May the Forest Be With You

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens Goji-Kara

By Irene Yamanaka

It was wonderful to experience all the beauty that our island has to offer at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden Goji-Kara Sept. 20. Our JCCIH members made their gradual descent into a picturesque valley where we were welcomed by lush green forest canopies, vibrantly colored flowers, cascading waterfalls, singing birds and sweeping ocean views.

To say the least, it was breathtaking and truly a sight to behold!

Tom Mirenda, director of horticulture, education, and community outreach, helped our members learn about the Garden’s collection of tropical plants and about the history of Onomea Valley.  More than 2,000 species, representing more than 125 families and 750 genera, are found in this one-of-a kind museum of living plants.  In the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, exotic plants from distant tropical rainforests grow along side native Hawaiian plants.

As a scientific and educational non-profit, its mission is to serve as a nature preserve and sanctuary, a living seed bank, and a study center on trees and plants of the tropical world. At a time when rainforest plants are disappearing at an alarming rate, the Garden is working to preserve as many species as possible for the benefit of future generations.

After enriching our minds and senses, we were hosted to delicious Aloha Mondays and Safeway refreshments.  Some lucky members also won Botanical Garden memberships and hats from our generous hosts.  A huge MAHALO to Executive Director David Tan, Tom Mirenda and all the dedicated and hardworking staff at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden for making this fun and educational Goji-Kara possible.  Special thanks also to Carol Van Camp, and Social and Cultural Committee for organizing this great event.

Visit and support our beautiful Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden!  They are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission to the Garden ends at 4 p.m.