Overview: Harold L. Lyon Arboretum Micropropagation Lab
In 2010*, the Foundation made a $600,000 grant to the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation in support of a capital project to develop greater lab capacity and improved technology for the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum Micropropagation lab. The lab is located in Mānoa valley on the island of Oʻahu. This new facility will provide enhanced capacity for the Hawaiian Rare Plant Program which is led by Nellie Sugii and her dedicated staff. The Foundation was inspired to make this grant by the work of David Spalding Boynton, Environmental Educator, Naturalist, Photographer and key figure behind the creation of the Kōke‘e Discovery Center on the island of Kaua‘i. The Foundation has a long standing partnership with the Kōke‘e Discovery Center and its nonprofit affiliate, the Kōke‘e Discovery Center Association, Inc. This project will develop significantly greater lab capacity and enhance the critical rescue and recovery work the Arboretum undertakes to protect and save the most rare of Hawai‘i’s native plants.
The most active lab of its kind in Hawai‘i, the lab plays a vital role in preventing the extinction of native Hawaiian plant species by maintaining plant and seed bank collection, and propagating plants for use in restoration and reintroduction projects. Currently this lab houses more than 16,000 individual plants and 160 native plant species, which is less than 50% of the species requiring protection. The new laboratory facilities will nearly double the size of the lab and provide an efficient working environment more conducive to the Arboretum’s critical rescue and recovery research being conducted.
Construction of the new micropropagation lab was completed in January of 2018.
*Note: In 2010 the Foundation was researching potential environmental program strategies in Hawaiʻi. Dr. Makena Coffman, Associate Professor at the University of Hawai‘i's Department of Urban and Regional Planning was assisting the Foundation in that process and her final report is available on our website. The grant to Lyon Arboretum in support of the Micropropagation lab was made while the two eventual program areas – Invasive Species Prevention in the State of Hawai‘i, and Environmental Leadership Pathways, were still under construction.