Hawaiian Islands Land Trust Honors Henk Rogers and Blue Planet Foundation for Sustainability Efforts

Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) is honoring Henk Rogers and Blue Planet Foundation as the 2018 Champion of the Land at the 17th annual Buy Back the Beach: Mālama Kīpuka Benefit Lū‘au on January 20, 2018.  Each year, HILT selects a person, group, or organization that has contributed significantly and has had a substantial impact on land conservation in Hawaii.


Henk Rogers, Founder and Board Chair of the Honolulu-based clean energy nonprofit Blue Planet Foundation, is committed to stewarding the environment through promoting solutions to our urgent climate challenge. Blue Planet Foundation's mission is to clear the path for 100 percent clean energy in Hawaii and beyond. Through collaboration and advocacy, Blue Planet champions scalable policies and programs to transform Hawaii’s energy systems to clean, renewable energy solutions.


“The work of Henk and the Blue Planet Foundation to move Hawaii toward a 100 percent clean energy future is a significant contribution toward Hawaii’s sustainability. Hawaii has the potential to lead the world in how we care for our environment,” said Kawika Burgess, HILT’s CEO. Blue Planet Foundation was the lead advocate for the nation’s first 100 percent renewable energy requirement. Hawai‘i’s legislature passed the aggressive law setting a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. This bold policy has since changed the conversation about energy in Hawai‘i and nationwide. Since the passing of the 100 percent renewable energy law, Blue Planet Foundation has been actively working to put a similar vision in place for ground transportation in Hawai‘i.


"On behalf of the Board of Directors of Blue Planet Foundation, I am honored that Hawaiian Islands Land Trust has chosen us as a recipient of its 2018 Champion of the Land award," Rogers said. "We are grateful for the recognition, and plan to continue to protect our planet and our future as we clear the path to 100 percent."


"We are very thankful for the honor, and excited to help create a renewable and sustainable Hawaii that serves as a model for the globe," said Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Blue Planet Foundation.


Hawaiian Islands Land Trust’s Buy Back the Beach event brings together Hawai‘i’s committed conservation supporters 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.  This benefit helps the land trust’s efforts to protect precious landscapes and places in Hawai‘i with unique natural and cultural resources.


HILT’s supporters have enabled the land trust to deliver an incredible amount of conservation successes over the years including the protection of over 18,000 acres of shorelines, native forests, cultural landscapes, and farm lands across the islands.  


Event details:

Saturday, January 20, 2018

5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Old Lāhainā Lū‘au

1251 Front Street

Lāhainā, HI 96761

Tables of 8 are available for $1,400, $2,500, $5,000, $7,500 and $10,000

Individual Tickets are $175 per person

Purchase Tickets online at www.hilt.org/buy-back-the-beach-2017

Or by phone at (808) 791-0729


For more information about the event, visit www.hilt.org or call Angela Britten, Director of Development at (808) 791-0731.

Why I Choose to Invest In The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust

There are so many incredibly admirable organizations that serve our community here on Maui and throughout Hawaii nei and my husband and I try to find opportunities where we can help out, whenever we can. Feeding the homeless, clothing our children, literacy, universal health access, and many more programs are all deserving of our help and attention. These worthy nonprofits are all managed by devoted people who work tirelessly on trying to make Hawaii a better place for all of us and, hopefully, many of them will no longer be needed in the future as the needs they fill will be successfully abolished. 

We believe that investing in land conservation is a permanent and perpetual investment and will forever ensure that all our future generations will continue to benefit from working farm and ranch lands, open space and public access for recreation and connection to nature, cultural and historical sites for education, and iconic views that we have come to take for granted. My husband and I have chosen to invest in the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust since 2008 and are proud of the work that the trust does and all they have accomplished. In the last 10 years HILT has placed over 18,000 acres of Hawaii’s precious places in to perpetual conservation and we are excited to be a part of it. 

Although the people that manage the myriad of amazing nonprofits here in Hawaii will continue to come and go, and the necessitous issues will change with the generations, we are satisfied that our solid investment in land conservation will continue into perpetuity to serve the wonderful people of


By, Susan Kean

Susan began her art career at an early age at the Art Students League in New York City and continued at Pratt University in Brooklyn.  After receiving her BFA she opened Fine Art Tile, a business specializing in custom hand-painted ceramic tile.  In her 30 years of operating this business, 20 in Hawai‘i, she completed many commissions for a multitude of restaurants, hotels and private homes.  She recently took up oil painting en plein air which has helped strengthen her conviction of preserving iconic landscapes and open space.

An avid hiker, paddler, biker she is passionate about nature and is happy to be affiliated with an organization that works so hard to preserve land.

Susan sat five years as a founding advisory director for BookTrustMaui.  She started serving on the board of Maui Coastal Land Trust in 2008.  She is currently serving as chair of the governance committee for the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust.

She is married to Jac Kean and they happily share four wonderful children.

Ka Nuhou: December 2017

Aloha HILT Ohana!

Happy Makahiki and Holiday Season! Here are a few HILT updates for December 2017:


Merriman's Waimea Executive Chef Vince McCarthy, Celebrity Guest Chef Andrew Le from Pig and a Lady, and HILT CEO Kawika Burgess at the Hawaii Island Paina

Merriman's Waimea Executive Chef Vince McCarthy, Celebrity Guest Chef Andrew Le from Pig and a Lady, and HILT CEO Kawika Burgess at the Hawaii Island Paina

Mahalo nui to all of our Big Island friends and ohana who came out to Merriman’s Waimea to celebrate at HILT’s annual Hawaii Island Paina on November 17th! We had a wonderful evening of fabulous food and entertainment with guest celebrity chef Andrew Le from Pig & The Lady and Executive Chef Vince McCarthy.

Merriman's Fish House in Poipu, Kauai

Merriman's Fish House in Poipu, Kauai

For all of our Kauai friends and ohana, please join us at the annual Kauai Island Paina being held on Thursday, December 14th at Merriman’s Fish House in Poipu with celebrity guest chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi. You can get more information or purchase your tickets here: http://www.hilt.org/special-events-calendar/kauai-island-paina

Mahalo nui to Peter Merriman and Merriman's for all of their incredible support for HILT and land conservation in Hawaii! 

Buy Back the Beach at the Old Lahaina Luau, Maui. 

Buy Back the Beach at the Old Lahaina Luau, Maui. 

Our annual Maui Buy Back the Beach celebration will be held on Saturday, January 20th at the Old Lahaina Luau. For more information and to purchase your tickets, click here: http://www.hilt.org/special-events-calendar/2018/buy-back-the-beach-maui

Mahalo nui loa to the Old Lahaina Luau for the annual sponsorship of HILT's signature event! 


Peter Merriman at the Meeting Professionals International Aloha Chapter Award Dinner

Peter Merriman at the Meeting Professionals International Aloha Chapter Award Dinner

Congratulations to HILT Board Member Peter Merriman for being recognized by the Meeting Professionals International Aloha Chapter!

Congratulations also to Peter Merriman for being named a finalist for the American Savings Bank Business Leader of the Year! https://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/news/2017/11/09/finalists-american-savings-bank-business-leader-of.html#i/10696462

Danny Boren and HILT Board Members.jpg

HILT sponsor and Chair of our Buy Back the Beach Event Committee, Danny Boren of Skyline Eco-Adventures was recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals on National Philanthropy Day! Congratulations Danny!

Land Trust Alliance Rally:

Associate Executive Director of Conservation, Scott Fisher, Kauai Island Director, Angela Anderson, and CEO Kawika Burgess participated in a panel discussion and presentation at the National Land Trust Alliance in Denver Colorado on October 27th on the subject of Community Conservation. It’s great to see that Hawaii is on the cutting edge of community conservation nationally!

Here Are A Few Land Project Updates:

Central Maui

HILT is working on a potential conservation easement to protect 800-acres of prime Maui agricultural lands supporting diversified agriculture in Maui’s central plains.

Keanae, Maui

Keanae, Maui

Keanae, Maui

HILT has been awarded $210,000 from the State Legacy Land Program and we are following up with the matching funds for the remaining balance needed to close on this iconic 6-acre traditional taro farm on the historic Keanae peninsula.

Honolua, Maui

Honolua Bay/Lipoa Point

Honolua Bay/Lipoa Point

HILT has been participating in the State’s planning meetings as the long-range management planning process for Honolua Bay and Lipoa Point begins.  HILT will continue to be a resource for the State in the planning efforts along with other community groups and stakeholders.

 Kilauea, Kauai

Kilauea, Kauai

Kilauea, Kauai

HILT has been working on a potential conservation easement on one of the North Shore of Kauai’s popular hiking trails in Kilauea, Kauai.

Windward, Oahu

HILT is also working on a potential project to help protect one of Windward Oahu’s few remaining Hawaiian fishponds.  

Kona, Hawaii

Another portion of the Kona's native forest and native bird habitat could be protected soon with another conservation easement in the beautiful ma uka forest lands of Kaloko.

Kohala, Hawaii

North Kohala Coastline, Hawaii Island

North Kohala Coastline, Hawaii Island

HILT has been in discussion with North Kohala community members about additional coastal protection efforts along the beautiful North Kohala coastline. 

There are several other land acquisition and protection projects in the works on each island. Stay tuned as these projects move forward and HILT continues its efforts to project Hawaii's special places, the lands that sustain us, and the natural and cultural heritage of Hawaii for current and future generations! 

Stewardship Updates:

Waihee Coastal Dunes and Wetland Preserve

Skyline Eco-Adventures Beach Clean Up at Waihee

Skyline Eco-Adventures Beach Clean Up at Waihee

Mahalo to all of volunteers that come out to the Waihee Coastal Dunes and Wetland Preserve to help care for the land. Skyline Eco-Adventures recently came out and helped to remove over 364 lbs. of plastic and rubbish from the shoreline! We appreciate everyone's collective efforts!

Maunawila Heiau

Students at Maunawila Heiau

Students at Maunawila Heiau

We'd also like to thank the Maunawila Menehune and many volunteers who have come out to our Volunteer Days at Maunawila Heiau! Recent groups include students from Hauula Elementary, BYUH, and Windward Community College. 

Kauai Island Director, Angela Anderson

Kauai Island Director, Angela Anderson

Please help us give HILT Kauai Island Director a warm aloha and farewell as she and  her family will be moving to Washington State. Angela helped advance HILT's conservation work on Kauai with conservation easements to protect traditional taro lands in Waioli Valley and helped lead HILT's stewardship work at Kahili Beach among her many achievements. We wish Angela the very best in her future endeavors.  

As we enter into December, the Board of Directors and staff and HILT would like to wish each and everyone of our friends of the land and HILT Ohana members a very Happy Makahiki and Holiday Season!

Places and People

Hawaiian Islands Land Trust is a small organization dedicated to a crucial cause (the graveness of which became clearer the more time I spent here): the conservation of ecologically, culturally, historically, and agriculturally significant places. With limited resources and relatively few staff members, everyone here works very hard to serve the organization’s important mission to “protect the lands that sustain us.”

This summer, I had the opportunity to work as an intern at HILT’s O‘ahu office. Working with several staff members on various projects, I got to see the underbelly of land trust work and discover how HILT operates to fulfill its mission. With the goal of learning a bit about everything, I participated in various projects both in the office and “out in the field.”

HILT’s O‘ahu office is a small, simple, unassuming suite located in an unimposing building in a quiet part of downtown Honolulu. You would never guess from the outside what significant work was being done within. The sincere aesthetic of the HILT office is reflective of the sort of work that HILT does. Unflashy, genuine, straight to the heart of the matter. Working in the office with Kawika, Angie, and Jean, I was able to participate in the fundraising (or “development”) side of things as well as learn about the process of land-acquisition and management. All of this took the form of much reading and writing, a bit of drawing, some database research, some mail-merging and Excel-spreadsheet-making, and lots of envelope-stuffing to boot. It was all very interesting work, and most of it completely new to me. From the first few readings (legal easement documents, management plans, and an archaeological report), I knew just how much learning I would have ahead of me.

As a novelty-seeking intern looking for new knowledge wherever it could be found, I also got to tag along on several out-of-the-office adventures. These included a volunteer day with Hawaiian Airlines at Maunawila Heiau; a site visit of a potential property on O‘ahu; a trip to the airport post office for a bulk-mailing project; a trip to Hau‘ula to build cardboard wa‘a (canoes) with school children and learn about Hawaiian history and language; and finally a weeklong stint at the Hawai‘i Conservation Conference.

Over the course of my time with HILT, I have experienced many new things, and gained many new insights regarding land acquisition and nonprofit development, as well as made a first step into the vast world of Hawaiian culture, language, and history. Perhaps the most important idea I saw put into elegant practice at HILT was the multifaceted nature of places.

So much of what a place is depends on what we make of it. It’s true that land is physical and can be defined by its biotic and abiotic factors, or split into parcels by tax map keys and boundary lines. But places are also defined by the stories we tell about them: how we interact with them in the present, and how we understand their past. Furthermore, subjectivity and differences in background knowledge mean that each person will view and experience a place differently. Put simply, places mean different things to different people.

Take, as an example, Maunawila Heiau, owned and managed by Hawaiian Islands Land Trust since 2014, and located in Hau‘ula on the North Shore of O‘ahu. A real estate agent or government official might describe Maunawila as TMK: [1] 5‐4‐005: 010, a fee-owned 9.08-acre property in an AG-2 (agricultural) zoning district. An archeologist would look at the same land and note the various igneous and coralline alignments and features, searching for artifacts and significant stones. A cultural anthropologist would bring a different perspective, wondering about the mo‘olelo (stories) associated with the place and the practices and rituals observed here. What type of heiau was Maunawila and what did the prophet Makuakaumana have to do with it? A biologist would notice the non-native octopus trees and unbridled hau, and consider what endemic plants and animals might do best in this environment. An educator would wonder “is it safe to bring children here?” and a fundraiser would ask the same about potential donors. A volunteer would see the guinea grass and, wielding a machete, work to clear the area of harmful invasives. A child might see a place of wonder and mystery or steer clear of it, fearing its religious attributes. A practitioner of Hawaiian culture might honor the land as a place of ancestral sacredness, worthy of immense respect. And an intern with HILT would get to learn about all of these perspectives and revel in the marvelous complexity of places and people.

How we understand a place depends on the stories we connect with it. After working at HILT, I have added a new story to my understanding of conserved places. I also have a better grasp and deeper appreciation of the work of conservationists. Protecting our most important lands is a noble aspiration and one that is becoming ever more urgent. At Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, I have had the privilege of seeing a group of dedicated, sincere, and intelligent people working in pursuit of this immensely consequential goal.


By, Susannah Lawhorn