Alaska Airlines President Ben Minicucci planting a milo legacy tree at Gunstock Ranch in Lāʻie on Oʻahu.

Photo: Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines Teams Up with Mālama Hawaiʻi to Plant Nearly 900 Trees on Oʻahu

The airline promises to plant one tree for every flight to the Hawaiian Islands.

In an effort to mālama (take care) of Hawaiʻi, Alaska Airlines is planning to plant a small forest on Oʻahu’s Gunstock Ranch—nearly 900 trees—now through the end of 2020.

READ MORE: Help Reforest Gunstock Ranch on Oʻahu’s North Shore

More specifically, the airline has partnered with Mālama Hawaiʻi and the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative to plant one milo tree—a species native to the Hawaiian Islands—for every Alaska Airlines flight to Hawaiʻi, in an effort to help reforest land that has been destroyed by livestock and commercialization. It is also Alaska Airlines’ way of giving back to the Islands as our visitor industry struggles to find its feet once more.

“As we welcome visitors back to Hawaiʻi, we want to support awareness of mindful travel to the Islands—both in the air and on the ground,” said Daniel Chun, Alaska’s director of sales, community and public relations for Hawaiʻi. “Alaska has always taken great pride in being responsible stewards of the places we fly, and we hope our guests take pride in this, too. We’re excited to support Mālama Hawaiʻi, as it provides a way for our guests to partner with local residents and organizations to help strengthen the communities they visit.”

By the end of 2020, Alaska Airlines expects to plant nearly 900 trees.
Photo: Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

Visitors can involve themselves further by sponsoring their own Alaska Airline Legacy Tree, or trees, which includes an electronic certificate of sponsorship—embossed paper certificates will be sent upon request—the tree’s ID number as well as the GPS location of your tree for $60. And if you are traveling to the island of Oʻahu, be sure to pay a visit to Gunstock Ranch, where your tree will be located, and experience the gorgeous property via the ranch’s many tour options.

Milo (Thespesia populnea) is a member of the large Malvaceae family that includes about 100 genera and more than 2,000 species including abutilon, cotton and hibiscus. It is a very close relative of another Hawaiian heritage plant, the hau tree. The home of King Kamehameha I in Waikīkī was surrounded by milo trees, considered sacred by early Polynesians. Its wood was prized for making beautiful bowls and carvings, the bark was used for cordage and the fruit was used to make dyes.

“Travel has fundamentally changed, and travelers have become aware of their personal impact on the places they visit now more than ever,” said Jeffrey Dunster, Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative’s co-founder and executive director. “By planting an Alaska Airlines Legacy Tree and helping to offset your carbon footprint during your stay in Hawaiʻi, you’ll be making a difference for our island home — and the only footprint you’ll leave behind will be left in the sand of our beautiful beaches.”

Like Hawaiʻi’s reforestation initiative, our Islands are also in an effort to grow again once more. Regardless of whether you decide to support Hawaiʻi’s forestry by flying with Alaska or by sponsoring your own tree, both serve as great ways to give back to Hawaiʻi before you even arrive, and hopefully, this concept of taking care of the Islands—to mālama—stays with you throughout your visit. 

You can find more information on Alaska Airlines’ tree planting initiative by visiting its website.