Protect the Big Island – and keep it pristine for generations to come. The Islands weave an enchanting magic. But they are as precious and vulnerable as they are beautiful and alluring. Visit with intention and make your trip about protecting the Big Island’s fragile ecosystem. Responsible tourism is a growing niche and Hawaii Island boasts several specialty programs and offerings.
Pono is a beautiful Hawaiian word, one with multi-level meaning and a lot of importance for people lucky enough to visit Hawaii. When something—a place, an event, a person’s attitude or a way of doing things—is “pono,” it is in a state of correctness. It is respectful, safe, accurate and responsible. The Pono Pledge, a creative new initiative by the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB) and Hawaii County, encourages safe, responsible and respectful tourism. Its eight principles are simply stated, but cover a wide range of situations, experiences and thought-provoking possibilities for visitors on vacation, and for Hawaii residents as well.
Fairmont Orchid invites guests to care for the ‘aina (land) as it cares for us. The property hosts complimentary weekly Aloha ‘Aina—Botanical Bees & Chef’s Garden Tour to introduce guests to its chef’s garden, botanicals collection and four onsite hives containing 80,000 honeybees which produce raw, white, monofloral Kiawe honey—one of the rarest varieties in the world. This special tour features an in-depth exploration of several tropical plant species and is led by the property’s Director of Hawaiian Culture, Ka’iulani Blankenfeld who shares the Hawaiian legends and lore behind pollinator-friendly plants such as the naupaka.Learn More
WAIKOLOA DRY FOREST PRESERVE
Forest restoration, place-based educational programming and native plant conservation top the agenda at this preserve in Waikoloa. Gnarled wili wili trees are striking, with their swirled bark and bright crimson blooms. They are also ancient, as old as 300 years. The preserve operates as stewards of the land, nurturing the lowland dry forest which ranks as the roughest terrain in Hawaii. Take a guided hike along the black lava to see how volunteers are working to restore the native species. Sunset tours depart on the first Friday of each month.Learn More
KEAHOLE CENTER FOR SUSTAINABILITY
Meet the innovators working on the cutting edge of aquaculture and renewable energy. Catch up on the latest in mariculture technology and ocean conservation at a presentation or join a tour of the Keahole Center for Sustainability, the group that handles outreach for the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority (NELHA). Set on the Big Island’s west coast, the center is part economic development engine, part research facility and part business incubator.Learn More
HAWAIIAN LEGACY TOURS
Plant a rare legacy tree in the name of a loved one — and leave a lasting impact on the planet. Restore the Big Island’s tree canopy and fight climate change by removing excess carbon from the atmosphere. This tour takes you along the slopes of volcano Mauna Kea, once the personal koa forest of Hawaii’s first king, Kamehameha. You’ll be walking through the only place on the planet where these special trees grow. It’s an initiative aiming to bring the forest back to its original state, after it was cut down a century ago for agricultural use. So far, the organization has planted 400,000 trees. Arrange for a custom tour or join a small group guided outing.Learn More