Featured articles

  • Attend our Maui Picnic!
  • Conservation Easement on HCC Farms, LLC First Step in HILT’s efforts to Protect Kona Coffee Lands
  • 2016 Talk Story on the Land Schedule
  • Hiring for Full-Time Office Manager
  • Read Our Latest Newsletter!

Attend our Maui Picnic!

You’re Invited to
Hawaiian Islands Land Trust’s
Free Family Picnic!

picnic photo

Spend a few hours out on the ‘aina and experience a taste of the traditional Hawaiian way of life, try your hand at ancient makahiki games, view the wetlands on a guided tour, enjoy great food catered by Zing Maui, talk story with Hawaiian Practitioner, Ko‘i Lum, as he ku‘i kalo (pounds taro), listen to the live music of local musician, Ka‘ena Elaban and more!

Don’t forget to view the beautiful art work that will be painted on and inspired by the land.  Participate in our Plein Air art contest and vote for your favorite People’s Choice art piece!

A big Mahalo to our Picnic Sponsor:




Conservation Easement on HCC Farms, LLC First Step in HILT’s efforts to Protect Kona Coffee Lands

HCC Farms


On March 18, 2016, the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) purchased a conservation easement on the 75-acre HCC Farms LLC coffee farm located south of Captain Cook, HI.   This highly productive coffee land situated above Kealakekua Bay had been subdivided into fourteen five acre lots. With the easement in place, one residence can be constructed on the 75-acre tract, but the rest of the land will remain in agricultural use forever. HCC Farms LLC is located on Kealakekua Ridge on the western slope of Mauna Loa above Kealakekua Bay. The coffee farm is located along a steep ridgeline which was once heavily forested with native ‘Ōhi‘a trees and has now been planted with coffee trees. ‘Ōhi‘a forest covers the areas that are unsuitable for planting coffee. These forested areas provide habitat for native birds including apapane and ‘io which are known to nest on the property.

The average rainfall here is 60 inches per year which is in the ideal range for growing Kona coffee. The ridgeline funnels rainwater to the ocean, sometimes in tremendous flows. The landowner has worked with NRCS to build retention basins that slow the flow of water and thus allow the sediment load that the water carries to settle out. After the installation of the retention basins along the ridge bottom, the runoff remains in the retention basins and the soil and silts are used by the farm as part of their operations. Agricultural use of land protects the soil and allows for the natural percolation of water into the ground and into the water table thus contributing to clean water and increased water quality for surrounding landowners. The property is bordered by the 11,000 acre Kealakekua Ranch on which a conservation easement was previously placed, so the addition of this approximately 75 acres will make for a large area of conserved lands.

Kona Coffee is world renowned and a signature product of Kona, HI. Preservation of coffee farm lands is an important priority of the Kona Community Development Plan (2008), which emphasizes conserving of natural resources, open space and watersheds. This conservation easement perpetuates those desired qualities delineated in the Plan. The conserved land can best be managed by owners who care for the land and will carefully steward it. As was recently heard on KAPA radio in an advertisement for using local foods, “There’s nothing better for the soil than a farmer’s footsteps on it”. Ed Schultz, President of HCC Farms LLC said: “We were really excited to find a conservation group aligned with our goals for protecting agricultural land in Hawaii for the long term.   HILT’s leadership team did a great job of educating us on the process and really worked with us every step of the way to ensure our land was conserved the right way.”

The funds for the purchase of the easement were contributed by the Freeman Foundation of Honolulu, in hopes of beginning a long-term effort to conserve coffee farms and other agricultural working lands in Hawaii. This easement on HCC Farms LLC is a first step towards the Land Trust’s goal of conserving other coffee farms in the area and helping those farmers continue to work the land while being rewarded for their efforts with some financial assistance.

To help protect more lands across Hawai‘i, click here to become a Member!


2016 Talk Story on the Land Schedule

HILT’s Free 2016 Talk Story on the Land Schedule



Aloha HILT Supporters,

Our 2016 FREE Talk Story on the Land public environmental education series schedule is here!  Don’t miss out on these tours and RSVP today!

He ali‘i ka ‘āina, he kauwā ke kanaka…the Land is Chief, Man is its servant. This Hawaiian concept is an outlook we take seriously here at HILT.  As the servants, we have a kuleana (responsibility) to preserve and steward it properly.  Our Talk Story on the Land program has been a huge success in getting people out on the ‘āina (land) to become one with nature and learn more about this kuleana and how to create impact.

Whether you are a resident or visiting Hawai‘i and looking for something to do, hele mai! (come) and learn about our work.  Visit W.S. Merwin’s personal palm collection on Maui, experience Kāhili Beach at dusk on Kaua‘i, learn about kīpuka (oases projects) on Hawai‘i Island, or talk story about hot-topic Kaka‘ako, O‘ahu.

This kuleana requires a strong foundation of individual supporters of HILT to help us fulfill our mission of protecting the lands that sustain us for current and future generations.  If you are not currently a member, please sign up here.
“Had a lot of fun.  Thank you for all of your knowledge and sharing this experience with us.  Would love to do something like this again.” ~Celina Ortiz

Photos: Ku‘ulei Kuala‘au, Janet Britt, and Angela Anderson.

Hiring for Full-Time Office Manager


HILT is currently seeking a Full-Time Office Manager for our Maui office!


Job Description: The primary responsibilities of this post are to assist the Executive Director and all other departments in maintaining excellent day-to-day administrative and communication procedures and coordination. The Office Manager reports to the Executive Director.


Required Profile:

• Outstanding written and verbal skills

• Well organized self-starter, enthusiastic about taking on challenging new projects as needed, learning new skills and excelling at them

• Comfortable in working in a fast-paced, multi-tasking environment, both individually and as a team player

• Must be computer literate, particularly in MS Office Suite, word processing and spreadsheets.

• Attention to detail required.

• Excellent people skills

• Terrific telephone persona

• Passion for the environment and the land conservation work of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust


Specific Responsibilities:

• Serve as the administrative assistant to the Executive Director

• Provide additional administrative support to the other departments, particularly Development.

• Donor and database management

• Maintain office operations and procedures

• Maintain office efficiency by planning and implementing general office systems

• Electronic and paper records management including upkeep of manuals and organizational documents

• Keep office supply and merchandise inventory and order supplies when necessary

• Pick up and deliver mail daily and manage mail distribution (open mail, distribute to appropriate departments, etc.)

• Answer and direct incoming phone calls and emails in a friendly manner

• Coordinate Executive Director’s calendar (appointments, meetings, cleaning duties) and the

general office calendar

• Coordinate and register attendees for hikes and other outreach events

• Notify management of office and equipment repairs needed

• Maintain office equipment and relationships with vendors (water company, Xerox, HP printers,

software licenses, etc)

• Other duties as required and approved

Salary:  TBD based on experience. $30,000-$34,000.

Accepting emailed resumes to info@hilt.org.  Please no phone calls.  Please submit your resume by Friday, February 5.


Read Our Latest Newsletter!

Quality of Life Through Agriculture & Conservation: HILT’s 1st Step to protect Kona Coffee Lands

Story Pg. 5

Photos:  Courtesy of Janet Britt and Bryan Berkowitz.
Located on Kealakekua Ridge on the western slope of Mauna Loa, you’ll find 75-acre HCC Farms LLC coffee farm.  With about 60 inches of rainfall per year at the farm, it is in the ideal range for growing the world-renowned and signature product of Kona, Hawai‘i, Kona Coffee.  With the generous assistance of the Freeman Foundation of Honolulu, HILT secured a conservation easement on this ‘aina (land), in hopes of beginning a long-term effort to conserve coffee farms and other agricultural working lands in Hawai‘i.  This is the first step towards HILT’s goal of helping farmers to continue to malama (care for) the ‘aina.  With a permanent conservation easement in place, a single residence can be constructed on the 75-acre tract, with the remainder of the acreage remaining in agricultural use in perpetuity.

“We were really excited to find a conservation group aligned with our goals for protecting agricultural land in Hawai‘i for the long term.  HILT’s leadership team did a great job of educating us on the process and really worked with us every step of the way to ensure our land was conserved the right way.”

~Ed Schultz, President of HCC Farms LLC

In This Issue:
‘Ike Kupuna – Looking to the Past to Learn For the Future
New Additions to HILT’s Leadership Team
Community & ‘Aina in HILT Happenings
A Culture of ‘Ohana
Read HILT’s Spring 2016 Newsletter.
A Culture of ‘Ohana

Hawai‘i is familiar with the ‘ohana (family) lifestyle of collaboration, as we are rich in ethnic diversity, culture, and traditions.  This culture of ‘ohana and aloha is fostered by the respect and collaboration between individuals and organizations, and they have had tremendous impact on these lands.  Whether it is relationships between HILT and its staff with kama‘aina (children of this land), various environmental or philanthropic organizations, schools, legislators, landowners, realtors, or neighborhood associations, the support of the community is essential in achieving our mission of protecting the lands that sustain us for current and future generations.
We hope to provide that same familial support to other organizations in our community as well.  We delight in the successes, bear the weight of the failures, and take seriously the burden of our kuleana of the conservation, environmental, and philanthropic world.  We look forward to celebrating more in the successes of our partners throughout the year and to contributing to protecting more ‘aina and helping to improve the quality of life for people to enjoy across the islands.
Photo: Courtesy of Tina Aiu.

HILT Adds New Easement to Volcano Small Easement Efforts

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Volcano, Hawai‘i Island – The ancient idea of “pohopoho” – patching together pieces to save the whole — is embodied by a Volcano resident, Dan Taylor. Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (“HILT”) and Dan Taylor of Volcano, permanently protected three acres of land in the Royal Hawaiian Estates subdivision of Volcano. Since 2010, Taylor has donated two other easements to HILT. Dan is creating a corridor in Volcano of protected ‘Ōhi‘a forest for the birds, bats, butterflies and all the insects those animals depend on to survive. He has also been the driving force behind three additional easements that have been donated to HILT, bringing the total easement acreage in Volcano to twelve acres.

Dan Taylor arrived in Volcano in 1979 and worked his way up to being the Chief of Natural Resources Management for the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, retiring in 1995. He has a deep love for the forests, birds and wildlife of the area and has made it his life’s work to conserve those lands he cares for. Dan’s work now is to bring local people together to protect the lands they love.   For many, the largely pristine environment of the Volcano area is the reason they chose to live, work and visit there; the health of the land is strongly connected with the quality of life for the local community.

The goals of the easement are: 1. Preserve native ‘ōhi‘a forest and associated plant communities in perpetuity, and 2; extend the resource protection afforded to neighboring Kahauale‘a Natural Area Reserve, Ola‘a Forest Reserve and Volcanoes National Park. Due in a large part to Dan’s promotion of easements and his work with the Community of Volcano, the “Donation of Small Property Conservation Easements in Residential Subdivisions” is one of the top priorities of the October 2015 Volcano Long Range Plan. (VLRP).

“On behalf of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, I want to thank Dan Taylor for his commitment to protecting his lands in Volcano by donating, this, his third conservation easement and for being a dedicated conservationist who makes a difference to his community, said Scott Fisher, HILT Interim Executive Director.

About Hawaiian Islands Land Trust: Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (“HILT”) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed in 2011 out of the merger of four local land trusts, and it is the first and only nationally accredited local land trust in Hawai‘i. Our mission is to protect the lands that will sustain us for current and future generations.  HILT has conserved over 17,500 acres to date, via perpetual Conservation Easements and Fee Simple Ownership, on a number of properties with various conservation values important to residents and visitors alike.  We conserve lands that secure Hawai‘i’s long-term well-being, lands with scenic views, agricultural resources, wildlife habitats, water resource areas, cultural and historical sites, and outdoor recreation opportunities.  To learn more about HILT and become a Member, go to www.hilt.org.


Photo: Tim Britt and Dan Taylor on his land in Volcano.  Courtesy of Janet Britt.


HILT and Partners Protect 35 Acres and Part of Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail

Kaiholena south

North Kohala, Hawai’i Island – Today, HILT and the Ala Kahakai Trail Association (ATA) in cooperation with several other partners, permanently protected the Kaiholena South parcel, with a HILT Conservation Easement, comprised of more than 35 acres of coastline along the North Kohala Coast. The name “Kaiholena” evokes the sea (kai) and lena (to stretch or bend). This name perfectly describes the protected parcel which bends out into the ocean a short distance south of Lapakahi State Historical Park. The property was just purchased by the Ala Kahakai Trail Association which immediately sold a perpetual Conservation Easement on the entire parcel to HILT. The addition of the Kaiholena South parcel to the previously protected lands along the coast there results in almost 10 miles of protected coastline.

In completing the funding required for this project, HILT joined many community partners who realized the importance of this parcel and contributed to see that Kaiholena South was protected forever. Contributors to this project included the following: Hawaii State Legacy Land, $1,449,555; Freeman Foundation $89,000; Dorrance Family Foundation, $50,000; Atherton Foundation, $15,000; Gail Baber-Byrne who donated hundreds of hours to see this project through; Alan Brown and Aric Arakaki of ATA, and many other foundations, private individuals and other non-profit groups. The owners of the tract, EWM, Enterprises, LP, represented by Charlie Anderson of Hawaii Pacific Brokers, were extremely generous and donated $497,000 in land value by discounting the purchase price below fair market value. The community of North Kohala and the surrounding area are very supportive of this project and have already committed to helping steward the property in perpetuity. They have received a stewardship grant from the .25% fund of Hawai’i County that is specific for the stewarding and management of protected lands, and they will use those funds for the management needs of the parcel. In addition to the partners listed above, HILT expresses deep appreciation to David Penn and Jason Omick of DNLR who worked extremely hard to see that this project was completed at the State level.

The Kaiholena ahupuaʻa is still one of the most important areas on Hawai’i Island – a place where, in 1848 – the time of the Great Mahele, Chief Kamakahonu and Chief Kaopua traded their ancestral lands on Oah’u to secure the rights to Kaiholena. These lands at Kaiholena were the fifth and thirty-fifth registered properties in the Great Mahele documents. The ahupuaʻa of Kaiholena is one of the few whose boundaries extend to the horizon. We know today that Kaiholena was once a thriving community because of the numerous remnants of heiau, massive halau, burial sites, and village complexes that are still visible. Kaiholena has been said to have the most numerous, pre-contact intact cultural and archaeological sites in the state of Hawai’i with over 200 sites that qualify for the National Historic Register to be found there.

The new owner of the Kaiholena South tract, Ala Kahakai Trail Association, describes the trail, which runs across part of the parcel, in their management plan as follows: “The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail reflects a Hawaiian concept of trails as a network connecting places of importance to Native Hawaiian people. It consists of a linear shoreline or near shoreline trail, and on public lands, includes other ancient and historic trails lateral to the shoreline. It may be connected to mauka-makai trails within the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail corridor that traditionally would have been part of the ahupuaʻa system. The management plan anticipates that the Ala Kahakai Trail Association (ATA) and other organizations will function as partners with the Park in community-based protection of cultural sites and landscapes to be used as a setting for cultural conservation through the on-site practice and preservation of Hawaiian values. The purpose of the protection program is to support cultural conservation efforts and to enhance the trail’s relationship to the Native Hawaiian culture, descendants of those whose ancestors were the stewards of the trail’s cultural and natural landscapes, and others with kinship connections to the land.”

The permanent protection of the 35-acre parcel was realized through the purchase of a Conservation Easement by HILT through a generous grant from the Freeman Foundation. A Conservation Easement is a voluntary perpetual legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified conservation organization, such as HILT, that permanently restricts certain activities on the land, and extinguishes development rights, so as to protect the land’s conservation values (wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, agricultural resources, cultural and historical values, outdoor education and recreation opportunities, water resources, etc.). The Conservation Easement runs with the title of the land so that all future owners must also abide by it. Staff from HILT will visit the property at least annually to be sure that all the terms of the Conservation Easement are being followed.

“On behalf of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, I want to thank all the partners that made possible the long-anticipated protection of the Kaiholena South parcel. With the protection of this property, almost 10 miles of this part of the North Kohala coast have been secured for the benefit of current and future generations. I also want to give a special thanks to the Freeman Foundation and our Acquisitions Specialist/Hawai’i Island Director, Janet Britt, for their help with this project,” said Scott Fisher, HILT Executive Director.

About Hawaiian Islands Land Trust: Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (“HILT”) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed in 2011 out of the merger of four local land trusts, and it is the first and only nationally accredited local land trust in Hawai‘i. Our mission is to protect the lands that will sustain us for current and future generations.  HILT has conserved over 17,500 acres to date, via perpetual Conservation Easements and Fee Simple Ownership, on a number of properties with various conservation values important to residents and visitors alike.  We conserve lands that secure Hawai‘i’s long-term well-being, lands with scenic views, agricultural resources, wildlife habitats, water resource areas, cultural and historical sites, and outdoor recreation opportunities.


Attend our Buy Back the Beach: Mālama Kīpuka Gala Event on Maui

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Join us for Buy Back The Beach a celebration under the stars at Old Lāhainā Lū‘au and show your love for protecting Hawai‘i’s precious places! The evening will commence with an oceanfront cocktail reception followed by a family style farm-to-table feast accompanied with live entertainment.

The event brings together Hawai‘i’s top conservation advocates for an island-style pā‘ina under the Maui stars at the famous Old Lāhainā Lū‘au. Guests will be treated with ‘ono lū‘au fare, complimentary cocktails, live and silent auctions and live entertainment featuring the island styling of the incomparable John Cruz. This benefit provides much-needed operational support to ensure the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust continues its efforts to protect the lands that sustain us.

Our supporters have enabled HILT to deliver an incredible amount of conservation successes over the past couple of years. With your leadership level of support for our 2016 Buy Back the Beach “Mālama Kīpuka” benefit, we will deliver even more vital conservation successes in the coming year.

Date: Saturday, January 23rd, 2016
Time: 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Location: Old Lāhainā Lū‘au 1251 Front St., Lāhainā, HI

This year’s event features Grammy award winning artist John Cruz!

John_CruzBorn into one of the great musical families of Hawai‘i, John Cruz is a Grammy award winning artist as well as a multiple Hawaii Nā Hoku Hanohano award-winner.

John’s musical accomplishments are many; he has performed for the President, is a favorite stage partner of Jack Johnson, was named Best Singer/Songwriter in Hawai‘i in 2008 by Hawaii Magazine and his album, “One Of These Days,” and was noted as one of Hawai‘i’s greatest albums of the new century by Honolulu Magazine.

Known for his soulful vocals, John is also a “Kī hō‘alu” (slack key) master and has distinguished himself with his unique acoustic style. John’s hit songs include “Island Style,” “Shine On” and “Sitting in Limbo”.



Mahalo to our gracious Event Hosts:


Mahalo to our Contributors:

Deep Island Hawaiian Rum

Ocean Organic Vodka






Maui Brewing Co


inspired designed - Stacked

Please join us for our 15th Annual Buy Back the Beach: Mālama Kīpuka benefit at the Old Lāhainā Lū‘au!

The event is a benefit for Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, a statewide nationally accredited non-profit land conservation organization committed to protecting the lands that sustain us for current and future generations.


Letters from Board Chair & Executive Director


Letter from HILT Board Chair, Neil Hannahs

Aloha HILT ‘Ohana,

I write to inform you that our Executive Director, Ted Clement, will be leaving the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) at the end of the month to accept a position in California which will allow his continued professional growth and provide wonderful opportunities for his family.

On behalf of HILT, I want to thank Ted for his leadership and tireless service since joining our team in 2013.  Under his watch, much was accomplished to enrich our organization and advance HILT’s land conservation mission.  Highlights include:

  • Achieved National Accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission in 2014;

  • Enhanced organizational infrastructure to sustain HILT’s work (adopted critical policies, created important job descriptions, started an annual audit process, etc.);

  • Conserved the most new properties in a single year in 2013, doubled that amount in 2014 and set a pace this year to equal or surpass the amount of properties conserved last year;

  • Created and initiated popular community education and outreach programs which are connecting more people to nature, HILT and each other, such as HILT’s Talk Story on the Land free public hiking and environmental education series and our Conservation Collaboration Agreements with local schools;

  • Started a HILT Membership Program and expanded HILT’s donor base from under 400 donors in January 2013 to over 1,000 donors;

  • Raised the most private annual cash revenue in HILT’s history in 2013 and then significantly surpassed that amount in 2014;

  • Established Land Acquisition and Legal Defense funds and doubled the size of HILT’s Stewardship Endowment Fund; and

  • Launched a 5-year, $7.4 million Capital Campaign accelerate the pace of HILT’s land acquisition work and raised almost $2 million in the first year.

We also took great strides forward in building the bench strength of our staff by hiring a number of highly skilled professionals and creating an Oahu presence.  This amazing team has the support of community leaders who bring extraordinary qualities and perspectives to our Board of Directors, Board of Advisors, Island Councils and volunteer groups.  It is an awesome collection of talent and commitment that will assure seamless leadership succession and keep HILT in position to complete current initiatives and attain new heights.

We are deeply appreciative of Ted’s contributions to HILT and wish nothing but the best for him and his family as he takes on a new challenge.  We will keep you informed as we move through this transition.  As always, thanks for your support of our wonderful organization and its mission of protecting the lands in Hawaiʻi that will sustain us for current and future generations.

Neil Hannahs
Board Chair

Letter from HILT Executive Director, Ted Clement

Aloha HILT ‘Ohana,

I am so grateful for my work with the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (“HILT”).  It has enabled me to get to know and work with the numerous special people who make up HILT.  It has afforded me the opportunity to diligently serve this terrific organization and, with the good people here, help it grow and protect this incredible place.  Further, it has helped my family and I grow while living amidst the spectacular natural beauty here.  Thank you so very much!  With the significant growth at HILT, a strong staff in place set up to handle matters, and a special opportunity that was just offered to me, it is time that I move on.  Thus,Tuesday, September 29, 2015 will be my last day of work as HILT’s Executive Director.

A land trust in California, which has been doing decades of great work in an area that benefits millions and millions of nearby people, has offered me an Executive Director position which I have accepted.  When I start that job in a few weeks, that land trust will make a public announcement so I will respect that process and keep the specifics quiet until then.

In addition to this opportunity to do a lot of good, this is also about family.  My oldest son headed off to college in California this past month despite our efforts to interest him in the University of Hawaiʻi.  We realized that we would probably only be able to see him about once or twice a year if we stayed in Hawaiʻi, and we view family time together as an important quality of life matter.  This new job will enable us to see our oldest son more regularly while also better helping him with the expense of college.  Further, the new job will enable me to see my brother, one of my best friends, more regularly as he lives out west and his wife is from California.

I am so grateful that we were able to accomplish so much together in my time here (January 2013 – September 2015).  It has been such an honor to work with you all.  HILT is made up of so many special people who will continue to help the organization grow and do great things in furtherance of its land conservation mission.  With heart-felt gratitude to you all!


Edward Sortwell Clement, Jr.

Executive Director


Maunawila Heiau as a Heiau Ho‘ōla

Oral histories indicate that Maunawila Heiau was once a heiau ho‘ōla (sacred place of healing). For years, the property was left abandoned, becoming overgrown with invasive species and accumulating modern trash. OlenaDuring the last few years, however, many hands have worked to remove overgrown vegetation and modern trash, and HILT successfully purchased the land for permanent protection. Our hope is to one day have a thriving lā‘au lapa‘au (Hawaiian medicine) garden to provide traditional medicines to the community.

Last year, our friends at Ho‘oulu ‘Āina gifted us some ‘ōlena mothers from Kalihi Valley, which we planted at the Heiau with community members. Yesterday, our volunteer snapped a photo of our first ‘ōlena plant growing strong at Maunawila. As we continue the work to heal the site, Maunawila Heiau gives back her healing energy to us. Such is the reciprocal relationship between ‘āina and kānaka that is the foundation of Hawaiian culture.


Photo: ‘Ōlena growing at Maunawila Heiau.  Courtesy of Ronnie Huddy.