Our Mission on O‘ahu & Maui
Hawai‘i Nature Center seeks to foster awareness, appreciation, understanding, and stewardship of Hawai‘i’s environment by educating children with an interactive and immersive approach.
Branching Out: We teach children about nature
We connect children and families to nature. More than 1 million children have benefited from our programs since we took root in 1981. Each year, more than 20,000 children come to us and are introduced to the wonders of the wild. More than 100 O‘ahu schools and more than 20 on Maui choose to partner with us as our programs meet State of Hawaii’s Department of Education Standards and our curriculum makes learning fun.
This noble work started deep in a tropical rainforest in 1972 when the Outdoor Circle’s Parks Committee proposed an education center in O‘ahu’s Makiki Valley. Margaret Smith Young of Tantalus was a driving force in its early years. By 1981, the Makiki Environmental Education Center opened and five years later it grew in to an independent 501(c)3 non-profit called the Hawai‘i Nature Center. In 1991, the organization branched out to Maui and established a center in sacred ‘Īao Valley where we offer a vibrant collection of programs. We are an environmental education nonprofit that is not a chapter of a larger organization. We are local and independent and rely on support from friends like you.