HONOLULU – Premium natural bottled water company Hawaiian Springs has partnered with the Hawaii Plant Extinction Prevention (PEP) Program to build protective fencing around the last remaining nanu (Gardenia brighamii) growing wild on the island of Oahu. The project marks the first major undertaking of Preserving Paradise, Hawaiian Spring’s conservation initiative dedicated to preserving Hawaii’s unique natural flora, fauna and ecosystems.
Through our Preserving Paradise Initiative, we hope to do our part in sustaining Hawaii’s unique ecological environment, and of course we have a special connection to the nanu, one of the native plant species featured on our bottles, said Rick Hadley, Chairman and CEO of Hawaiian Springs. Partnering with the PEP Program is a natural fit as its expert botanists are focused solely on preventing the extinction of Hawaii’s most critical species.
Hawaiian Springs funded the construction project on State Forest Reserve land in West Oahu, safeguarding it from future animal threats and providing the PEP Program the opportunity to collect material from the plant to be used for out-planting and restoration. With the help of Hawaiian Springs’ donation, PEP Program purchased materials and hired a helicopter to deliver the supplies to the project site, located in a seldom-accessed area of Nanakuli Valley. Labor for the construction of the fence was provided by the PEP Program, State Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), the Waianae Mountains Watershed Partnership, and volunteers.
The nanu, endemic to Hawaii, is a federally listed endangered species, with only this specimen on Oahu and 12 wild plants remaining on the neighboring island of Lanai, according to PEP field surveys conducted throughout the last year. The plant was prized by ancient Hawaiians for its fruit, which was used to produce fade-resistant dyes for kapa (a traditional cloth made of pounded tree bark), as well as its wood, from which they fashioned hand tools. It is one of 200 species the organization has identified for urgent rescue.
Hawaii is home to 42 percent of the plant species listed as endangered or threatened in the United States, and the long-term implications of how losing even one affects the Islands’ ecosystems as a whole are impossible to know. We are excited to partner with Hawaiian Springs, who understands the immediate necessity of protecting rare species such as the nanu to maintain ecological balance, says Joan Yoshioka, who oversees all of the PEP’s programs as its Statewide Coordinator. Their generosity and commitment to protecting the nanu gives our organization the opportunity to harvest seeds and repopulate this near-extinct native plant.
The PEP Program works to reverse the trend toward extinction of Hawaii’s rarest native plants by managing wild plants, collecting seeds, and out-planting and restoring plant populations.
About Hawaiian Springs Hawaiian Springs began bottling its young, natural, artesian water in February 1995. Drawn from a highly sustainable artesian aquifer at the base of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii, Hawaiian Springs bottles its water directly from the source within 30 days of falling as Arctic rain. Hawaiian Springs is one of the finest natural waters available today, with a distinctive, slightly sweet taste and delivering a moment of what makes Hawaii special.
Hawaiian Springs is available throughout the Hawaiian Islands, as well as the U.S. mainland and Asia, at leading supermarkets and natural food retailers such as Lucky’s, Henry’s Farmers Market, Mollie Stone’s, Mother’s Market, SaveMart, Sprouts Farmers Market, Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers and Whole Foods. A store locator and webstore are available at www.HawaiianSpring.com/blog/products.