W. S. Merwin Honored as the 2015 Champion of the Land by Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
Merwin honored for his life-long commitment to conservation and the preservation our natural environment.
On Saturday, January 24, W. S. Merwin, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. Poet Laureate and resident of Maui, Hawaii, was honored by the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust as their 2015 Champion of the Land. The prestigious award was presented to Mr. Merwin at the land trust’s annual gala event, with nearly 500 environmentalists and admirers gathered to celebrate his contributions to conservation.
Over the course of nearly 40 years, on land previously destroyed by slash and burn agriculture, W. S. Merwin, along with his wife, Paula, restored the soil, replenished the land, gave back to nature what had been extracted from it, and ultimately cultivated, planted and created a botanical garden; a rare Hawaiian forest of palm trees. The now world-class Merwin Palm Collection is recognized as one of the greatest assemblages of palms on the planet and a living treasure house of palm DNA.
The 19-acre property which is home to the renowned Merwin Palm Collection was placed into permanent conservation with the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust by the Merwin Family on October 10, 2014. Merwin has also established a not-for-profit organization, The Merwin Conservancy, and has pledged to donate the land, the palm collection and his poet’s home to the Conservancy through his estate, so the property and the palms may be saved for the benefit of future generations. The Merwin Conservancy is dedicated to advancing and preserving forever this living legacy of W. S. Merwin. The Conservancy works closely with the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and the Merwin Family to steward the land and preserve the palms in perpetuity.
Set on Maui’s north shore, the Merwin Palm Collection boasts over 2,700 individual palm trees, representing over 400 taxonomic species, more than 125 unique genera and nearly 900 different horticultural varieties.
Congratulations to W. S. Merwin for this well-deserved honor as the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust 2015 Champion of the Land.
Please help us celebrate Mr. Merwin’s award. To join the nationwide effort to protect the palms and preserve the living legacy of W. S. Merwin, tax-deductible gifts may be made on-line at www.merwinconservancy.org/donate