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Planting trees in Hawaii offsets carbon impact of traveling to islands

July 17, 2018

By David Burger

Photo of Dr. Cole planting a tree in Hawaii
Replenishment: Dr. Jeffrey Cole, left, with wife Linda, plant a tree at the Gunstock Ranch in Oahu during a May trip to Hawaii.
Honolulu — Surfing. Swimming. Snorkeling. Offsetting your carbon footprint.

All of the above can be easily done in the Aloha State.

The Association is collaborating with the nonprofit Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative and Hawaii Convention Center to plant trees during ADA 2018 – America's Dental Meeting in October to symbolize the ADA's commitment to the islands and sustainability.

To kick-start the effort, Dr. Jeffrey Cole, ADA president-elect, visited Hawaii in May with his wife Linda and participated in a tree planting at Gunstock Ranch on the North Shore of Oahu. Oahu will host the ADA annual meeting Oct. 18-22 in Honolulu.

"As contributing members of our community, both professional and personal, we are always working to give back to the public," Dr. Cole said. "Our organization's vision is helping the public achieve optimal health, so it made sense to participate in this initiative. Our partnership with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative offers a great opportunity to offset our carbon footprint in traveling here and to help keep the islands that we love pristine and picturesque for years to come."

ADA 2018 Annual MeetingThe Hawaii Convention Center has committed to planting one million Legacy Trees across the state, where fewer than 10 percent of the old-growth native and endemic forests remain.

The Initiative has reforested more than 400,000 trees across 1,200 acres on the island of Hawaii since 2010 and will reforest more than 600,000 trees at Gunstock Ranch.

Teri Orton, general manager of the Hawaii Convention Center, said participation in the program allows the Center's guests to "become more intimately connected to the islands."

Hawaii Convention Center guests receive a special Legacy Tree sponsorship rate for the reforestation of koa trees, which are rare and endemic to Hawaii.

"The impact of planting a single tree is significant," said Jeff Dunster, executive director of the Initiative. "Just one koa tree can offset a weeklong trip to Hawaii for a family of four."

ADA annual meeting attendees are invited to visit the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative booth on the exhibit hall floor to sponsor a koa Legacy Tree for $60 with the option of signing up for a Hawaiian Legacy Tour, in which they can tour the 600-acre Gunstock Ranch and plant a seedling on Oahu's North Shore. Planting tours are also available at the Legacy Forest on the island of Hawaii.

In addition, dental professionals can also sponsor a tree prior, during or after the meeting by visiting

"Making a difference isn't a one-time thing," Dr. Cole said. "Bring the aloha spirit back home with you and continue your work."

The tree also symbolizes the newly unveiled ADA master brand, which has been represented visually as a tree with deep roots historically and culturally. Like a strong tree, the ADA continues to grow, strengthening the profession of dentistry and advancing the overall oral health of the public.

The ADA is donating $6,000 to the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, essentially purchasing 100 trees.

Registration for ADA 2018 is open. To register or learn more, visit