properties, Goodfellow Brothers, Island Lava Java & First Hawaiian Bank

See our Poster.

First Seeds

First Seeds

0815140730bUhiuhi (Mezoneuron kavaiensis) is a critically endangered endemic tree species that still persists in the Waikoloa Dry Forest Preserve. It is a legume, has beautiful magenta flowers and makes large light pink seed pods that can be seen from a distance ornamenting the trees in the preserve. The uhiuhi can be put into two categories: kūpuna and keiki, ancients and seedlings. There are no young trees other than those recently planted, and the future of the uhiuhi in our forest has been relying on the seeds of just a few very old trees for many years.  Luckily they are still productive. Each year we collect the seeds of the mature uhiuhi trees, germinate them and nurture them until they are ready to plant out into the forest. One of the main goals of planting uhiuhi trees, and other native plants, within the preserve is to help promote a more self-sustaining forest. By planting we hope to speed up forest recovery and give the trees a head start in competing with weeds and handling the tough conditions in Waikoloa.


Uhiuhi Flowers and Seed Pods

This week we harvested the first seeds from a small uhiuhi tree planted in October of 2012 by one of our dedicated volunteers. The flowers emerged earlier in the year and, although we were hopeful, we were surprised to find that seeds had developed successfully in such a young plant. These seeds are too precious to let fall on the ground where they may be just as likely to be devoured by a rodent as they are to germinate and grow into an adult plant. We will keep them stored until we are ready to germinate and grow them in our nursery and eventually plant them out, as the first uhiuhi from a new parent tree since our work began.


Guided Tour Friday 8.29.14

Guided Tour Friday 8.29.14


Our staff will be offering an interpretive walking tour of the preserve next week. You will have the opportunity to get up close to some of our ancient wiliwili trees which are just getting ready to blossom. We will also tour our restoration areas and get to know some of the native plants in our nursery. There will be ample opportunities for photos! A minimum $20 donation per group is encouraged.

Meet at the corner of Waikoloa Road and Quarry Road just before 9am on Friday August 29th. Wear good shoes or hiking boots and bring a water bottle. Please RSVP through the link below. We hope to see you there.


Sign Up

Volunteer this Saturday 6/21!

Volunteer this Saturday 6/21!

Summer is almost here and we are finishing up our planting season with a volunteer day this Saturday. We will be working on getting the last few plants in the ground in our newest planting site as well as taking out some aggressive shrubs that have been invading this year due to all of the rain we have had. If you’d like to join us please meet at the junction of Waikoloa Road and Quarry Road just before 8am and we will carpool into the preserve from there. Wear good shoes and bring a water bottle. We will have tools and gloves or you can bring your own. Please RSVP by clicking the button below. Hope to see you then and if not look forward to our volunteer planting days in October!