Maui Sierra Club Honors Local Environmental Heroes

The Maui Group of the Sierra Club held their annual meeting on Febrary 2nd 2013 at Kaunoa Senier Center in Spreckelsville.  The public was invited to come and hear what the Sierra Club has been doing to preserve Maui’s clean water, ocean access, and quality of life.  The Sierra Club is the public’s watchdog and the theme of this year’s meeting is, “Sierra Club – Working for You”. 

Each year the Sierra Club gives awards to community members.  The Onipa’a award recognizes those who have made long term contributions to  protect Maui’s natural and cultural resources.  The Malama ka ‘Aina award recognizes outstanding work caring for the land and the Malama Kahakai recognizes those who preserve our beaches and nearshore waters.  This year, for the first time, the Sierra Club bestowed the “Ike Imua ” award posthumously to planner Chris Hart.

Clare Apana of Wailuku received the ‘Onipa’a award for her long time advocacy for Maui’s cultural sites.

Michael Howden received the ‘Onipa’a award for his years of work on water issues and advocacy for sustainable agriculture.  Howden, an Olinda resident has been involved in permaculture education for the past several decades and also served as chair of the County Board of Water Supply.

Mark Hyde, a retired attorney living in South Maui, recieved the Malama i ka ‘Aina award for his untiring leadership in citizen efforts to compel proper planning and permitting for a proposed outlet mall in north Kihei.

Year after year, Mike Perry has cleared invasives and replanted native species in the Kanaha Beach area, turning it into a showcase original Hawaiian beach and has received the Malama Kai award.

Chris Hart, a longtime landscape architect and planner, who passed away in November, had a long history of dedication to planning for Maui’s parks, bikeways and open spaces. He was also the guiding force behind the original draft of the Maui Island Plan.  This was recognized with this year’s special Ike Imua award.

In addition to the awardees, Maui legislators gave updates on bills affecting the environment. Senator Mazie Hirono appeared via video and Rep Tulsi Gabbard sent greetings via letter. Executive Director of the Hawaii Sierra Club, Robert Harris, and Maui Group chairperson Chris Taylor, talked about what the Sierra Club has accomplished and what is on-tap for 2013