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plants with a group of people behind

In honor of Arbor Day in Hawaiʻi (first Friday in November), the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Campus Arboretum hosted a trio of events on November 4, culminating with a tree adoption where UH community members were able to take home a tree at no cost. More than 200 trees and other plants of different varieties, including māmaki, ti leaf, ʻōhiʻa, koa, lama and ʻulu were available.

three people smiling with plants and trees
Derek Furukawa (right) attended with colleagues.

Derek Furukawa, UH Mānoa College of Arts, Languages and Letters student academic services director, attended with other colleagues who also adopted trees.

“We wanted to give back, which is a reason why we came out in the first place,” Furukawa said. “It’s part of wellness programs we are doing with academic advisors on campus so we all had an affinity to give back and learn a little bit more about the campus that we’re on.”

Jordie Ho, a graduate research assistant in tropical plant pathology who picked up a māmaki tree, said, “I love plants and I think it’s cool that all these people get to adopt these trees and plant them to combat climate change.”

“Every day we work on campus but don’t get to interact with people outside of our own facilities department,” said Noweo Kai, UH Mānoa Campus Arboretum curator. “So it’s nice to remind people that there are people behind the clean sidewalks and empty waste receptacles and groomed trees and shrubs, and it’s nice to answer questions, meet faces and share what doesn’t always get shared like these are the plants that are outside your office and how remarkable they are.”

person smiling with a plant

Kai emphasized that events like this allow for collaboration between other campus organizations, including UH Mānoa’s Lyon Arboretum.

“Lyon Arboretum is amazing as a partner and amazing as their own arboretum and research facility,” Kai said. “…We are always happy for any opportunity to collaborate in different ways because they have their grounds, research, education and horticulture crews. Our arboretum is all in one so we work with entities from Lyon for different reasons. This is our big collaboration with the horticulture team.”

Earlier in the day, more than a dozen people participated in a tree planting event outside of C-MORE Hale and Sherman Laboratory, and the campus arboretum staff also led a historic tree tour on the UH Mānoa campus.

The UH Mānoa campus is one of 542 ArbNet accredited arboretums worldwide and one of two in Hawaiʻi along with Lyon Arboretum.

—By Marc Arakaki

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