Treecember 2023:  Mauna Kea Restoration

Treecember is back! While many are trimming trees, CheckSammy is helping them grow. For the third year in a row, CheckSammy is partnering with OneTree Planted to impact the environment positively. Treecember 2023 is all about revitalizing areas affected by deforestation. Throughout December, we will plant one tree for every job completed. We’ll plant ten trees for every new location we service for an existing or new client!

Looking Back on Treecember’s Past 

Before we dive into this year’s Treecember campaign, let’s take a moment to celebrate last year’s success. In Treecember 2022, CheckSammy, in collaboration with OneTree Planted, planted over 7,200 trees in the Appalachian region. Thanks to last year’s efforts, we planted 7,000 trees! Those trees helped: 

  • Habitats for native wildlife expand
  • Improve the hydrological function and provide better drinking water  
  • Communities dependent on eco-tourism thrive

The Treecember 2023 Initiative

This year, we are focusing on the Mauna Kea Restoration in Hawaii!

Mauna Kea Restoration: Background

Understanding the importance of this relationship and intimately living it is the foundation of the Mauna Kea Restoration project and its new vision for the biocultural management of Mauna A Wākea.

Mauna Kea, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, is the highest point in the state and stands as the tallest mountain in the world when measured from its base on the ocean floor to its summit. It reaches an impressive height of over 13,800 feet above sea level. Despite its elevation, Mauna Kea boasts a wide range of climate zones, spanning from tropical forests to alpine desert environments. This diversity supports a unique array of ecosystems, making it home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, including several endemic and endangered species.


The Ecological Impact: 

Restoration of the forests proposed here will increase ecosystem diversity in these areas, providing habitat for numerous native species, including endangered and threatened plants and animals. Changes in soil moisture and wind velocity due to tree size and density increases should contribute to reduced fire threats. Restoration of the mitigation parcels will provide additional habitat for Palila and the Akiapolaau (Hemignathus munroi), which was present until the early 2000s. The projects outlined will serve as models for landscape-level habitat restoration efforts statewide and provide educational benefits through extensive community involvement. Restoration methods developed at these sites have applications to other sites across the Hawaiian Islands, including: 

  • reduced invasive species cover,
  • enhanced habitat for Hawai’i endemic plants and animals
  • (reduced fire danger,
  • enhanced water supply, and reduced erosion


The Community Benefits: 

“As we care for Mauna Kea, it reciprocates by nurturing and supporting us.”

 Mauna a Wakea’s Unbroken Lineage

Mauna Kea, known as Mauna a Wakea in Hawaiian lore, is a sacred and revered peak steeped in rich folklore and history. Ancestral tales weave around the mountain, declaring it the firstborn, Hīapo, in the genealogy of Papa and Wākea, embodying the island chain’s birth. Mauna Kea’s slopes, adorned seasonally with a lei of māmane flowers, symbolize its divine significance. Legends intricately link the mountain to Hawaiian cosmogony, portraying it as a connection between Earth, sky, and heavens. Its snow-covered summit, a rare phenomenon in Hawaii, adds to its mystical allure. Mauna Kea stands not just as a physical marvel but as a living cultural landscape, echoing the traditions and heritage of the Hawaiian people. The mountain’s folklore and history breathe life into its majestic presence, fostering a deep reverence and connection among those who call Hawai’i home.

Nurturing Reciprocal Relationships: Foundation of the project

Witness the foundation of the project – the intimate understanding and living of the Kaikua’ana/Kaikaina (older sibling/younger sibling) relationship. As we care for Mauna Kea, it reciprocates, becoming an exchange of kuleana. This reciprocal relationship fosters resilience and sustainability for Mauna Kea’s care. Recognize the urgent needs of Mauna Kea and a commitment to answering the call. In an economics-driven society where we’ve grown less reliant on natural and cultural resources, this project aims to restore reciprocal relationships, protect what we love, and cultivate the well-being of local communities.

Mauna Kea’s Rich Biodiversity and Unique Challenges

Encompassing diverse climate zones, native ecosystems, and cultural sites, Mauna Kea. Uncover its challenges, including a changing climate, invasive species, and biodiversity loss critical to ranching and agriculture. Critically, primary water inputs to Mauna Kea’s ground and surface water resources are rainfall, snow, and fog drip, all feeding the Aquifer Sector Areas on Mauna Kea including East Mauna Kea, with an estimated yield of 388 million gallons per day (MGD) and on West Mauna Kea a sustainable yield of just 24 MGD. The affected lands and waters exist at the edge of important biological, hydrological, and cultural thresholds; without investment and vision, these systems will cross these thresholds, making recovery and sustainable stewardship difficult. 

Historical Restoration: Rebuilding Connections with Mauna Kea

Uncover a unique opportunity for stewards of Mauna Kea to rebuild connections through biocultural-focused restoration actions. Join diverse land stewards in restoring the storied lei māmane, symbolizing a healthy Mauna Kea. This restoration effort addresses core community needs, biodiversity enhancement, and improved ecosystem function.

The project’s core initiative is a significant investment in biocultural training for young professionals. This training integrates Western and Native Hawaiian Knowledge Systems, building resilience against environmental change and fostering social, economic, cultural, and ecological strength.


The Hawaiian Trip That Started It All 

During a blissful Hawaiian beach vacation, Sam Scoten couldn’t help but notice families splurging on brand-new beach toys, only to toss them in the trash after their getaway. This eco-conscious revelation sparked Scoten’s mission. Back in Vancouver, he pioneered swap bins where folks could ditch unwanted items for others to enjoy, birthing the ingenious concept of CheckSammy in 2018. Rooted in the commitment to unearth the finest waste solutions, the company has become a sustainability powerhouse. To date, CheckSammy has rescued 175 million pounds of materials from the clutches of landfills, proving that small actions can lead to monumental changes in the fight against waste. Join the movement, and let’s transform disposables into treasures together! 


How you can help 

Treecember 2023 is not just a campaign; it’s a movement anyone can participate in. Share the word with colleagues, friends, and family, and encourage them to join this impactful initiative. Starting this December, For every CheckSammy job completed, we will plant one tree and ten trees for every new location we service! Every CheckSammy job and every new location serviced contributes to the Mauna Kea Restoration and makes a real difference.

So, let’s spread the word, share the love, and make this holiday season special by joining the Treecember movement. Together, we can create a greener, more sustainable world, one tree at a time. 

Start Today


Learn More about our Partners, One Tree Planted

One Tree Planted, a non-profit organization founded in 2014, is a force for global reforestation. With a mission to combat deforestation and address climate change, they partner with individuals, businesses, and communities worldwide. The organization works diligently to plant trees strategically, restoring ecosystems and biodiversity and supporting local communities. One Tree Planted believes in the power of collective action, inspiring a greener, healthier planet. Their transparent approach allows donors to track and witness the impact of their contributions. By planting millions of trees annually, One Tree Planted continues sowing seeds of a more sustainable and resilient future. 




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