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2 Year Update: Transforming Historic Hawaii Nature Retreat

by | Mar 9, 2023 | News & Updates | 0 comments

History of EarthSong Foundation

We’ve just celebrated 2 years since becoming the stewards of this historic Hawaii nature retreat.

In the spirit of celebration and in order for us to take stock of all that we’ve accomplished in the face of all we’re still very much in the midst of transforming, we’ve created a video cataloguing some of the big changes we’ve made so far which can be viewed here on YouTube:

YouTube player

In this blog we’ll share a written account of the last 2 years transforming this historic Hawaii nature retreat:

Our stewardship began during the change-making year of 2020 when we met, closed businesses, moved continents, and through the midst of it all found ourselves saying yes to the invitation to carry on the work of restoring this historic Hawaii nature retreat together (after only knowing each other for less than 6 months). While the land itself is ancient predating human contact, Earthsong itself is an entity that has a history beginning in 1990 when it was formed as a women’s (wahine) Hawaii nature retreat. There are several off-grid structures here that were built by the hands of many women who were staying here for retreat, healing, growth, and community. Men (kane) were eventually welcomed into the space and Earthsong grew to be known as the destination Hawaii nature retreat in the secluded rural region of Ka’u on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Along with building structures the community planted many trees and gardens in the permaculture food forest without the use of toxic chemicals and pesticides.

EarthSong's History

After a decade or so this community faded away and the stewardship changed hands a few times. During this time the structures that were built began to fall apart, and the land over-grown with invasive and prolific plants and trees. In 2020, Earthsong was made available once again for new stewards willing to put their all into it. This is when we found it and due to the extenuating circumstances of the pandemic, we decided to take a leap of faith into the unknown and purchase this historic Hawaii nature retreat without meeting it in person first (and in Elena’s case, having never been to Hawaii). We did not know the extent of how much work would be required, but upon our arrival we quickly became aware when finding the deteriorating structures, heaps of junk left to rot, and fruit trees molding due to the over growth shading them from the sunlight.

We are committed to transforming this historic Hawaii nature retreat, but not necessarily into it’s former glory.

We’re infusing it with our own essence and that of the new paradigm energy that is birthing through this generation’s great awakening. In this knowing there is a call to re-imagine community, our health, and the health of the planet. We honor the rich history of this nature retreat and the wisdom of the ancestors that came before us while opening to innovative structures that enrich the earth and humanity.

Elena & Ryan - EarthSong Founders

We know we are not alone in the waking-up of consciousness around preserving, revering, and humbly learning from nature.

For one of us, Ryan, this has been a mission since the last economic crash in 2008 when he left the United States and began building the off-grid homestead and permaculture food forest in Panamá that we now consider another Earthsong location. During this same timeline Elena was birthing and building a wellness center in Colorado formed in 2009 that she’d choose to close in 2020, leading to the opportunity to steward Earthsong Hawai’i. It was during this time that the realization of the importance in food sovereignty and living a simpler existence closer to nature became a clear path forward to her. At this time, our worlds collided in Panamá, where Ryan had chosen to build his homestead and is home to Elena’s maternal ancestry. We are now merging Ryan’s permaculture background and Elena’s healing arts experience into this historic Hawaii nature retreat. We’re both no strangers to life as a on-going transformation and as partners, we have chosen to treat this entity as our union’s love-child. That means we are dedicated to it’s care and growth above all else.

To us, there is no such thing as land “ownership”. The earth is a sovereign being that has been here long before us and will exist long after we are gone. As stewards of land, we commit to caring for, protecting, and only sharing it with those who commit to the same level of respect during their time here.
A brief list of the transformations made to this historic Hawaii nature retreat since our arrival in 2021:
  • Complete Renovation of Hale Jungle including raising the roof and building a loft bunk bed out of Ohia wood.
  • Renovation/rebuild of fallen lanai structure of Hale Mandala.
  • Complete renovation of Community Kitchen newly christened The Yellow Submarine.
  • Complete Renovation of Treehouse structure (still underway).
  • Built wind turbine to add to the off-grid power systems.
  • Clearing 1/2 acre of 7ft high guinea grass to make space for the construction of 7 raised garden beds.
  • Building over a dozen gardens, planting multiple fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, and medicinal plants.
  • Heavy pruning of many invasive trees and prolific plants.
  • Clearing prolific hedges to make space for a donated yurt that will serve as a larger gathering space.
  • Uncovering and rehabilitating 2 ponds for future aquaponics systems.
  • Adding of artistic touches through out thanks to our Artist Residency programs.
  • Construction of farm stand where we’ve made over 1,000 lbs of food available by donation.
  • Grand opening of our temple space in January 2022 where we have held hundreds of donation based classes for the local community teaching yoga, meditation, sound therapy, women’s and men’s groups, and other healing arts sessions, ceremonies, and events.Transformation

And we’ve only just begun transforming this historic Hawaii nature retreat! If you’re inspired by what we’re up to and would like to visit us we accept a limited number of guests for short (minimum 3 days, maximum 30 days) and long term stays (minimum 30 days, maximum 90 days) for volunteer programs where we share our knowledge while receiving much needed help in the project. You can learn more and apply here. We host a limited number of retreats and trainings during the spring, summer, and fall seasons hosted by us and/or other facilitators. You can learn more and apply here to host a retreat or training and visit our website calendar to see what retreats and trainings we have coming up.

The Earthsong Foundation is a 501c3 organization that accepts donations to help fund the on-going care of the land in our care and to spread education on permaculture and holistic health. You can make a one-time donation via our website or join our Global Village Online as a monthly or annual donor which grants access to the membership portal where we have a library of videos that we add to monthly. In these videos we share holistic practices, permaculture education, and more given by us and visitors to the land who wish to share their wisdom on our platform.

Mahalo Nui Loa for reading our blog. If you or someone you know may like to answer our call for collaboration and support please help us in spreading the word by sharing our blog, website, and YouTube channel.

Amor y paz,
Elena y Ryan
Earthsong’s Stewards


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