Our Islands, Our Future

After planting trees in every state across the country, Joe Imhoff and Sara Tekula returned to their roots on Maui, giving life to a newborn son, and their fledgling nonprofit, Plant a Wish. The husband-and-wife team was first featured in Focus Maui Nui three years ago in the midst of a tree-planting mission. They identified tree caretakers in each of the states and helped to spearhead the planting of more than 1,000 native trees at dozens of community tree planting events.

Their plan to create a documentary about the tree-planting venture is still in post-production, in part because they had to turn their attention to the birth of a son, Henry Koa, in October 2012. In his first year of life, Henry accompanied his dad, Joe, in planting a tree on every day in 2013, mostly on Maui but in other places as well. “Even when we were on vacation and then attending a family wedding on the Mainland, Joe made certain they planted a tree somewhere every day,” Tekula said.

Today, Plant a Wish is taking root on Maui where Tekula and Imhoff have partnered in a variety of events and with other nonprofits to bring awareness to land stewardship, tree planting and restoration of native habitat. Plant a Wish is also teamed up with Tri-Isle Resource Conservation and Development, which serves as its fiscal sponsor. Tekula said much of her time is spent in tree dedications, an opportunity that residents take to plant trees in celebration of special events and/or people in their lives. Plant a Wish is also busy during the holiday season when Tekula and Imhoff sell native Christmas trees as a fundraiser and a chance to educate more people about tree planting. “We’re really glad we’re here on Maui and that our mission of tree restoration can keep going.” For more information, go to: