Request for Proposals

ORGANIZATION: Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) is a nationally accredited 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that protects over 18,000 acres of land in Hawaii with scenic views, agricultural resources, wildlife habitat, water resources, cultural and historical sites, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Established in 2011 as a merger of four land trusts on Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai, HILT complements the stewardship others are providing for mountaintop watersheds by concentrating largely on needs and opportunities for coastal and agricultural lands.

SUMMARY: Hawaiian Islands Land Trust is seeking proposals for a contract to support HILT’s land acquisition and protection program including the acquisition of conservation easements and fee simple projects in Hawaii.


  • Work with HILT staff, board of directors, advisors, and island councils to develop and implement a three-year strategic acquisitions strategy and outreach strategy.

  • Conduct outreach to prospective landowners to promote conservation easements and voluntary conservation programs available to landowners.

  • Coordinate outreach with other providers of conservation programs including the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service to provide a minimum of four (4) public outreach forums on agricultural easements.

  • Manage fee simple and conservation easement acquisitions including negotiation of Letters of Intent, Purchase and Sale Agreements, Conservation Easements, Baseline Documentation Reports, and Management Plans.

  • Conduct due diligence, order and review transaction documents including title reports, appraisals, surveys, and environmental studies.

  • Communication and coordinate with communities, stakeholders, and others involved in HILT’s land protection projects.

  • Help facilitate the approval of projects through the HILT Land Committee and Board of Directors.

  • Assist in the drafting and manage grant application for funding of HILT’s acquisitions through City, State, Federal, and private grant programs.

  • Manage transactions through to closing.

  • Provide updates and regular communications to HILT’s CEO, HILT Board of Directors, Island Councils, and HILT staff.


Will require regular travel to neighbor islands


  • Passion for the mission of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust

  • Three years of experience in land conservation and real estate transactions

  • Ability to negotiate land transactions

  • Knowledge of Hawaii and county land use laws

  • Knowledge of Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources

  • Bachelor’s degree

Parties interested in submitting a proposal for the Scope of Work provided, please submit the following to

  1. Statement of Qualifications

  2. Hourly Rate

  3. Three (3) References

Ensuring Land is Protected Once the Deal is Done

Once the conservation values of a property are protected by a conservation easement the Land Trusts role becomes that of guardian. It is now our job to make sure that the agreement stipulated in the easement documents are upheld. This means that each year, as HILT’s Land Steward, I must visit each of the 38 easements spanning each of the five main islands, and make a physical inspection of every site.

This past week I made the rounds on the Island of Kauai which currently holds four easements and two fee-owned properties. I had also planned to check up on damage to an access trail easement that we’re currently working to acquire. I couldn't quite fit all the stops needed into a comfortable day so I made it an overnight trip. I was graciously hosted overnight at the home of one of our Kauai Island Council members. This is a group of local residents who act as our first line of advisers and as helping hands on the island. I started my day walking the scenic loi of Hanalei with the landowner, discussing current and future plans. Other stops included reviewing the impact of the floods on current easements and a future trail easement which was impacted by the storm. This damage will require revisions to our documents which seek to comprehensively describe the conditions of the property at the time the easement is first enacted. I had hoped to visit one of HILT’s fee-owned properties, called Wainiha Bay, but couldn’t as it was inaccessible due to road damage from the April floods. This is the smallest property owned and managed by HILT and is listed as Wainiha Bay Park on Google Maps. It’s a small strip running about one hundred yards long between Kuhio Highway and the beach and was acquired in 2008 by the Kauai Public Land Trust, one of the four predecessor organizations which incorporated in 2011 to become HILT. You can take a quick tour of the Wainiha property via Google’s street view.

Do you live in the area or know someone who does? Due to the road closure we haven’t been able to visit the site for our annual inspection and could use some help from a resident of the area to capture a few photos for us so that we can document the current conditions of the property. Please send us a current photo or two of this simple but happy place if you are able. You can send it directly to me here. Mahalo!

—James Crowe

Community-Based Conservation: A Tradition of Connecting People and Place

Man is a part of nature, and both can thrive when we are working together in harmony. Indigenous cultures around the world have recognized, honored, and cultivated this delicate interconnection between people and place for generations. At Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, this practice of collectively caring for our natural and cultural resources continues through our community-based conservation efforts. We believe that valuable knowledge is gained through hands-on experience, and that the lands of Hawaii offer unique lessons to those who care for them.

HILT connects residents and visitors to special places on our preserves across Hawai‘i. We envision a Hawaii that makes the tradition of mālama āina a way of life. HILT’s education efforts seek to inform and connect people to place. Our efforts to understand, protect, and steward our lands reach from keiki to kupuna. We share the sites and stories of our wahi pana and participate in the collective nurturing of the āina. If you have not already, please come out to the land and be a part of this tradition.

Over 2,000 residents and visitors help in HILT’s ecological restoration efforts across the islands each year. They do so through corporate partnership programs, our popular Talk Story on the Land hikes, our regular volunteer days, or the āina-based education programs with one of the dozens of schools and educational organizations we host at our preserves. We are grateful to our partners for the privilege to protect and share these lands with them.

In 2017, this long list of partners included:


Since 2007, the Waihee Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge has served as an outdoor classroom for Pōmaikai Elementary School. Last year, we hosted over 500 students from Pōmaikai Elementary School, who learned about the Refuge, conservation practices, and the part they play continuing the centuries-old ethic of mālama āina.


Maunawila Heiau and Cultural Preserve is managed and cared for by a network of community groups, HILT, and local education institutions. In 2017, HILT’s community outreach manager and cultural anthropologist, Rebekah Walker, helped lead HILT’s community-based conservation partnership, and the coordination of our collective outreach and restoration efforts connecting over 2,000 participants in our efforts. We see community-based conservation in action every month at Maunawila, with regular volunteer work days, Talk Story on the Land hikes, and educational programming with many of the area schools and community.


HILT’s Kauai Island Council members participate in a broad public-private partnership that seeks to mālama the iconic Kāhili Beach Preserve on Kauai. Together with the Kīlauea Neighborhood Association, Āina Hookupu o Kīlauea, and United States Fish & Wildlife Service, community volunteers actively work to restore not just the land, but the local tradition of responsibly and sustainably caring for this precious resource. HILT is grateful to these stewards, who regularly come together to remove marine and other debris from Kāhili’s shores, clear invasive species, and ensure the continued resilience that a clean and beautiful ecosystem provides.


Hawaii’s natural areas provide abundant opportunities for community-based conservation. Connect with us as we grow these invaluable partnerships across the islands. Join us to learn and share lessons about the land, its history, and traditions, as we engage in their care, stewardship, and protection. We can’t do community-based conservation without you! We have many opportunities to share these lessons, so please click here for upcoming hikes, work days, and other special events.

Buy Back the Beach to Honor Keans as 2019 Champions of the Land

Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) will honor Susan and Jac Kean as the 2019 Champions of the Land at the 18th annual Buy Back the Beach: Mālama Kīpuka Benefit Lūau on January 26, 2019.  

Susan and Jac Kean.jpg

Each year, HILT recognizes a person, group, or organization that has had a substantial impact on land conservation in Hawaii. As founding members of HILT, and as part of a visionary group of multi-year donors, Susan and Jac helped realize the vision of a unified, statewide Hawaiian Islands Land Trust in 2011. Susan served first with the Maui Coastal Land Trust and then with HILT as a member of the Board of Directors until earlier this year. Through a variety of committee roles throughout her service, Susan devoted her creative energy to HILT’s mission to protect the lands that sustain us.

As co-owner of Kaupo Ranch, Jac Kean was integral to the conservation of HILT’s Nu‘u Preserve in 2011. The 82-acre preserve in Kaupo protects some of the healthiest coastlines across Hawaii, which provide habitat for several endangered bird species. Nu‘u is also home to numerous pre-contact archeological sites, including petroglyphs and traditional house sites on the preserve.

Susan and Jac, along with HILT’s many supporters, have enabled the organization to deliver an incredible amount of conservation success, protecting more than 18,000 acres across Hawaii. Support for the 2019 Buy Back the Beach benefit will enable HILT to deliver even more vital conservation work in Hawaii.

HILT invites its supporters to join in celebrating Susan and Jac Kean for their community leadership, generous philanthropy, and forward-thinking vision at Buy Back the Beach: Malama Kipuka. The fundraising gala provides support for HILT’s efforts to protect coastal lands, historical and cultural landscapes, and working farms and ranches across Hawaii.

The event is an island-style paina under the stars at the famous Old Lāhainā Lūau. Guests will be treated to delicious luau fare provided by the renowned culinary teams from Old Lāhainā Lūau, Aloha Mixed Plate, Star Noodle, and Leoda’s, along with craft cocktails, a live and silent auction full of unique experiences, art, and other goods, and live entertainment featuring Maui’s own Gretchen Rhodes.

Event details:

Saturday, January 26, 2019

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

Old Lāhainā Lūau

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 here.  

Or by phone at (808) 791-0729

Stories of Waihee: Reflections From Dr. Scott Fisher

Over the course of the last 15 years, my work with the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust has allowed me to connect with a multitude of people with stories, knowledge, and skills to share. These gifts of ike have helped to shape how we approach land conservation in Hawaii, more specifically, how we malama the wahi pana that is Waihee Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge. Beginning in the new year, and continuing over the course of the next two to three years, I will embark on a serial blog project — akin to historians of the past who published their findings in various Hawaii newspapers — to share the history, biology, geology, and cultural myths and legends of Waihee and express gratitude for the many people who have contributed to the restoration at Waihee over the years. 

The blog will be a journey stretching back 1.6 million years, when the volcano that we now call Puu Kukui, or the West Maui Mountains, finished its building phase, and will end with some reflections on our hopes for the future of this wahi pana.  In between we will share what we know, and what we have learned from our own studies, from archaeologists, kupuna, former cowboys, books, and newspapers. We hope that this collection of stories will serve as a resource for current and future generations, maintaining access to the vast ike we’ve collected over the years within a single source.  Over time, we hope that future generations will add to the story or inform our hypotheses as our current efforts come to fruition. This project will be a concise history, telling the story of Waihee, and what makes it a wahi pana, a place of legends, stories, and myths and a place where people have put their hands into the soil bringing life to the land for millennia.

So, it is with deep gratitude, that I ask you to follow me on this journey and to share your own recollections, hopes, dreams, or just mana’o about this special place.  At the end of the journey, we hope you will understand why we like to say so often, “He ali’i ka ‘aina, he kaua ke kanaka.” The land is the chief, and the people are its servants.

— Scott Fisher, PhD