| Hot Green Fun |
In between island sights, beaching it, and other hang-loose tropical pursuits, don’t miss these only-on-Maui picks.
Hike Maui. Ken Schmitt started Maui’s oldest hiking tour company in 1983 (after living … alone … in the island’s jungles), and today the “walking encyclopedias” who lead these richly informative and invigorating tours include a marine biologist, a professor of ethnobotany, former park rangers, wildlife biologists, an expert on whales, dolphins and turtles.
Eco Golf. Because of the nasty chemical fertilizers and herbicides dosed on golf courses, we don’t usually recommend golf as a green activity, pardon the pun. But we also want eco-conscious golfers to know that Audubon International certifies golf links that meet standards for protecting water quality, conserving natural resources and providing wildlife habitats. Maui has the only Aububon-certified courses in the state: the championship Bay, Plantation and Villages courses at Kapalua Resort.
Volunteering on Vacation. Make a difference for Maui’s fragile eco-system. Everyone, including families with children age 10 and over, is welcome. It’s free! You’ll walk away with a tote bag and the satisfaction of your labors. Activities include gardening on an organic farm, restoring native plants, removing invasive species, protecting Hawaiian cultural sites and marine life, beach clean-ups and more. If group events don’t work for you, do a solo project: a beach clean-up kit has rubber gloves, trash bags and instructions on disposing of the litter you gather.
O‘o Farm. A truly special island experience. On a typically misty Upcountry morning, you wend your way to an elevation of 3,500 feet to arrive at a secluded 8+ acres that are farmed organically and biodynamically by the owners of Pacific‘O and I‘o restaurants in Lahaina. During a casual romp through the growing fields and orchards, vibrant greens, lettuces and other goodies are collected. Then, invigorated by your farm walk, you return to the picnic grounds for a superb and lavish lunch prepared by one of the restaurants’ chefs, using many of the farm’s fresh ingredients. Dining is country-style, on a long picnic table under an arbor, as if you’ve been plopped into an enchanted photo shoot for a food magazine.
Pacific Whale Foundation. This non-profit’s mission is to protect whales, dolphins, coral reefs and our planet’s oceans. In Lahaina or Maalaea, stop by their Ocean Discovery Store for a great shopping—clothing, books, jewelry, music and DVDs, kid stuff, marine-themed art. In addition to promoting marine conservation (its Seafood Watch educates chefs and consumers about sustainable seafood choices in Hawaii), the foundation conducts marine research and educates the public through all manner of marine eco-tours and cruises, from whale watching, dolphin-spotting and snorkeling to sunset and history cruises. These folks are the real deal—certified marine naturalists who follow a strict wildlife watching code to protect marine life. Their high-tech vessels run on energy-efficient, low-emissions engines (those based at Maalaea are powered by biodiesel from recycled veggie oil).