What to Expect as a Waimea Valley Volunteer: An Unforgettable Experience

a view of a valley with trees and a body of water

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As I continue to volunteer at different spots around the island, I have come to notice when organizations really take pride in their mission and do all they can to give the best experience to their volunteers. Waimea Valley is one of those groups, they are organized, respectful, and take great care in making sure everyone gets the most out of their time and efforts.

a park with trees and grass

Waimea Valley Information

Located on the North Shore of the island of Oahu, Waimea Valley offers incredible volunteering opportunities that combine hands-on experience with stunning natural beauty. This isn’t your ordinary volunteer experience – you’ll be stepping into the heart of Hawaii, surrounded by the lush greenery and vibrant life of the island.

As a Waimea Valley volunteer, you’ll spend your day not just planting native species but also combating the spread of invasive plants. On the day that I worked, we planted Ulei and Akai plants. It’s a short but exciting 45-minute hike to the volunteer location, which is an adventure in itself. The trail leads through the thick green jungle, past groups of coffee plants and native plants, and every step takes you deeper into the island’s natural beauty.

Waimea Valley is one of the best places on Oahu that I’ve volunteered at so far and it has even made my list of the best places to volunteer on Oahu.

Beautiful views of Waimea Valley, these views are only possible by being a Waimea Valley volunteer.

And don’t forget to look around – the scenery here is genuinely breathtaking, from the crystal-clear skies to the occasional cool breeze and the plethora of native plants and flowers. Even though the event lasts for a solid six hours, the time will fly by.

As you labor among the plants and trees under the warm Hawaiian sun, you’ll realize the priceless reward that comes from contributing to the preservation of this remarkable place. And at the end of the day, despite the hard work, it’s guaranteed – you won’t regret a single moment spent in Waimea Valley.

If you’re looking to spend a day at the amazing Waimea Valley, don’t just volunteer; consider spending the day with one of the unique activities that they have to offer.

How To Reserve A Volunteer Slot

Getting a volunteering spot at Waimea Valley is incredibly easy compared to some of the other websites out there, simply visit their website and go to the Volunteer section under About.

Then scroll down until you find the calendar that will list every upcoming event with the date and times.

a screenshot of a computer

If you would like to do the same thing that I did, make sure to sign up for the Hānai ‘āina Conservation Workday. After choosing the workday that you like, simply select RSVP in the top right-hand corner

a screenshot of a computer

After selecting RSVP, simply fill out your information and you are set to go. Just make sure to pay attention to how many spots are still available if you intend to volunteer with multiple people.

a screenshot of a computer

How To Get To The Volunteer Site

The Waimea Valley Volunteering site is located inside Waimea Valley Park, on the North Shore of Oahu. Instead of going left to the beach, turn right into the valley and follow the paved road.

Once you get to the main entrance, inform the security guard that you are there for the volunteering work day and they will point you to the parking lot.

After you find a parking spot, walk up towards the large greenhouse behind and to the left of the visitor center.

a greenhouse with plants in it

When I got to the greenhouse, McKenzie, our guide, was waiting there with a clipboard to sign in all of the volunteers; I was there early so I decided to look around the property and at all the plants inside the greenhouse.

After everyone arrived, we began our hike up toward the site.

What Can You Expect

Volunteering at Waimea Valley is no easy task, you have to plant native species at the work site and help to remove invasive plants that may be deeply rooted in the soil and will require a pickaxe to loosen up.

On the day that I volunteered, our small group planted Ulei and Akai plants which are native plants that were propagated in the greenhouse where you meet before the hike. Planting these help to remove the invasive plants and restore the natural beauty of Waimea Valley.

plants in a garden with plants

Before you start the hike, you will participate in an E Hō Mai chant with the volunteer staff. This chant is meant to ask permission from the land to enter this place of great culture and history. Waimea Valley was thought to be a sacred place for high-ranking officials, so getting the chant correct is very important. Learn more about the E Hō Mai chant here.

After the chant, you will begin the hike up to the work spot. To a seasoned hiker, this was a very easy trail but the views were simply unbeatable because the general public cannot go on this hike. As we made our way up, McKenzie was quick to point out any native plants and their uses, she was very knowledgeable about all of the plants there at Waimea Valley and that really added a level of respect to the staff.

a group of wind turbines on a hill

Once you reach the top, you will group up at a truck that will carry all of the tools and water for the day. Although they have water at the top, make sure to bring your own water just to make sure.

At the truck, we were given all of our instructions and tasks for the day; once that was finished, we were sent out to do our work.

a truck with a bucket of water and plants in the back

You will be given time to eat your lunch and rest before you begin the second half of your day; for our group that included weeding and continuation of planting Akai.

Overall, your day will be jam-packed with things to do and you won’t waste a moment of time. The hike back down to the visitor center is much easier than the way up, make sure to try some strawberry guavas that surround the trail; although they’re invasive, the fruit is delicious.

Unique Aspects Of This Volunteer Program

Many volunteering spots offer unique experiences such as access to prohibited areas and places the general public cannot visit; however, Waimea Valley takes this to a whole other level by giving volunteers free access to the botanical garden which houses a vast array of plants and birds.

a park with benches and trees
Photo Courtesy of Hotels.com

Not only do you get free access to the botanical gardens, but you also get to hike up to the ridges that surround the valley which are prohibited to the public. That really adds a whole other level of uniqueness to this experience.

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, Waimea Valley is one of the top places to volunteer on Oahu. Not only do you get to see things that nobody else can, but you also get to preserve and protect the precious and fragile landscape that Waimea Valley is.

I was part of a small group and this really added to the personalized experience because our guide, McKenzie, was able to answer any questions we had and would be able to check up on us while we worked.

If you’re looking to volunteer while on vacation or gain some valuable community service hours, this is definitely something you need to consider.


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