Kathy Richardson has served on the board of NTBG for some 20 years.

Moonlight in the Garden

A full moon will help light National Tropical Botanical Garden’s McBryde Garden Aug. 1. The evening is called Moonlight & Music, and NTBG board member Kathy Richardson promises this celebration of plants — with food and music — will be ‘spectacular’

Combine a full moon and National Tropical Botanical Garden’s McBryde Garden Aug. 1, and you get a very special evening. It’s called Moonlight & Music, and those who attend are in for a rare visual treat while enjoying natural surroundings along with food and entertainment under the stars.

“The moon comes up and it’s spectacular to be in the garden ,” says NTBG board member Kathy Richardson.

Kathy Richardson has served on the board of NTBG for some 20 years. Coco Zickos photo

Kathy Richardson has served on the board of NTBG for some 20 years. Coco Zickos photo

A buffet-style dinner catered by Mark’s Place, accompanied by tunes from Darryl Gonsalves and Derek Santos, then followed by music by The Quake that is sure to get people up out of their seats, are among the many activities guests can enjoy.

“It’s a wonderful night in the garden,” says Richardson. The silent auction also promises to be a crowd-pleaser, with items up for bid including an Allerton Sunset Tour with heavy pupus and wine, theme-appropriate Kate Spade handbags and one week’s lodging at Sueno del Mar Diving Resort in Roatan, Honduras.

The entire event serves as a way for NTBG to continue its mission to preserve and perpetuate plant life. “Plants are essential to our existence,” notes Richardson.

They are needed for our survival, providing vital elements like food, oxygen and medicine, as well as being aesthetically pleasing. Educating students about the role plants play in the lives of humans and other species is a primary part of NTBG’s conservation efforts, and Richardson herself has a big part in this endeavor as chairwoman of the education committee. She aims to continue to expand the NTBG educational department with more programs that teach children about native plants to ensure their continuity on the planet.

“We are going to have to change some of what we do in order to have the planet survive, and we need to really think about what we do and how it impacts the island,” she says.

The garden already works with keiki in various capacities, such as its Junior Restoration Team, which invites students to Limahuli Garden and Preserve to clear invasive plants and watch native seeds that have been dormant in the soil (lacking light and the ability to grow) flourish again.

“We need to educate, we really need to get out there,” says Richardson.

The Kauai native, a descendant of missionary families, grew up spending time on her grandmother Juliet Rice Wichman’s North Shore land.

“She had an incredible garden,” recalls Richardson. The land on which that “incredible garden” grew was donated by Wichman and is now known as Limahuli Garden and Preserve. Richardson’s father, Holbrook “Hobey” Wichman Goodale, also was highly involved with the nonprofit as a board member, which is why it was such a natural fit for her. In addition, volunteering for the community is a value her relatives instilled in her.

“It’s just my nature,” says Richardson, who graduated from Seabury Hall on Maui, when it was an all-girls boarding school. “In order to live in a community, you need to give back to that community. I gain joy from it.”

She has served on NTBG’s board for some 20 years, and has been involved in numerous other volunteer activities around the island, including running Wilcox Memorial Hospital’s gift shop for almost 30 years.

When asked how she finds time to do it all, she replies, “I don’t sleep very much.”

Apparently, it’s been that way for her since the day she was born.

“I was probably my mother’s worst nightmare,” jokes Richardson, whose husband Wayne works at RE3 Real Estate Services and is the father of their two children, Wayne and Katie.

Luckily for NTBG, Richardson uses many of those sleepless hours to help expand the organization. She looks forward to celebrating in style with everyone else at this year’s Moonlight & Music, and raising money for such an important cause.

“It’s exciting,” she says.

Tickets cost $150 and can be purchased at ntbg.org/gardens/ mcbryde-event.php or by calling 332-6500. The event starts at 6 p.m. Guests will be transported from NTBG’s South Shore Visitors Center to McBryde Garden near the new Biodiversity Trail.