The Maui Coastal Land Trust (MCLT) is a non-profit organization that has been responsible for preserving more than 14,000 acres of land in Maui County from future development. Under the leadership of Executive Director Dale Bonar and his board of directors, the MCLT has been working for the past decade to ensure that this culturally significant site is safeguarded forever. Project director Scott Fisher, land manager James Crowe, and educational coordinator Denby Freeland-Cole often bring volunteers and school groups to visit the site, work the land, and learn. The MCLT also collaborates with state and private entities, raising funds and ensuring that the terms of their agreements are met.
Recently, the MCLT merged with three other Hawaiian land trusts to form a unified front known as the Hawaii Islands Land Trust (HILT). This new organization is a nationally accredited land trust that has successfully protected more than 17,000 acres at 20 different sites. The MCLT offers a variety of educational programs for both volunteers and school groups. For instance, Fisher and staff from HILT are extracting sediment from places such as Nu`u Pond to examine microfossils embedded in the sediment.
This provides students with an opportunity to learn about geology and paleontology in a hands-on way. The MCLT also provides educational programs related to land conservation. They attend training conferences offered by the National Land Trust Alliance (NLTA) to gain knowledge about how trusts are structured. They also provide information on how families can reduce wealth taxes through land trust agreements, allowing land to be passed down from generation to generation. The MCLT is committed to providing educational opportunities for people of all ages to learn about land conservation and stewardship.
Through their educational programs, they hope to inspire people to become involved in protecting our natural resources for future generations. In addition, they offer open access to their land for public use. It was through the efforts of Nielsen, Bradford and de Naie that the MCLT was established. They realized that government agencies couldn't do much and began researching how nonprofit private land trusts worked, a model that was becoming increasingly popular across the country in privately-led conservation. The Maui Coastal Land Trust is dedicated to preserving our natural resources for future generations through their educational programs and open access to their land. By attending training conferences and providing information on how families can reduce wealth taxes through land trust agreements, they are helping to ensure that this rich cultural site is protected forever.