• Lis Richardson

How do we do it?

Updated: Aug 8, 2020

We were recently asked why our weekly dune restoration team has a consistently stable and happy group of volunteers. A key to that answer is that the ‘best practices’ we have been asked to follow actually work. Our volunteers can see the value of their labors because over time these practices have greatly improved the health of our dune systems.

Our work is predicated on input and permitting from Maui County based geologists and coastal zone experts that are tuned into a world-wide network of best practices knowledge. These experts know which native plants belong where, and why. They know how to protect our dunes and keep the sand in the system. They know how to best get the public to and from the beach parks safely and with minimal damage to our dune trails. They also pass along to us the importance of healthy dunes and we in turn pass it along to those we work with, including tourists that come here to enjoy our beaches. So, we have a happy and healthy group partly because we get the help we need from the County and with all of us pulling together the formula actually works!

Another key element is that our volunteers know that we have a consistent and stable work schedule, 2 hours/ week early on Monday mornings. No reservation or cancellation required. Our ‘Snow Birds’ or part time Mauians may just come 1 or 2 workdays/ year. Some come for a few months and many return year after year.. Some of our regular volunteers juggle our Monday workday schedule with other volunteer responsibilities. Some work only with our group and play the rest of the time. No one is asked for more time or money or skill than they want to give.

When the native species we plant thrive, when the dune fencing and post and rope fencing our group installs helps stabilize dunes and pathways, then we all understand that the plan works. When mother nature deals us a blow like a flood or tsunami, like we had last year, it is a lot easier to encourage our group to start over when you know the game plan works.