COURTESY OF PERMACULTURE GROUP
Maui Peace Action President Mele Stokesberry writes one of the wishes to be planted under a native coconut tree as part of a new enterprise to encourage visitors and residents to support reforestation in Hawaii.
Wishes accompany planting of native tree
WAILUKU » What began as an idea for their wedding ceremony has bloomed into a business promoting the planting of native trees and wishes of hope.
For more information on the Permaculture Group, visit permaculturegroup.com. To order a tree through the Plant A Wish program, call Imhoff at (808) 250-1469 or e-mail proudtobuylocal@gmail. com.
Joseph Imhoff and Sara Tekula's Permaculture Group is starting a "Plant A Wish" enterprise to support native reforestation projects.
Plant A Wish enables a person or business to purchase native trees and donate them to reforestation projects, along with their personal wishes for the future.
More than 100 wishes, written on small pieces of biodegradable paper during Earth Day on April 20, will be buried under a native coconut sapling at H.A. Baldwin Park in Paia during a public dedication ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. today.
Those contributing wishes include state Rep. Mele Carroll and Maui Peace Action President Mele Stokesberry.
Imhoff said people are invited to attend the ceremony and plant their wishes in the ground.
He said he hopes that in addition to residents, visitors will see the value in planting a tree on Maui as a way to reduce the "carbon footprint" of the tourism industry.
"If every tourist that came here planted a native tree, our landscape would be much healthier and would provide us with the water that we so desperately need on these islands," Imhoff said.
Imhoff said the Permaculture Group is committed to sustainability, including supporting local farmers and native reforestation projects, and promoting organizations and events that focus on green living.
Imhoff said the Permaculture Group is helping farmers who grow native trees find people who want to support them and places where they can be planted.
He said native trees are vital to the island's survival, providing clean air, watershed areas and homes for native birds.
Imhoff said the idea of planting wishes with a native tree grew out of his and Sara's wedding last year.
Guests were asked to write down their hopes for the couple and put the slips of paper into a hole, where a native koa tree was planted.
"It kind of ties people to the tree," he said. "It kind of inspires people to become stewards of the land."
Imhoff said he's seen the koa tree grow from a foot and a half to almost 5 feet.
"It's doing great," he said.
The Permaculture Group has been promoting the purchase of live native trees as an alternative to importing dead pine Christmas trees during the holidays.