Kapa Sungear was founded in Maui County, in which Kaho’olawe Island resides. Although a different Island than Maui, our planting project collaborations have taken place on that island to support the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) restoration efforts. We work closely with KIRC to ensure proper coordination of our planting projects. Regions for transplanting within Kaho’olawe have been carefully selected and prioritized based upon environmental restoration demands.
Kapa Sungear is dedicated to sustainable practices for environmental preservation. In addition to our company mission of cleaning ocean water through our business practices, we realize that efforts for environmental sustainability must be conducted on land as well. By evaluating current scientific data and methodology, locations that have suffered from human and agricultural disturbance can be recovered efficiently through proper management.
Our involvement specifically on Kaho’olawe is to address topsoil erosion on beaches by introducing native plants for soil stabilization. By achieving this, reefs can then be protected from turbid conditions caused by coastal erosion. Reefs provide habitat for a vast amount of native species, such as marine mammals (humpback whales, dolphins, monk seals), corals, fish and aquatic vegetation. This in turn can significantly benefit terrestrial species, such as birds by providing foraging opportunities and breeding habitat for up to 85% of migrating birds.
Establishing habitat for coastal plants, can serve as a protective barrier for shorelines from storm surges, and the everyday elements of Mother Nature. By understanding the ecology of coastal biomes, one can easily see the vital importance that restoration plays in establishing a self sustaining environment.
Ocean conservation & environmental restoration is our passion. We feel that a sustainable business shouldn’t have to come at the expense of a sustainable environment. Both of these missions can be conducted harmoniously with enough research, planning and proper execution.
In order to finance the costs for every plant and every person hired for our planting restoration collaborations, Kapa Sungear dedicates a percentage of revenue from our environmentally friendly products sold to cover these expenses. In this arrangement, we are then able to incorporate our passion for producing fashionable ocean attire that protects people from the harmful UV rays of the sun and keep harmful chemicals out of the ocean. Kapa Sungear feels that conservation and looking cool doesn’t have to be exclusive ;)
Plants serve an essential purpose to sustaining all forms of life throughout the globe. We are focusing on our local, native Hawaiian plants to restore a natural balance to our flora and fauna. Besides the direct benefits, plants can also provide lesser known purposes, such as depositing nutrients into the soil from decomposing leaves - a process known as detritus. These nutrients in turn are deposited to offshore reefs to support their health requirements.
Our oceans wouldn’t be the same without healthy onshore ecosystems. As sea levels continue to rise, it is critical that we do all that we can to combat the negative side effects of human impacts such as the acceleration of climate change.
The first step in our planting process begins with Native Nurseries located in Kula, Maui. Native Nursery propagates and cares for the plants until they are mature enough to be planted on Kaho’olawe. During monthly visits, KIRC and volunteers transplant native species to Kaho’olawe. Volunteers and KIRC together plant approximately 2,000 Mauka species a month during the “wet season,” November-April, to ensure a higher percentage of survival success. Coastal species can be transplanted year round with volunteers planting 1,000-1,500 a month.
Plants based upon availability 🌱
Common Name/Plant Taxonomy
Acacia koa/koaia hybrid
Ipomoea pes-caprae ssp brasiliensis
Pa`u o Hi`iaka
Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission
The recent Kahoʻolawe Brush fire has scorched roughly 30% of the island (9,000 acres). “Squid”, the KIRC's main storage facility area on island, was consumed by the fire. This loss is significant, with a large amount of restoration supplies and equipment having been housed in this area, as well as three of our field ATVʻs and two Ocean Program Jet Skiʻs. KIRC needs help and support to recover from this tragic event and rebuild Squid.
Kaho‘olawe is the smallest of the eight main islands in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Eleven miles long, seven miles wide and comprised of 28,800 acres, the island is of volcanic origin with the highest elevation at 1,477 feet. Its slopes are fissured with gulches 50 to 200 feet deep and formidable cliffs dominate the east and south coast. Approximately 30% of the island is barren due to severe erosion.
Following 200 years of uncontrolled grazing, Kaho‘olawe and its surrounding waters were under the control of the U.S. Navy from 1941 to 1994, and were used as a live-fire training area. Despite clearance efforts, unexploded ordnance (UXO) is still present and continues to pose a threat to the safety of anyone accessing the island or its waters.
A decades-long struggle by the people of Hawai‘i, particularly the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana (PKO), succeeded in stopping the bombing of Kaho‘olawe and helped to spark the rebirth and spread of Native Hawaiian culture and values. A 1993 act of Congress conveyed Kahoʻolawe back to the State of Hawaiʻi, but allowed the Navy to retain control of the island through 2003 while it conducted a 10-year cleanup of UXO.
A treasured resource for all of Hawai‘i’s people, Kaho‘olawe is of tremendous significance to the Native Hawaiian people. In recognition of the special cultural and historic status of Kaho‘olawe, the island and the waters within 2 nautical miles of its shores were designated by the State of Hawai‘i as the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve in 1993, to allow for the preservation of traditional Native Hawaiian cultural, spiritual and subsistence purposes, rights and practices.
In 1994, the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) was established by the State of Hawai‘i, under the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, Chapter 6K, to manage Kaho‘olawe, its surrounding waters, and its resources, in trust for the general public and for a future Native Hawaiian sovereign entity.
The KIRC mission is to implement the vision for Kahoʻolawe Island in which the kino (body) of Kahoʻolawe is restored and nā poe o Hawaiʻi (the people of Hawaiʻi) care for the land. KIRC pledges to provide for the meaningful, safe use of Kahoʻolawe for the purpose of the traditional and cultural practices of the Native Hawaiian people, and to undertake the restoration of the island and its waters.
Don't like our sungear, but still want to help restore Kaho'olawe?
Use link below to donate directly! Mahalo for your contribution!!! Together we plant, together we grow.