Have you noticed an uptick in gardening since the coronavirus pandemic started? We sure did! Mahalo to everyone who sent in photos of their ocean-friendly victory gardens! Well we’re not done...we’re now encouraging Maui residents to catch their friends and neighbors in the act of gardening - the ocean friendly way! What exactly does it mean to be “ocean friendly?” It has to do with what you put in your garden (such as fertilizers and pesticides, and the plants themselves), and how you water it (the tech you use and the timing). Check out our list of “Ocean-Preferred Products” for starters, and also see our tips on fertilizing, dealing with pests, and watering your garden.
Here’s how to participate: get out there are “bust” your friends and neighbors being ocean friendly with their gardens by snapping a photo (*safely socially-distanced of course), send us the photo (*with their permission of course), and if you can, post it on your own social media as well using #OceanFriendlyMaui. Include your mailing address when you email us so we can send you a gift card (if you’re a Maui resident). We’ll share it on our pages and website to highlight the positive action people are taking.
Thank you to everyone who posted or sent in photos for our #MauiEarthMonth2020 experiment while in lockdown! Well, it's now May, we're still doing social distancing, AND we have a LOT MORE gift cards to give away, so we're extending our "Earth Month" activities through the summer. We'll give you a $25 gift card to one of several essential businesses that are still open (CJ's Deli & Diner, Sea House at Napili Kai, Down the Hatch, Maui Diving Scuba & Snorkel Center, West Maui Sports & Fishing Supply, Maui Sporting Goods, New Maui Fishing Supply, and Ace Hardware Lahaina) - all you (Maui residents) have to do is send us (and preferably post on your own social media, too) a photo of you and/or your family doing one of the ocean-friendly activities, below.
If you’ve been following our series of “quarantine-friendly” Earth Month activities , you might already be working on a Victory Garden, or have plans to start one. Or, you might be ambitious enough to consider some more extensive yard and garden renovations. If this is the case, we have some tips for you to build in some ocean-friendly practices.
And as a BONUS, the first four Maui households who send us a photo of themselves with their yard or garden renovation project (that we can share on our website & social media) will receive $25 gift certificates to Ace Hardware in Lahaina, to help you get the supplies you need! Details below.
Tip #1. Change up your irrigation. Save water, money, and time. Consider switching to drip irrigation, or get a newfangled timer that links to the weather, these save water too.
Tip #2. Install a rain garden. Whether a spot in your yard that floods, or the place you always wash down your boards, a rain garden is a beautiful way to help with infiltration. More information can be found here, and via this fantastic Hawaii Residential Rain Garden Manual.
Tip #3. Install some LIDs. “LID” = Low Impact Design, which is a more sustainable way of managing stormwater runoff in the built environment. While some LIDs are more extensive forms of infrastructure requiring complicated architectural design, a lot are simple and low-cost, such as redirecting a downspout, putting in semi-permeable pavers, or doing some erosion-control by planting on a slope. Definitely something you can do at home! For examples of these, check out some we spotted in Honokowai.
Tip #4 Plant pono. Put in or swap out for some native plants and/or drought-tolerant species. They will use less water and be more appropriate for the landscape.
Gift card giveaway details: As noted, we have several Ace Lahaina gift cards to give away on a first-come, first-serve basis to Maui residents, just email us a photo of you with your project (feel free to share it on your own social media too, using #MauiEarthMonth2020) and include the name of the person who will be going in to Ace Lahaina to pick it up and do the shopping. Ace has special hours at the moment (8 am - 5 pm) and is limiting shoppers' access to 10 at a time.
We’re been hearing a lot about Victory Gardens lately, as people are understandably concerned about food supply chains, or may not be thrilled about waiting in line to enter grocery stores full of other people we’re supposed to be avoiding at the moment. The Victory Garden movement began during WWI and picked up again during WWII, and it seems to be having a resurgence amidst the coronavirus pandemic. We’re hearing that new or resurrected gardens have been popping up so much on Maui that it’s becoming difficult to find seeds! So, West Maui Kumuwai is here for you with some tips on how to make your garden more ocean-friendly. And we’ve compiled some resources below for those who would like to explore more. Growing a garden is a great educational activity for one, and aside from the obvious benefit of producing food, it will get you out of the house, even if it is just your own yard!
Being ocean-friendly is all about how we use water as well as making better choices about what ends up going into the water we do use, because that water can end up in the storm drains which empty into the ocean.
Here are some general tips to follow to make your garden more ocean-friendly:
• Choose fertilizers and pesticides that are less harmful to the environment
The nutrients and chemicals typically in fertilizers and pesticides can harm coral reefs, but there are some better options out there. West Maui Kumuwai has compiled a list of ocean-preferred products on our website, here.
These brands were selected based on EPA guidelines for toxicity and environmental hazards, posing the lowest level of risk. Many comply with USDA’s organic standards as measured by OMRI (omri.org), the Organic Materials Review Institute. We also considered the products’ mobility in soil; those that have fewer active ingredients that can leach out of the root zone will contribute less to water pollution.
Look for these when you’re out shopping for your Victory Garden!
• Use less water
Using less water not only conserves water (obviously...), but less water means less runoff, and less runoff means less pollutants get picked up and washed into storm drains, ultimately ending up in the ocean. If you overfertilize your lawn, the next time your sprinkler goes off it could carry that excess material into the nearest storm drain. Think about those greasy oil stains in your driveway or the ones you’ve seen in the shopping center’s parking lot. Next time it rains, or when a sprinkler sprays water in that area, that toxic junk could get carried into the nearest storm drain as well. Not to mention garbage and other forms of debris that can end up in drains too. Our stormwater runoff is not treated, and in many places in West Maui it is carried from a drain to the ocean rather quickly and efficiently. Next time you’re out on a walk, see if you can figure out where the storm drains that you encounter go, and where they discharge via pipes along the shoreline. Visit our Water Smart Outdoors page for tips on reducing your water use.
• Choose the right plants
Choose native or drought-tolerant species of plants, and choose the right plant for the right place. It is not only culturally-appropriate to choose native plants, but it will save water (and money) as they are already adapted for the local habitat. More tips and links can be found on West Maui Kumuwai’s Plant Pono page.
BONUS! The first four Maui households who send us a photo of themselves with their garden (that we can share on our website & social media) will receive $25 gift certificates to Ace Hardware in Lahaina, to help you get the ocean-friendly supplies you need!
Just email your photo to us (feel free to share it on your own social media too, using #MauiEarthMonth2020) and include the name of the person who will be going in to Ace to pick it up and do the shopping. Ace has special hours at the moment (8 am - 5 pm) and is limiting shoppers' access to 10 at a time. Many thanks to Manager Martin Hussey and his team for all the support over the years, check them out with their PPE ready to socially-distantly help you!
Gardening and gardening-related curriculum:
Got kids to homeschool? Here’s some content AND a challenge to make and share an environmental message on social media
To kick off a series of quarantine-friendly Earth month activities, we’re starting with an activity for K-12 students who are currently being homeschooled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This page has a rundown of resources you can explore with your kids, related to our goal of promoting community action to reduce the land-based pollution that harms our coral reefs. The larger message we’d like to share is that everyone can play a role in protecting our oceans and reefs – there are many actions you can take that will make a difference.
For Earth Month, we’re holding a social media messaging challenge, and for the first bunch of Maui-based K-12 students and families who participate, we will be giving away quite a few $25 gift certificates to several Maui restaurants that are still open and providing take out service (CJs Deli & Diner, Sea House, and Down the Hatch). We also have many gift certificates to dive and sporting goods shops to help families purchase gear for exercising and fishing purposes, and to Ace Hardware in Lahaina to support yard and garden care. To enter, all you have to do is post a photo of your creation (details below), share it on your preferred social media account(s) using hashtag #MauiEarthMonth2020, and drop us a line (email WestMauiKumuwai@gmail.com) with a screenshot along with your name and address so we can either mail you a gift certificate or put your name down on a list at the place where you can use it. This will be done on a first-come first-serve basis once we receive your email (one entry per household please), as supplies will be limited. Check out the other posts in our series for additional ways to "win" a gift card.
How to participate:
Choose one of the ocean-friendly behaviors from the list below, and use your forces of creativity to make a PSA (“Public Service Announcement”) of your own, in any form you like. It could be a simple drawing, a poster, a video, a story with a moral at the end, a fact sheet, a diorama…whatever! Just make it and share it. All we ask is that it has a “take action” component and highlights one specific thing that someone could do – see the examples below. Spend some time learning about the issue before you make your PSA.
Want some inspiration from the Division of Aquatic Resources? Check out these PSAs here or for a more recent and relevant topic, check out this very official one on hand-washing from the CDC, or this much sillier one from the Hawaii Department of Health.
Ocean-Friendly Actions for Earth Month PSA Creation Activity:
Choose one of the following actions people can take to protect our oceans and reefs, and create a message encouraging people to do it. How and why should they take action?
To explore these issues, you can start here on West Maui Kumuwai’s “what you can do” page , and also visit these sites:
Let’s face it. This really sucks. It’s traumatic. We can all agree on that. “Normal” is out the window, and we don’t know when we’ll be able to resume whatever will be left of the “normal” we once knew. Hopefully we can make some improvements to the systems that are failing us and create a new, better “normal.” But in the meantime, we’re stuck with whatever this “normal” is, which obviously varies depending on our individual situations. Everyone is being challenged differently, everyone is coping in different ways. Amidst all this, so many people on Maui are stepping up to help others while adhering to the social distancing requirements. That needs to remain our top priority.
Recognizing that things are operating differently right now, we at West Maui Kumuwai wanted to assess the situation, to determine what is and is not appropriate for us to be doing at the moment. Seriously, who is *really* thinking about stormwater runoff and land-based pollution right now?
Exactly. And that’s fine.
However, we know that so many people do care about our environment, and it is Earth Month. So, how can we build some ocean-friendly activities into our current reality, in an unobtrusive way that respects everyone’s priorities and circumstances?
We did some “research” of sorts. We looked around, and we noted what people are doing, how they’re doing things differently, and how they’re doing new things. We came up with some ideas we’ll be sharing in more detail through a series of posts on our website throughout the month.
Here’s a rundown, based on the new reality in which we find ourselves, of activities you may already be doing, that can be made more ocean-friendly with minimal effort:
Finally, one thing we will be doing that we wanted to share up front is giving back to the essential businesses that have supported us through the years. Instead of asking local businesses for prize donations this year, we’ll be using the funds that would have supported our public events to purchase gift certificates from places that are still operating at the moment, particularly West Maui restaurants. For starters, we’ll be giving these out as part of an Earth Month activity for kids being homeschooled. Read about how you can participate here; check out all the other posts too to see how you can participate in other #MauiEarthMonth2020 activities and receive a gift card.
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