Biggest Plant Conservation Wins of 2021

As we enter the final months of 2021, it’s important to take stock of the progress we have made together in protecting plants and people. Thanks to you, 2021 has been a great year for NTBG and tropical plants! Here are some of the amazing things we have accomplished together. 

Growing Green

We’re going off the grid! Across all our gardens, we are improving our energy independence by repairing, upgrading, and installing new photovoltaic systems. Limahuli Garden even installed a water filtration system directly connected to the stream while The Kampong was able to install water bottle refill stations in an effort to reduce waste from single-use plastic. All projects were funded by our Growing Green campaign this spring, so thanks to YOU for making these projects possible.

IUCN World Conservation Congress

Members of our Science and Conservation team contributed to multiple sessions, reaching around 4,000 attendees while building deeper relationships with conservation partners across the globe. NTBG coordinated and hosted a 90-minute Thematic Stream Session during the Congress on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). This session was moderated by NTBG President Chipper Wichman and included conservation leaders from six different countries. It also featured our own Dustin Wolkis, Seed Bank and Laboratory Manager, who also serves as the Deputy Chair of the IUCN Seed Conservation Specialist Group.

Climate Change Video Series

You helped us reach over 20,000 views of our Kauai Climate Change Series! With support from the County of Kauai, our Science and Conservation team produced five videos that provide a summary view of challenges Hawaii faces from a changing climate. Thanks for watching, sharing, and spreading the word about the challenges we face so we can better work to save plants — and people in the future. View videos.

NTBG Completes IUCN Red Listing for all Kauai Endemic Plants

Assessing endemic species across the Hawaiian Islands helps scientists and conservation managers around the world better evaluate threat risks and aid in the formulation of conservation strategies. Among the eight main Hawaiian Islands, Kauai has the highest level of endemism (species found only in one specific location) and biodiversity. Completing assessments of all Kauai single-island vascular endemic plants brings international attention to the threats they face and increases efforts to save them. Read more. 

Historic Fruit Production in Upper Preserve

In the Upper Limahuli Preserve, we are seeing the literal fruits of our nearly 10 years of labor monitoring rodents in the southwest bowl. We had the largest ripe fruit collections from both Pritchardia perlmanii and Clermontia fauriei, both of which are usually decimated by rodent predation.

NTBG Receives High Level Accreditations

This summer, we were thrilled to receive accreditation from Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) as an Advanced Conservation Practitioner carrying out globally significant conservation activities. Our Living Collections team also successfully renewed the highest level IV of accreditation from The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program, which recognizes international industry standards for arboreta. Read more.

Visitor Programs Thrive in Second Half of the Year

This Spring we experienced an increase in travel and garden visitors! The steady stream of traffic allowed us to bring back visitor program staff and increase capacity to welcome folks into our gardens. Whether you were experiencing the gardens for the first time or coming home, thank you so much for your support. Book a tour.

Weekly Aloha Market

Our South Shore Visitor Center took advantage of the beautiful outdoor setting to launch a weekly market. Hundreds of visitors are now able to safely explore the visitor center gardens and shop for locally made gifts, products and produce every week! Read more.

Local Plant Sales

Throughout the year, our gardens have continued to hold local plant sales, distributing over 1,500 plants to community members. A combination of native plants, ulu trees, and other desirable home gardening plants and vegetable starts were propagated and sold. 

Brighamia Outplantings

Outside of the new Kahanu Garden Visitor Center, staff constructed a custom planter in an effort to cultivate and strategically hand pollinate the Critically Endangered Brighamia rockii (Alula). This plant was grown in our Conservation Nursery on Kauai before being transported by NTBG staff to Kahanu Garden for outplanting and hand pollinating. This project was funded in part by a grant awarded by the National Geographic Society. 

Harvest Donated to Local Food Banks

Many island residents continued to struggle with food insecurity in 2021. An impressive 2 ½ tons of fresh produce were harvested from the Breadfruit Institute’s Regenerative Organic Breadfruit Agroforest and donated to the Kauai Independent Food Bank, Aloha Aina Poi Co., and the Marshallese Church of Waimea. Harvest was also made available distributed to NTBG staff, volunteers, and interns.

Plant Discoveries

Drone technology has greatly increased our ability to discover new plant populations in remote mountain terrain. NTBG drone specialist Ben Nyberg and botanist Ken Wood recently discovered 10 individuals of Kadua fluviatilis and 95 individuals of critically endangered Cyanea asarifolia on windward Kauai. Find out what else we discovered in 2021 by registering for our webinar: Celebrating New Hawaiian Plant Discoveries in 2021.

You make Saving Plants, Saving People possible! Mahalo nui for being a part of our ohana. We can’t wait to see what the rest of 2021 has in store.

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