Formed approximately five million years ago from volcanic activity, the Hawaiian island of Kauaʻi has transformed into a verdant paradise over the ages, even earning the nickname “The Garden Isle” thanks to its dazzling green landscape. Although the island remains a wonder to behold today, invasive flora and fauna have ravaged the endemic species that once thrived throughout the archipelago, threatening the delicate balance of Hawaii’s biodiversity—but fortunately, some of the region’s finest resorts are creating innovative solutions to preserve the natural wonders of the islands.
Located on the east coast of Lihue, Timbers Kauaʻi has been a haven for luxury travel since 1999 – and in modern times, this sprawling property has adopted an ambitious program to support the surrounding wildlife known as The Farm at Hōkūala. Set on a massive disused golf course, the operation measures 16.5 acres, ushering in sprawling, wildlife-rich greenery to replace the sterile grass that once dominated the site.
“The Farm at Hōkūala was envisioned to be a cornerstone of the Hōkūala community, bringing both the greater Kauaʻi Kamaʻāina as well as guests and owners of Timbers Kaua’i at Hōkūala together to connect with the land on multiple levels,” says Joy Stedman, Senior Sales/Business Development Executive at Timbers Kaua’i. “The farm serves as an educational tool that allows us to share the history, culture and knowledge of traditional canoe crops brought by original Polynesian settlers, as well as cut emissions associated with importing products used at our signature restaurant Hualani’s and Nanea Spa, our recently launched all-organic spa.”
While breadfruit, noni and kalo are just some of the crops grown on the farm, this lush oasis has much more than just plant life. The farm is carefully cultivated to serve as a refuge for the native insects of Hawaii, and there is even an apiary on the property that produces more than a hundred gallons of honey each year. As an added bonus, the many wild insects serve as an important food source for local birds, attracting many species for Timber’s free on-property birding expeditions. While potential sightings range from Hawaiian coot to Hawaiian gallinule, one particularly fascinating resident creature is the nēnē, a type of native goose that likely evolved from the more widespread Canada goose eons ago.
The Farm at Hōkūala is a major sustainability project for Timbers Kauaʻi, but it’s far from the only one in place across the resort. On-property dining Hualani’s is a certified Surfrider Ocean Friendly Restaurant member, eliminating styrofoam and plastic bags from its supply chain to ensure the surrounding coastline is kept free of plastic waste. To promote their commitment to reducing pollution, Timbers also facilitates regular beach cleanups, offering kits to guests to help in the process. From sustainable agriculture to conservation awareness, each program stands as a prominent reminder of the deep commitment to wildlife conservation and sustainability woven into Timbers Kaua’i’s ethos.
“Sustainability is critical not only to Timbers Kaua’i, but across the Hawaiian Islands because the limited natural resources here are so delicate,” says Stedman. “We want to preserve the natural beauty of this place for everyone to enjoy for generations to come. At Timbers, we ensure our owners and guests have access to a range of volunteer tourism opportunities, so they understand the kuleana, or the responsibility not to not only preserving but enhancing our communities. Our partnerships with local organizations like Sustainable Coastlines and the Hawaiʻi Land Trust bring this experience full circle.”