Brennan Ka’aihue celebrated winning a 2022 Mira Lloyd Dock Partnership Diversity Award with a project that is for the birds.
Ka’aihue and a small crew of volunteers planted 75 shrubs and trees at the corner of Ritner Highway and College Ridge Drive on Oct. 21 at Dickinson College in Carlisle.
For Ka’aihue, the planting was about connecting people and wildlife, birds in particular. “We need birds to survive.” Ka’aihue said. “This planting will provide not only food and shelter for migratory and resident bird populations, but also present an opportunity for members of the community to interact with a food source of native species.”
The Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, coordinated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), presents the Dock award annually for conservation and Environmental Justice work in under-represented communities.
Dr. Zeshan Ismat of Lancaster City also received the 2022 award. She started the Blackbirds Environmental Justice group to teach youngsters about the environment in a fun way while emphasizing stewardship, community, and justice.
The Mira Lloyd Dock Partnership Diversity Award program is made possible by partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and Project UP, an initiative of Packaging Corporation of America and Boise Paper that aims to revitalize urban communities through tree planting.
Recipients of the award receive trees and supplies to help advance their efforts. Ka’aihue and crew planted native pawpaw, American persimmon, black chokeberry, redbuds, and hawthorn at Dickinson.
“We are thrilled to partner with Arbor Day Foundation and Project UP on this award, and deeply appreciate their support on community-led projects such as these,” said Carla Essing, CBF Grassroots Manager in Pennsylvania.
“Conservation of our natural spaces in urban and suburban areas are key to connecting people with the environment, helps to provide places of respite for humans and wildlife alike, and brings color and life back into these highly developed spaces,” Eissing added. “I’m honored to work with such amazing partners and community members such as Brennan and Zeshan.”
Ka’aihue grew up in Las Vegas and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology, and lives in Dauphin Borough along the Susquehanna River.
Ka’aihue’s land care career started as a volunteer with Central Pennsylvania Conservancy (CPC) and now, the native Hawaiian works for the CPC as a stewardship specialist.
Ka’aihue is proud to receive recognition that comes with winning the Dock Award. “It’s great to see all the different things that I’ve done over the years recognized by my peers in the community, and to be able to use that as a platform to pay it forward,” Ka’aihue said. “Because we’re having the time of our lives planting this now, but to think seven generations ahead how this will benefit people and birds who haven’t been born yet. It’s really heartwarming and wonderful.”
Mira Lloyd Dock is recognized as the first Pennsylvania woman to lead the way in forest conservation. She was an advocate for Penn’s Woods and in 1901 was appointed to the State Forest Reservation Commission by Pennsylvania Governor William Stone.
The Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership will announce the 2023 Mira Lloyd Dock Partnership Diversity Awards recipients in November.
Launched in 2018, the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership celebrated the planting of its 5-millionth tree in October of last year. To learn more about the partnership, visit www.tenmilliontrees.org.