O‘ahu Neighborhood Guide Bonus: A Local’s Guide to Helping Out

No matter where you are on O‘ahu, volunteer opportunities abound.


Getting out to explore our island can give us a greater appreciation for our community. While our team was researching our March cover story, “The Local’s Guide to O‘ahu,” we found some less-traveled paths to cool adventures as well as organizations working year-round to sustain these resources.


We want to share some of the places we found that welcome volunteer help. But before you show up, check with the organization for any schedule updates, requirements and changes. That way you’ll know what to bring, wear and expect.


SEE ALSO: The Fortunate Foodie: Volunteer at These Nonprofit Kalo Farms in He‘eia


Loko Ea

Loko Ea fishpond. Photo: Courtesy of Mālama Loko Ea Foundation


Waialua to Kahuku

Mālama Loko Ea Foundation works to revive the Loko Ea fishpond in Hale‘iwa and to perpetuate Native Hawaiian culture through education, land stewardship and community building while sustainably restoring natural resources. Volunteers can register to help restore the fishpond with ‘ohana and friends.

Mālama Loko Ea Foundation, 62-540B Kamehameha Highway, Hale‘iwa, (808) 637-3232, lokoea.org, @lokoeafishpond


Hawai‘i Kai to Kaimukī

Interested in restoring the health of Maunalua Bay in East Honolulu? Mālama Maunalua has a variety of volunteer opportunities: removing invasive algae, taking photos of coral, tracing where stormwater goes from your property and more.

Mālama Maunalua, 7192 Kalaniana‘ole Highway, Suite A143A, (808) 395-5050, malamamaunalua.org,  @malamamaunalua


Him2110 Ay Wahiawa Botanical Garden

Wahiawā Botanical Garden. Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Wahiawā to Moanalua

The 27-acre Wahiawā Botanical Garden, one of five Honolulu city botanical gardens, got its start in the 1930s as an experimental arboretum for sugar planters and now features native Hawaiian plants, tree ferns and epiphytic or air plants.

Wahiawā Botanical Garden, 1396 California Ave., Wahiawā, (808) 621-5463, honolulu.gov


Waimānalo to Kahana

Delve into growing and harvesting kalo on Ho‘okua‘āina’s 3-acre taro farm in lush Maunawili. The nonprofit hosts class trips and community workdays and sells poi, raw taro, and taro that has been cooked, cleaned and cubed.

Ho‘okua‘āina, 916C Auloa Road, Kailua, (808) 721-5948, hookuaaina.org, @hookuaaina


SEE ALSO: How To Be A Better Hawai‘i Local


Waipahu to Mākaha

Learn about the history of railroading in Hawai‘i from the Hawaiian Railway, an educational nonprofit dedicated to saving and restoring the old trains of Hawai‘i. The organization welcomes volunteers to help with restoration and is working to build a museum space.

Hawaiian Railway Society, 91-1001 Renton Road, ‘Ewa, (808) 681-5461, hawaiianrailway.com, @hawaiian_railway