Formed roughly five million years ago from volcanic activity, the Hawaiian island of Kauaʻi has transformed into a lush paradise over the eons, even earning the nickname “The Garden Isle” thanks to its dazzlingly verdant landscapes. While the island is still a wonder to behold today, invasive flora and fauna have wreaked havoc on the endemic species that once thrived across the archipelago, threatening the delicate balance of Hawaiʻi’s biodiversity—but fortunately, some of the region’s finest resorts are creating innovative solutions to preserve the natural wonders of the islands.
Perched on the east coast of Lihue, Timbers Kauaʻi has been a haven for luxury travel since 1999—and in the modern era, this sprawling estate has enacted an ambitious program to support the surrounding wildlife known as The Farm at Hōkūala. Created on a massive defunct golf course, the operation measures in at 16.5 acres, ushering in a sprawling, wildlife-rich green space to replace the sterile grass that once stood across the area.
“The Farm at Hōkūala was conceived to be a cornerstone of the Hōkūala community, bringing both the larger Kauaʻi Kamaʻāina as well as guests and Owners of Timbers Kaua’i at Hōkūala together to connect with the land on several levels,” says Joy Stedman, Senior Sales/Business Development Executive at Timbers Kaua’i. “The Farm serves as an educational tool allowing us to share history, culture and knowledge of traditional canoe crops brought by original Polynesian settlers as well as cut down on emissions associated with importing produce used at our signature dining venue Hualani’s and Nanea Spa, our newly launched, all-organic spa.”
While breadfruit, noni, and kalo are just a few of the crops grown across the farm, this verdant oasis harbors a lot more than just plantlife. The farm is carefully cultivated to serve as a refuge for the native insects of Hawaiʻi, and there’s even an on-property apiary that produces more than one hundred gallons of honey each year. As an added bonus, the many wild insects serve as a crucial food source for local birds, attracting plenty of species for Timbers’ free on-property birdwatching expeditions. While potential sightings range from the Hawaiian coot to the Hawaiian gallinule, one particularly fascinating resident creature is the nēnē, a type of native goose that likely evolved from the more widespread Canada goose eons ago.
The Farm at Hōkūala is a major sustainability project for Timbers Kauaʻi, but it’s far from the only one set in place across the resort. On-property dining venue Hualani’s is a certified Surfrider Ocean Friendly Restaurant member, eliminating styrofoam and plastic bags from their supply chain to ensure that the surrounding shore is kept free from plastic waste. To further their commitment to reducing pollution, Timbers also facilitates regular beach cleanups, offering kits to guests to aid in the process. From sustainable farming to conservation awareness, each program stands as a prominent reminder of the deep commitment to wildlife conservation and sustainability woven into the ethos of Timbers Kaua’i.
“Sustainability is crucial not only to Timbers Kaua’i but across the Hawaiian islands because the limited natural resources here are so delicate,” says Stedman. “We want to preserve the natural beauty of this place for all to enjoy for generations to come. At Timbers we ensure our Owners and guests have access to numerous voluntourism opportunities, so they understand the kuleana, or responsibility to not only preserve but improve our communities. Our partnerships with local organizations like Sustainable Coastlines and Hawaiʻi Land Trust bring this experience full circle.”