Monsanto celebrates new walking trail, pollinator habitat on Maui

Take a group of dedicated employees, a community-minded business, and a passion for perpetuating Hawaii’s natural resources and you have the foundation on which Monsanto’s new walking trail and pollinator habitat was created.

A new half-mile walking trail called Ke ‘Ala i ke Ola (translated from Hawaiian “the path of life”) was blessed by Father John Tomoso in August. Located on Monsanto’s Mokulele Farm in Kihei, the trail was an employee-driven project led by Monsanto employee Paola Espinoza that will serve as a place for Monsanto’s ‘ohana to gather together as a group, promote employee health and wellness, and support the environment by establishing a habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects. In the future, the company is planning to offer organized tours of the area to community groups.

“Our employees really took this project to heart and ran with it,” said Yarrow Flower, land asset manager for Monsanto Hawaii. “Monsanto stepped up their support as well through funding and dedicating time for employees to work on this project during work hours. It really took a village to make this project happen and we couldn’t be more proud of everyone who contributed.”

“This walking trail and pollinator habitat exemplifies our team’s commitment to stewardship of the land with cover crops and windbreaks which include about 520 native plants,” said Edgar Cordero, Monsanto’s Mokulele Farm manager, “It took our team nearly eight months to complete this project and we’re so excited to be offering our employees this haven where they can gather, rest and rejuvenate along with a place for community events, fundraising and native plant education.” 

The unveiling and blessing of Ke ‘Ala i ke Ola coincided with Monsanto Give Back Day, an annual event that recognizes employees who unselfishly give of their time to support their community. On Maui, Monsanto employees’ volunteer hours amounted to over 3,300 hours in 2016; statewide, volunteer hours totaled 7,093.

During the trail’s August blessing, Monsanto pledged $10 for every person who walked the half-mile trail with funds benefitting the Friends of Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, a non-profit that supports the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge. A total of 180 people walked the trail that day, which resulted in a donation of $1,800 to the Friends of Kealia Pond.

Monsanto employees volunteer regularly at the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge to remove invasive species and plant natives. Monsanto’s latest gift stemmed from employees’ passion for giving back to our island home.