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Local organization attempts to plant 20,000 trees in November

Rob Weltman
ReTree Hawaiʻi
Students from Kula Elementary School on Maui plant a tree on campus.

A local organization is trying to plant 20,000 trees across the Hawaiian Islands during the month of November.

ReTree Hawaiʻi — also known as Lā Hoʻoulu Pae Moku — helps schools, companies, parks and homeowners plant native trees or plants that bear fruit.

The organization provides saplings and supplies for those who need them and gathers volunteers for bigger projects.

Last year ReTree Hawaiʻi planted over 10,000 trees on six of the seven populated Hawaiian Islands, as well as Kaho‘olawe.

Chief organizer Rob Weltman said trees can be beneficial for the health of marine life, soil and atmosphere.

"As we [experience] more extreme weather events, storms, fires, the tree binds the soil so it doesn’t run off as easily into the ocean and harm the reefs," he said.

"It sucks up moisture from the air and then provides that to cool and allows for a better climate for people and also for other plants. I think trees will be very important for urban environments going forward as we’re seeing hotter and hotter climates everywhere. Especially urban environments in Hawaiʻi," Weltman said.

Tree planting activities include clearing and other ground preparation and building wind barriers.

Weltman said he is promoting the planting of ʻaʻaliʻi shrubs this year. The native plant can grow in almost any climate and is resilient to strong winds.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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